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When might criminal charges lead to deportation?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Non-citizens residing in the United States are expected to follow the laws of this country. If they fail to do so and are arrested, they may face deportation if they’re convicted of certain crimes.

It’s always best to obey the law, but there are times when a person can face criminal charges without the possibility of being deported. Understanding some basic points about the intersection between criminal charges and the possibility of deportation is beneficial for all non-citizens.

Types of crimes that can lead to deportation

Under U.S. immigration law, particularly the Immigration and Nationality Act, specific categories of crimes can make non-citizens deportable. These are generally divided into two main groups: crimes involving moral turpitude and aggravated felonies.

Crimes against moral turpitude typically encompass crimes considered inherently vile or depraved. They’re contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or society. Examples include fraud, theft and some types of assault.

Aggravated felonies are serious crimes, such as murder, drug trafficking and firearms trafficking. It also includes offenses that might not be classified as felonies under state law, such as theft or filing a fraudulent tax return if the sentence imposed is at least one year.

Deportation isn’t automatic

A person who’s arrested won’t immediately be deported. Instead, they’ll have to appear in immigration court. The Department of Homeland Security will issue a Notice to Appear that outlines some basics about the case for deportation. The person will have to appear in court to present their side of the case if they don’t want to be deported.

Seeking legal representation to address any criminal case that develops against a non-citizen is important. Even if a defendant is likely going to be convicted, a legal representative may be able to work out a plea deal for a lesser charge or offer suggestions for avoiding a conviction that could lead to deportation. Exploring all of the defense options available is often beneficial in these cases.