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Immigration Consequences of a Conviction

Criminal charges have an immediate impact on any person’s life, and the possibility of a conviction may have profound consequences. This is especially true when the alleged offenders are immigrants who are not yet legal citizens of the United States.

As a result of the United States Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, lawyers can no longer refrain from discussing immigration consequences when representing clients who are not legal citizens. Attorneys are required to give their clients some advice about deportation risks, whether it is notifying them that deportation will or may result from a conviction.

West Palm Beach Conviction Consequences for Immigration

Are you an immigrant to the United States who is now facing criminal charges in South Florida? Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can provide you with a full understanding of the nature of your alleged offense and fight to achieve the most favorable outcome. We handle a wide variety of criminal cases, although we do not represent people in specific immigration matters.

Our Palm Beach County immigrant defense attorneys represent clients in Delray Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington, Riviera Beach, and Greenacres as well as several surrounding areas. Call (561) 283-3259 right now to have our firm review your case during a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Immigration Consequences of a Florida Conviction


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Immigration Terms

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) establishes the procedures that are used to determine whether an immigrant can be removed from the United States. The procedures vary, depending on the specific circumstances of the immigrant’s legal status. Generally, most immigrants are entitled to formal proceedings before immigration judges, but some immigrants are not entitled to such hearings and can be ordered to be removed from the country.

There are essentially two types of possible actions:

  • Deportability —This is the power of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to remove legally admitted immigrants from the United States. Examples of these types of immigrants include nonimmigrants, who are people admitted to the United States for specific periods of time with certain conditions on their stays, and Lawful Permanent Residents (also known as LPRs, Permanent Resident Aliens, Resident Alien Permit Holders, or Green Card Holders), who are people residing the in the United States under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence but are not technically citizens of the United States.
  • Inadmissibility — This is the power of USCIS to prevent immigrants not legally admitted to the United States from entering the United States. It generally applies to immigrants UCIS refers to as aliens, or people who are not citizens or nationals of the United States.

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Deportable Convictions

The following types of crimes can be grounds for deportation of immigrants if they are convicted:

  • Drug Crimes — Federal or state controlled substance violations may be grounds for deportability or inadmissibility.
  • Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMTs) — There is no formal definition for this term, but a CIMT is largely believed to be a criminal offense that the federal Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has described as being particularly “base, vile, or depraved.” A CIMT conviction can be grounds for deportability or inadmissibility.
  • Aggravated Felonies — Immigration and Nationality Act § 101(a)(43) lists several crimes that are considered aggravated felonies in the immigration context. These include, but are not limited to, murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor, illicit trafficking in controlled substance, money laundering offenses over $10,000, child pornography offenses, prostitution offenses, alien smuggling, obstruction of justice, perjury, bribery of witness, firearm and destructive device convictions, or failure to register as a sex offender.
  • Weapons Charges — This includes firearm and destructive device convictions for purchasing, selling, offering for sale, exchanging, using, owning, possessing, or carrying (or of attempting or conspiring to do any of the foregoing) any weapon, part, or accessory which is a firearm or destructive device.
  • Espionage, Sabotage, Treason, and Other Crimes — Convictions for committing, conspiring, or attempting any of these offenses can be grounds for deportation.
  • Domestic Violence — Crimes of domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, child abandonment, or neglect are also grounds for deportation.
  • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender — This applies to any immigrant who allegedly fails to register or update a registration as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
  • Violating a Protective Order — An immigrant may be deported for violating a Florida injunction for protection.
  • High Speed Flight From an Immigration Checkpoint — This relates to Title 18 U.S. Code § 758 which criminalizes fleeing or evading a checkpoint operated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or any other federal law enforcement agency.
  • Failure to Register or Falsification of Documents — Immigrants may face deportation for fraud relating to visas, permits, and other immigration documents.

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Deportable Offenses Not Requiring Convictions

The Department of Homeland Security reserves the right to remove immigrants for alleged criminal conduct, even in cases that do not result in convictions. Some examples of these types of crimes include, but are not limited to:

  • CIMTs
  • Drug Crimes
  • Prostitution
  • Fraud or Misrepresentation
  • False Claim to United States Citizenship
  • Alien Smuggling
  • Marriage Fraud
  • Human Trafficking
  • Money Laundering
  • Espionage, Sabotage, and Treason
  • Terrorism
  • Alien With a Physical or Mental Disorder Who Poses Danger to Self or Others
  • Unlawful Voters
  • Polygamy
  • International Child Abduction

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Guilty Plea Consequences for Immigration

Deportation and inadmissibility are not the only possible consequences of guilty pleas. Depending on the crime to which an immigrant pleads guilty, he or she could possibly face:

  • Restrictions on Readmission to the United States
  • Mandatory Detention
  • Ineligible for Naturalization
  • Prohibited from Seeking Judicial Review of Removal Orders
  • Subject to Summary Removal
  • Enhanced Penalties for Unlawful Reentry

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Find a Criminal Lawyer for Immigration Consequences in Palm Beach County

If you are not yet a legal citizen of the United States but were recently arrested for any kind of crime in South Florida, it is critical for you to have dedicated legal counsel. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents immigrants in such areas as Royal Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Boynton Beach, and Lake Worth.

Our West Palm Beach immigrant defense attorneys make themselves available 24 hours a day, seven days a week so we are constantly available to our clients. We can review your case during a free consultation when you call (561) 283-3259 today.

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