California is a state with a high number of residents without a full United States citizenship status. Even without full citizen status, those living in California are subject to California law. This means they can be charged and convicted of a crime like any other citizen. But California residents with conditional citizenship status can face much harsher consequences for breaking the law. If you are not a full citizen, breaking the law can result in you being forcibly removed from the country. Certain crimes can result in deportation and can prevent you from ever gaining citizenships status. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 provides that any non-citizen can be deported for certain criminal offenses. Non-citizens even include green card holders, refugees, or those with a visa.
Many deportable crimes are those involving moral turpitude. Moral turpitude is defined as conduct that deviates far from what is considered moral and just in society. These crimes are usually against another person or are of detriment to the public. Fraud and theft are common crimes that fit into this category. Domestic violence offenses are also considered crimes of moral turpitude and thus can threaten your immigration status. If someone close you to has asked for a domestic violence restraining order against you, you may be wondering if that can trigger deportation. While a domestic violence offense can leave you facing deportation, your immigration status may not be affected simply because a restraining order is issued. You should still appear in court for the restraining order hearing. If you violate a domestic violence restraining order, however, you could be deported for that act alone. Aggravated felonies, such as murder, rape, trafficking, arson, and child sexual abuse, and crimes involving firearms can also cause deportation.
Drug crimes are another category that can threaten your immigration status. Unfortunately, these are the most common deportable crimes in California, sending tens of thousands of Californians back to their home country a year. You could be deported for such acts as cultivation, manufacturing, trafficking, selling, or even simple possession. The Department of Homeland Security can deport you for one of these crimes no matter how long you've lived in California, what kind of job you have, how established your life in the US is, or if you have any children in the US. There are other certain crimes, called inadmissible crimes that may not cause deportation but can make you ineligible to renter the country if you've left. They can also prevent you from applying for a green card or full citizenship.
No matter what criminal charge you are facing, it would be wise to speak with a criminal defense attorney about the consequences it could have on your status. In certain circumstances, you may be able to get a 212(h) waiver. This waiver may allow you to stay in the US because of extenuating circumstances. An immigration attorney can help you take the steps necessary to get a waiver, but only a criminal defense attorney can help you fight your charges. The laws on what crimes can cause deportation are complex and there are many exceptions and stipulations regarding how your immigration status can be affected by a conviction. How your crime is charged can affect your immigration status, so it is important to speak with a criminal defense attorney about the charges you are facing. Not all crimes will result in deportation. For many deportable crimes, they must be committed within five years of you entering the US, or you must have committed two separate crimes on two separate occasions at any point since you've entered the US. An attorney can advise you on the potential consequences of your crime if you are convicted. When your right to live in the US is at stake, don't take any chances.
Are you or a loved one facing criminal charges and have questions about deportation? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team for help in Tulare, Fresno or Kings County. Experienced in criminal defense, our Visalia area legal team can advise you on how your charges may affect your immigration status. Attorney Martens has over ten years of exclusive experience in criminal defense and has taken over 50 cases to trial; he has the experienced needed to skillfully defend your case. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.