How Can a Criminal Record Affect My Immigration Status?

It is no secret that criminal charges can have negative and possibly long-lasting effects on a person’s life. A criminal conviction can affect one’s employment status, future work opportunities, child custody, driving privileges, future criminal cases, and more. One area where criminal charges can have a major impact is immigration. All immigrants, even those with green cards, are eligible for deportation if they break certain US laws. Being convicted of a crime is, in fact, the most common reason for immigrants to be subject to removal proceedings. Crimes considered grounds for deportation fall into two categories: crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude

The Department of State explains that crimes of moral turpitude include “fraud, larceny, and the intent to harm persons or things.” Crimes that involve theft or dishonesty will usually fall under the category of crimes of moral turpitude. Some of the most common crimes of moral turpitude include domestic violence and driving under the influence. An extreme example would be assault with the intent to rob or kill. A crime of moral turpitude may not be grounds for deportation if the crime can be considered “petty.” In order to deem the crime petty, the penalty for the crime cannot exceed one year of imprisonment, and the person charged cannot have actually served over 6 months in prison. Examples of petty offenses include shoplifting and simple assault. A person may face deportation for a crime of moral turpitude if they committed the crime within 5 years of coming to the United States, or if they commit a crime two or more times after admission to the US.

Aggravated Felonies

Aggravated felonies are far more severe than crimes of moral turpitude. The category of aggravated felonies includes murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, and more. These crimes are much more likely to lead to deportation, and it will be extremely difficult to avoid deportation in the event of an aggravated felony conviction.

If you immigrated to the US and now are facing criminal charges, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. Having a strong attorney can greatly reduce your charges, or possibly clear them altogether. The lawyers at Bruno Law Offices are prepared to help you fight your criminal charges. Contact us today by calling (217) 328-6000.