A non-citizen present in the United States facing criminal charges for domestic violence may suffer harsh immigration consequences. After being admitted to the country through lawful entry, after commission of a crime, a non-citizen may become deportable or subject to removal. In some cases, individuals may be inadmissible for re-entry to the U.S. If you are under investigation or have been charged with a domestic violence offense and are concerned your immigration status may be affected, The Law Office of Gregory H.Comings can help. Early involvement in your case by a capable defense lawyer is critical. Riverside domestic violence and immigration Attorney Comings fights to keep you free from a criminal conviction and here in the U.S. with your loved ones.
The United States Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) distinguishes between the type of deportation non-citizens may face upon conviction of a crime. In other words, some crimes lead to mandatory deportation while others subject the accused to optional deportation. Certain crimes make non-citizens inadmissible to the county. Inadmissible status means that an individual cannot reenter the U.S. after leaving, cannot become a citizen, and is barred from holding legal permanent residency.
A non-citizen convicted of a domestic violence offense may be subject to deportation for a “crime of violence.” This is defined by 18 USC section 16(a) as an offense that has an element of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person. Force typically means violent or aggressive force. The domestic violence aspect is met by the prosecution providing sufficient evidence that the victim and the accused shared a qualifying domestic relationship. This includes current or former spouses, someone the defendant shares a child with, a live-in romantic partner or another person protected under domestic or family violence laws.
Additionally, a conviction for certain domestic violence crimes can be classified an “aggravated felony” for purposes of immigration. According to the INA, rape, murder, and sexual abuse of a minor are listed as aggravated felonies. Aggravated felonies carry a sentence of one year or more. A non-citizen convicted of an aggravated felony may face removal proceedings. Since domestic violence convictions potentially carry sentences of up to one year in county jail, they may lead to deportation. This is true even for misdemeanor domestic violence convictions.
Crimes of moral turpitude involve conduct deemed immoral or depraved. Certain domestic violence offenses are identified as crimes involving moral turpitude. These crimes typically result in deportation and render a non-citizen inadmissible in the country. Examples of these crimes include rape, child abuse, sexual battery, and child pornography. For a crime involving moral turpitude, a non-citizen must have committed the crime within five years after being admitted to the U.S.
If you are in the U.S. lawfully as a non-citizen, there are certain crimes that do not lead to possible deportation. Simple battery, for example, is a crime that does not necessarily have immigration consequences. One option if you are facing domestic violence charges may be to plead to a lesser offense. A criminal sentence that carries less than one year may help avoid deportation and exile. However, the criminal charge must be appropriate and not simply to avoid jail.
Another option is to file an expungement motion. This allows defendants to withdraw a guilty plea or re-enter a plea of not guilty and have their case dismissed. If an expungement motion is granted, the individual will be released from the consequences of a criminal conviction. Expungement is not available for those convicted of certain sex crimes involving children.
Attorney Gregory Comings takes pride in defending the accused. For concerns regarding domestic violence and immigration, contact Riverside lawyer Gregory Comings. You can be assured of honest, efficient legal representation with your best interest in mind. Our office is proud to help people throughout the areas of Coachella, Hemet, Indio, Palm Desert, Riverside, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, and San Bernardino. Attorney Comings also provides representation for those facing charges for sex offenses, theft, and weapons offenses. To learn more, contact our office by phone at (951) 686-3457 or through our online form.