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Immigration Consequences of a Criminal Conviction in California

A criminal conviction can have significant consequences, including jail time, fines, probation, and other criminal penalties. You may also experience collateral consequences that impact various areas of your life because you have a criminal record.

When you are living in California as a permanent resident, on a visa, or as an undocumented person, a criminal conviction could have a negative impact on your immigration status. The severity of the consequence depends on the criminal you are charged with and the factors involved in the case. 

If you are charged with a crime in California, it is important to contact a local criminal defense lawyer with experience handling these types of cases. Hiring an attorney with an understanding of state and federal immigration laws is in your best interest. The attorney can help you fight the criminal charges to improve your chance of remaining out of jail and in this country. 

What Crimes Can Lead to Deportation in California?

If you are a foreign visitor or an undocumented individual in the United States, you could face deportation for violating specific laws. The U.S. Code lists numerous crimes that result in deportation. You could also be deported for violating other federal and state laws.

Crimes that can result in deportation include, but are not limited to:

Aggravated Felonies 

Federal laws designate more than 30 crimes as aggravated felonies. Overall, an aggravated felony is any crime designed as such by the federal Immigration and Nationality Act. 

Some crimes are always aggravated felonies. However, some crimes fall within this category only when the person is sentenced to a year or longer in prison or the loss to the victim is more than $10,000.

Examples of aggravated felonies that can result in deportation include, but are not limited to:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Rape
  • Human trafficking
  • Treason
  • Kidnapping
  • Lewd acts with a minor and child pornography
  • Owning or operating a house of prostitution
  • Disclosure of classified government information
  • Counterfeiting
  • Theft and burglary
  • Obstruction of justice
  • RICO violations 
  • Crimes of violence
  • Fraud
  • Tax evasion
  • Money laundering

ICE officials have discretion over the cases they prosecute. So, a person convicted of an aggravated felony might not be deported. However, your chances of remaining in the country improve if you fight and beat the criminal charges with the help of a San Jose criminal defense attorney. 

Crimes of Moral Turpitude

Crimes of moral turpitude (CMT) refer to crimes involving dishonesty or conduct so vile and depraved that it shocks a reasonable person. Examples of crimes of moral turpitude include, but are not limited to:

  • Child abuse
  • Aggravated assault
  • Murder
  • Felon in possession of a firearm
  • Burglary
  • Arson
  • Grand theft auto
  • Felony hit and run
  • Rape
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Welfare fraud
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Perjury

Other crimes could rise to the level of a CMT, depending on the facts of the case. If the offense is morally reprehensible and goes against the public sense of morality, it could qualify as a crime or moral turpitude. 

Domestic Violence

Crimes of domestic violence can result in deportation in California. Domestic violence under California law is harming or threatening to harm an intimate partner. Intimate partners include:

  • A current or former fiancé, spouse, live-in romantic partner, or registered domestic partner 
  • Someone you are dating seriously or were dating in the past
  • A person with whom you share a child

Crimes of domestic violence include battery, abuse, neglect, and threats. Domestic violence crimes also include child abuse, negligence, and endangerment. 

Firearms Offenses 

Federal firearms offenses are generally removable offenses (i.e., deportation). You can be deported for a conviction for doing any of the following with a firearm in violation of federal law:

  • Selling
  • Purchasing
  • Using 
  • Carrying
  • Owning
  • Exchanging
  • Offering for sale
  • Possessing
  • Conspiring to do any of the above 

Even though California gun crimes are treated differently than federal gun crimes, it is unwise to assume you will not be deported for a state conviction of gun crimes. Furthermore, firearm violations can include destructive devices, such as bombs, rockets, grenades, and mines.

Drug Crimes

Depending on the drug charges, a person could face mandatory removal (deportation) or optional removal. A drug conviction could also result in inadmissibility to the United States. 

Drug crimes involving controlled substances lead to mandatory removal if the drug offense is considered an aggravated felony or the person is convicted of two or more crimes that have a combined sentence of more than five years. Other drug crimes could also lead to deportation or other adverse consequences on a person’s immigration status.

Get Help from an Experienced San Jose Criminal Defense Lawyer

The best way to protect your immigration status is to seek advice from a San Jose criminal defense attorney. Attorneys generally offer free consultations, so meeting with an attorney to discuss your situation costs nothing.

Contact a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing a drug possession charge can be an intimidating and overwhelming process. However, with a clear understanding of what to expect at each stage, from the arrest through the court proceedings and potential defenses, you’ll be better prepared to navigate this challenging journey. 

For more information please contact our criminal defense law firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys at the nearest location for a free consultation.

Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys – San Jose Office
1625 The Alameda, Suite 405 San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 217-8818

Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys – Redwood City Office
600 Allerton St Suite 201G, Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 299-0500

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