If you are an illegal immigrant or in the process of applying for a visa or citizenship, a criminal charge can have a profound impact on whether or not you will be allowed to stay in the United States. Depending on the offense you are accused of committing, you could face deportation. Before making any plea bargains, it is important you understand what could happen if you are convicted.
When Can You Be Deemed Inadmissible?
Some crimes can render you inadmissible. Being classified as inadmissible basically means that you are not eligible for admission to the country. As a result, your application for a visa or citizenship would be denied. The government maintains a list of crimes that qualify for automatic classification of inadmissibility. Those crimes include crimes involving moral turpitude, drug convictions, and prostitution.
What Is Moral Turpitude?
Moral turpitude refers to your conduct. Any conduct that is considered to be in opposition to the laws of the country, dishonest, or displays a lack of morals can fit into this category. In the United States, crimes that involve larceny, fraud, or harm to another person usually fall under this category. This includes murder, rape, illegal firearms trafficking, treason, and smuggling other illegal immigrants.
If you have been charged with one of these crimes, it is important that you consult with a criminal lawyer to review your legal options to remain in the country.
What Can You Do?
Your first step is to try to fight the criminal charges. Being charged can adversely impact your application, but an actual conviction can be far more damaging to your chances. Your criminal attorney can help you form a defense against the charges. If you do accept a plea bargain, even if you agree to probation, you could be at risk for deportation.
If you are unable to successfully fight the criminal charges, you can possibly apply for a waiver. The waiver would can help you avoid being deported. It also prevents the circumstances of your criminal case from being considered when your application for a visa or citizenship are being processed. There is a filing fee for the waiver request.
Even if you are working with an immigration attorney, it is important that you seek the counsel of a criminal attorney when you are facing charges. The criminal attorney specializes in dealing with that particular area of the law and can help you form the best defense possible.
For more information, contact a professional like Larson, Latham, Huettl Attorneys.