How a Criminal Immigration Lawyer Can Protect Your Rights and Status

A criminal immigration attorney is a must for anyone who is not a citizen and has been charged with a crime. Your criminal case may have implications for your immigration status, and you need a legal representative who understands all the consequences.

Manji Law, P.C.Manji Law, P.C.
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Atlanta Immigration Attorney Jameel Manji

Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.

Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: December 12, 2019, Last Updated on: December 26, 2019.

Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.

Facing Criminal Charges as an Immigrant? Why You Need Criminal Defense Attorneys

Being arrested for a criminal offense is already a difficult situation. For non-citizen immigrants, the risk of deportation makes the experience even more stressful. Suppose you are an immigrant arrested for a crime in the United States. In that case, the stakes are incredibly high, and you must contact a criminal immigration lawyer immediately.

Immigration law is incredibly complex, and the consequences of a criminal conviction can be extreme. A criminal immigration defense lawyer will represent you in legal proceedings, work on your behalf to protect your rights, and fight for your status as a non-citizen immigrant. With the help of an attorney, you will better understand what to expect when facing prosecution from U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, as well as the immigration judge.

Experienced Criminal Immigration Attorney

Over the past twenty years, criminal immigration law has become an essential practice area of immigration defense. It is the reaction to Congressional efforts to restrict due process and the chances for immigrants to obtain and maintain lawful permanent residency. A growing number of criminal convictions have been categorized as immigration law felonies, also known as “aggravated felonies,” which restrict immigrants from any relief from deportation, causing a merging of criminal defense and migration law.

When an American national faces criminal charges, the penalties can be harsh. However, the consequences of an immigrant’s criminal charges now go far beyond the time in jail or prison. Instead, the sentence brings the capacity for irreversible expulsion from the United States.

Immigration consequences of criminal convictions for an aggravated felony can even include deportation without a removal hearing and ineligible to receive asylum. In addition, an immigrant can lose eligibility for a U.S. visa or green card. Depending on your circumstances, this can even occur if you are a permanent resident or have a valid immigrant visa.

The Atlanta immigration lawyers at Manji Law, P.C. are devoted to assisting immigrants with preserving or obtaining their visas or green cards. We make it our business to understand how criminal law and immigration law go hand-in-hand, and we can safeguard your innocence while fighting to keep you in the United States.

Why Hire a Criminal Defense and Immigration Attorney?

Following an arrest, one of the biggest mistakes a non-citizen immigrant can make is to consult a criminal defense legal representative with minimal immigration law experience. A conviction for immigration is not like standard criminal convictions, and by choosing someone who does not comprehend this difference, you might be led into making a decision that permanently sets back your hard-earned path to citizenship.

Lawyers who focus on criminal immigration matters can identify whether a particular offense is a deportable one and help you make the right choice for your future. At Manji Law, P.C., we have a team of criminal defense and immigration attorneys experienced in defending non-citizens against domestic violence or other violent crimes that could lead to deportation or the denial of their U.S. visa application.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is known for its aggressive enforcement tactics and has a long record of making errors during the investigation and prosecution of non-citizens. This is why it is essential to seek assistance from an experienced criminal immigration defense attorney who can speak on your behalf and protect your rights throughout the process.

Seeking Legal Help From Immigration and Criminal Lawyers

As your criminal immigration lawyers, we assist clients throughout all stages of the criminal defense process: first, throughout your criminal case, then at immigration court hearings, and later in immigration appeals.

You should be aware that certain criminal offenses make a non-citizen or immigrant inadmissible. For an immigrant, that means if you leave the U.S., you won’t be able to reenter this country under any circumstances. Inadmissibility also means that non-citizens can’t apply for or receive permanent resident or green cards.

We will work to help you comprehend how your criminal charges may have immigration consequences and offer ideas and actions that you can take to minimize the possibility of deportation after your criminal case ends.

Immigration Felony and Misdemeanor Offenses

Under the United States Code Title 8 § 1227, several crimes can result in deportation or an inadmissible status for non-citizen immigrants. These include criminal activities of moral turpitude, such as fraud, burglary, theft, assault, prostitution, murder, or rape, in addition to felony criminal offenses that bring a minimum sentence of one year or more in jail.

Other criminal activities that can result in deportation or an inadmissible status consist of aggravated felonies, specific weapons offenses, domestic violence, and drug offenses, except possessing less than 30 grams of cannabis.

Felony Immigration Laws

Moral turpitude crimes are the broadest classification of criminal offenses that can result in ICE deportation or an inadmissible status. There is no particular definition for these criminal activities, indicating that courts are typically delegated to determine if a criminal offense makes up moral turpitude on its own. Criminal activities, including dishonesty, fraud, or multiple DUI offenses, are typically considered moral turpitude.

There are also blurred lines around “aggravated felonies,” a term used exclusively to define deportable felony and misdemeanor crimes committed by someone not an American citizen. These crimes may include:

  • Murder

  • Rape

  • Drug trafficking

  • Kidnapping

  • Human trafficking

  • Child pornography

  • Alien smuggling

  • Sexual abuse of a minor, including statutory rape

  • Trafficking firearms or destructive devices

  • Other offenses regarding weapons or explosive materials

  • Money laundering of more than $10,000

  • Fraud or tax evasion involving more than $10,000

  • Racketeering

  • Spying, treason, or sabotage

  • Theft or violent crime with a sentence order of at least one year

  • Perjury with a sentence of at least one year

  • Commercial bribery, counterfeiting, forgery, or trafficking in vehicles

  • Failure to appear in court on a felony charge for which a penalty of two years in prison may be imposed

  • Obstruction of justice, perjury, or bribery of a witness, if the term of imprisonment was at least one year

This list does not include all possible aggravated felonies. Immigration consequences of criminal convictions can be severe. Do not try to examine your circumstances based on this information, as there are many nuances. In fact, U.S. courts have held that other crimes can be considered aggravated felonies even if they are not included in the list.

Due to the often obscure definitions surrounding moral turpitude crimes and aggravated felonies, immigrants who are accused of any crime must seek legal services from legal representatives who have experience navigating these laws and determining which offenses may put their immigration status at risk.

How an Immigration and Criminal Attorney Can Help

Federal immigration authorities have much freedom in deporting or making an immigrant inadmissible, even if not found guilty in court.

Criminal immigration lawyers working routinely on federal matters and state and federal cases understand how essential it is to win your case if you wish to remain in the United States or have the leisure of returning if you were to leave. Even green card holders face the same federal immigration law guidelines concerning deportation and inadmissibility.

Particular crimes make a non-citizen or immigrant inadmissible, while others may make a non-citizen deportable. Generally speaking, “deportable” crimes are more major, but they consist of some criminal offenses likewise noted for inadmissibility status. 

Immigration Criminal Attorney

Criminal offenses of moral turpitude can trigger somebody to be deported or inadmissible. Being “inadmissible” means that if you leave, you will not have the ability to reenter the U.S. Inadmissibility likewise suggests that a non-citizen can not apply for or obtain U.S. citizenship or a green card. In any case, the immigration consequences can be damaging to a non-citizen.

Even if a non-citizen was not found guilty of criminal activity of moral turpitude, they might be inadmissible by federal requirements. Confessing to a crime in any way might likewise make a non-citizen inadmissible if discovered by the federal immigration court. Criminal defense immigration lawyers understand that a non-citizen, even with a green card, must not be found guilty to be inadmissible.

Immigration Lawyers for Criminal Offenses

Much like the consequences for a crime of moral turpitude, the immigration consequences of an aggravated felony can have lasting impacts on your path to citizenship. These include:

  • Deportation without a removal hearing

  • Mandatory unreviewable sentence to a Georgia immigration detention center after release from jail or prison. To be released, your criminal immigration attorney must show the judge that the crime you were found guilty of is not an aggravated felony as specified by immigration laws.

  • Not qualified for asylum

  • Not qualified for cancellation of removal

  • Not qualified for voluntary departure

  • Not qualified for particular waivers of inadmissibility

  • Completely disallowed from future admission into the U.S.

  • Additional penalties if discovered unlawfully reentering the U.S. The penalty for someone formerly found guilty of an aggravated felony and consequently deported may be up to 20 years in prison.

Immigration Criminal Law

Criminal immigration lawyers understand how to argue your best case and minimize the repercussions of a criminal conviction as much as possible.

It is best to consult our Atlanta, Georgia, immigration lawyers either during the investigation process or right after an arrest so they can work to avoid charges from being filed or reduce any existing charges. When hired early on in a case, the legal team at Manji Law, P.C. will have better chances to stay ahead of the prosecution and alter the course of your case for the best possible outcome.

Don’t be discouraged if you are at a later stage in your case. Our criminal immigration attorneys have a track record for innovative plea deals and wins. Do not wait until the last minute to consult them, as your possibilities of getting the desired outcome dwindle as time passes and the prosecution begins constructing its case against you.

Immigration Defense When Crimes Are Involved

Non-Americans in the U.S. must hire the best criminal attorney experienced with immigration issues to get the lowest possible sentence or get their case dismissed to prevent future repercussions of constantly changing immigration laws. Below are a few ways our law firm may be able to defend your path to citizenship and get your green card as your criminal defense lawyer.

Immigration Defense Attorney

If, as an immigrant, you have been found guilty of an aggravated felony or a criminal offense of moral turpitude and have not yet been physically deported, you might be qualified for post-conviction relief. Our criminal immigration lawyers can seek out a motion to vacate a conviction based upon inefficient support of counsel.

A motion to vacate might also be an option if you were not counseled by a legal representative on the immigration consequences of pleading guilty. Additionally, our criminal lawyers can seek other kinds of post-conviction relief, such as minimizing a felony to a misdemeanor or resentencing so as not to suffer consequences to your immigration status.

Immigration Criminal Defense Attorney

If your crime has resulted in inadmissibility, you may have the option to receive a waiver of inadmissibility. With this waiver, the DHS forgives that crime in determining whether you should be allowed to enter the United States.

There is one exception to federal laws concerning inadmissibility, but it must meet the following three requirements:

  • There is only one conviction of a criminal offense of moral turpitude

  • The maximum penalty for illegal activity does not exceed one year

  • The immigrant was sentenced to 6 months or less in jail

Immigration Criminal Defense Attorney

Another option that your legal representative may explore includes defense at removal hearings. In a motion to dismiss in front of the Atlanta immigration court, they would reveal that DHS stopped working to prove your criminal conviction and can not argue that the criminal activity charge falls under a deportable offense.

Conversely, your legal representative would reveal that you have been rehabilitated, that you have crucial family or local ties, and that, overall, you have earned the right to remain in the United States.

Your immigration status will be the main factor in the defense method we choose for you. You can depend on our criminal immigration lawyers’ legal understanding and experience with immigration law to defend your rights, freedom, and future in the United States.

Best Criminal Immigration Lawyers

Suppose you are not a United States citizen and have been charged with a criminal offense. In that case, you must discuss your scenario with our criminal immigration attorneys as quickly as possible.

Immigration Criminal Lawyer

At Manji Law, P.C., our Atlanta criminal immigration lawyers will work with you to prevent the possibility of you losing your green card and getting a devastating end to your time in the United States. With our law firm’s legal assistance, you can maintain a confident outlook on the circumstances. We will work tirelessly to help you win this, fight for your rights, and resist criminal charges, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.