With as much talk as there has been over the last few years about immigration, you would think most criminal defense lawyers are sensitive to the potential consequences of a conviction for defendants who are not United States citizens. Unfortunately, I continue to see lawyers who believe certain dispositions will protect a client against removal proceedings. Generally, this occurs where the client is placed on deferred adjudication, or placed in some type of pre-trial diversion program. They mistakenly believe that if there is no conviction, there are no immigration consequences.
I’ve recently seen cases where a defendant was placed on deferred adjudication for a minor offense, and when they went to report for probation, were met by ICE officials. They had no idea that could happen until it was too late.
I’ve also seen too many cases where the lawyer fails to ask about a client’s immigration status. They may have grown up here, graduated from high school or even college, and have stable jobs. There is nothing to suggest they are not United States citizens. Some lawyers also ask the wrong question; they might be here under DACA, or have a valid work permit, and if asked if they are “legal” will truthfully answer yes. If you or a loved one who is not yet a citizen is facing criminal charges, we are here to help.
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