Criminal Defense for International Students and Visiting Persons
For nearly four decades, the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Bruno Law Offices have fought hard on behalf of international students and people who are visiting from other countries. We have helped countless students at the University of Illinois and other colleges fight criminal allegations brought by the state, as well as student conduct charges brought in the course of university disciplinary proceedings.
If you have been accused of an offense, there is no need to despair. With an experienced Champaign-Urbana criminal defense attorney on your side, you may be able to fight to have the charges against you dropped completely or reduced so that your permanent record is left untarnished. We know that you are likely worried about your future following an arrest or criminal accusation, so do not hesitate to contact us by phone at (217) 328-6000 or through the contact form on our site. Your consultation is always free and completely confidential.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
College students, including visiting international students studying on F-1 visas or holding green cards, are occasionally charged with serious misdemeanor or felony criminal offenses. The criminal courts treat visiting international students no differently than American citizens charged with a crime. If you are a visiting international student charged with a criminal offense—whether it be battery, domestic violence, retail theft, DUI, aggravated speeding, sexual assault, or any other crime—you will need to hire a skilled attorney to handle your case. The attorneys at Bruno Law Offices provide the highest-level defense of international students available.
International students and visiting scholars—whether from China, India, Korea, Taiwan, Europe, Africa, Latin America, or elsewhere—face additional difficulties in criminal cases than those faced by American citizens charged with crimes. Ensuring that you are able to continue living in the United States begins by obtaining the best possible outcome in your criminal case. Moreover, the University of Illinois and other colleges will often initiate their own internal student disciplinary proceedings under the provisions of the Student Code of Conduct. These proceedings can often result in suspension or expulsion from the university, which may have the effect of cancelling your student visa. Without a valid student visa, you may face deportation.
At Bruno Law Offices, we understand that thousands of hard-working people from around the world make great sacrifices to live and study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Do not let your efforts go to waste because of a criminal charge. Hiring an experienced lawyer to handle your case is the most important step in saving your academic career getting your life back to normal.
Why Should You Choose Bruno Law Offices?
The attorneys at Bruno Law Offices have unmatched experience in defending visiting international students. We have successfully represented hundreds of international students in Champaign-Urbana and elsewhere facing serious criminal charges and/or internal student disciplinary proceedings. Our method is simple: we fight hard and strategically to get the best possible outcome for your case. We know the system. We know the players. We know how to succeed.
As one of the leading criminal defense firms in Central Illinois, Bruno Law Offices has been working to help foreign visitors and international students in the U.S. from facing University expulsion or suspension, loss of visa, deportation, or imprisonment. We work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are not violated and your voice is heard. Your freedom and your livelihood will remain intact, but only if you seek out the right representation first. Contact us at (217) 328-6000 to schedule your free consultation today.
Criminal Cases We Handle
We have extensive experience helping international students at the University of Illinois as well as persons who are visiting from another country and are charged with a crime in Illinois. If you have been charged with one of the following offenses, don’t hesitate to call Bruno Law Offices for help:
- DUI: Drunk driving, felony DUI, driving under the influence of drugs, and underage drinking charges can affect your student visa and ability to remain in this country for your studies.
- Traffic Violations: Aggravated speeding and reckless driving can result in serious consequences depending on the circumstances of your case.
- Theft: Theft, which includes embezzlement, retail theft, petit theft, grand theft, and burglary, convictions vary depending on the amount of value of the items stolen.
- Sex Offenses: Sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse, rape, child pornography charges, and all other sex crimes are considered especially serious, and a conviction may result in having to register as a sex offender for life, or may result in deportation and difficulty returning to the country.
- Domestic Battery: Domestic battery (sometimes referred to as “Domestic Violence”) is considered an especially serious crime in the U.S., much more so than in some other parts of the world. Domestic battery is most often a battery that occurs against someone with whom the offender is in a dating or romantic relationship. Aggravated domestic battery can be a domestic battery that involves strangulation, use of a deadly weapon, or a domestic battery against a pregnant person (among other aggravating factors).
- Drug Possession: Being accused of the following can result in probation, jail, prison, and/or deportation from the U.S. depending on the amount of drugs found on the accused:
- Marijuana Possession
- Cocaine Possession
- Heroin Possession
- Methamphetamine Possession
- Unauthorized Prescription Medication
- Homicide: Murder convictions can result in life imprisonment and deportation for non-U.S. citizens.
- Firearm Offenses: Gun possession can be considered unlawful if the owner does not possess a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card, concealed carries, only have a license from another state, carries in or near certain properties, or is masked or otherwise physically obscured while carrying.
- Battery and Assault: Battery is a touching of an insulting or provoking nature, or harmful touching, against another person without that person’s consent. Battery can include anything from punching another person in the face to spitting on the person’s clothing. Aggravated battery is much more serious and may involve committing a battery in a public place or against a police officer, emergency responder, or elderly person. Assault is the act of placing someone in imminent fear of a battery.
- Home Invasion: Crimes in this category are considered Class X felonies, the most serious class of felonies in the state of Illinois.
- Conspiracy: You may be charged with assisting in or helping to plan a crime, even if you are not the primary executor of the crime.
- Resisting a Peace Officer: Resisting an officer’s requests—even if those requests are unlawful or unreasonable—can result in a charge of resisting a peace officer. If the officer is injured, even slightly, the charge can be elevated to a felony.
- Child Pornography: This offense is classified as a felony and may result in imprisonment and the negative stigma with being accused even if you are later found not guilty.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are visiting the U.S. from another country, or if you are here on a student visa (such as an F1 visa), you may be unfamiliar with the criminal process in Illinois. Turn to the team that has handled and won cases just like yours. The attorneys at Bruno Law Offices are here to help answer your questions and will counsel you through the entire process. We have provided the answers to some frequently asked questions below, and if you have a specific question about your situation, don’t hesitate to call us at (217) 328-6000 today.
What are possible consequences for being arrested in the U.S. as an international visitor?
The following are all possible if you are arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony:
- Expulsion from School and Loss of Your Student Visa: Even if you are not convicted of the crime you are being accused of, the university or college you attend may bring its own disciplinary proceedings against you. Those proceedings can result in your suspension or expulsion from school, even without a criminal conviction in court. If you are no longer enrolled in school, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement could revoke your student visa. Without a valid student visa, you could face immediate deportation.
- Revocation of Your Visa: Your home country may also revoke your U.S. visa. This can happen, for example, in DUI cases.
- Deportation: Committing crimes such as an aggravated felony, crimes of moral turpitude, firearm offenses, certain drug offenses, and other crimes can result in you and your family facing removal proceedings. Once you are deported, you will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. for a certain amount of years.
- Forced to Remain in the U.S.: Depending on the charge, your case must be resolved before you are allowed to return to your home country and see your loved ones again. This could take a long time.
- Difficult to Get Another Visa: Being charged in a criminal case can make it impossible for you to receive a visa or U.S. citizenship in the future.
- Ineligibility for Asylum: If convicted of an “aggravated felony,” an immigrant will be unable to receive asylum, or relief for immigrants who face persecution in their home country, in the future.
- Punishment in the U.S.: As a person charged with a crime in the U.S., you now face the same penalties that apply to American citizens. These penalties include sitting in jail as you await your trial, enduring a trial in criminal court, and a conviction that could include fines or a prison sentence.
With the lawyers of Bruno Law Offices on your side, this journey does not have to lead to the most serious consequences. We are here to protect and help you.
What is an aggravated felony?
“Aggravated felony” is a term for a crime that is used as justification to deport immigrants or non-citizens from the U.S. Initially, “aggravated felony” only referred to crimes like murder, drug trafficking, and certain firearm offenses. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, aggravated felonies include, but are not limited to, some of the following crimes:
- Trafficking a controlled substance
- Money laundering
- Trafficking fraudulent documents
- Child pornography
- Tax evasion
If you have been charged with an aggravated felony, it is imperative that you contact a lawyer immediately to begin mounting a strong defense. Our team of knowledgeable attorneys will help you build the strongest case possible to fight the allegations against you. We know that you need to keep your visa to remain in the country and complete your studies, so we will work hard to ensure that you are able to achieve your dreams.
What are crimes of “moral turpitude?”
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “crimes of moral turpitude” describe a set of crimes for which foreign-born persons can be deported. The following crimes are a few that fall into this indefinite category:
- Child abuse
- Aggravated assault
- Domestic violence
Contact Bruno Law Offices
Do not leave your future up to chance. The consequences of the criminal charges against you can be life-altering, resulting in prison time, deportation, or permanent removal from the U.S. without re-entry. With our team on your side, the worst-case scenarios can be avoided. We have the experience you need on your side if you are facing serious charges, and we will fight aggressively on your behalf to ensure that you are able to stay in the U.S. to complete your studies or your visit. Consult with Bruno Law Offices today to learn about your rights and how you can avoid having your freedom taken away. Don’t hesitate; call us today at (217) 328-6000.