How To Avoid Deportation If You're Arrested
If you're not a citizen and you get arrested, you may be facing deportation. Strategies that criminal defense attorneys use to help citizens may not be enough in your situation. To reduce your risk of deportation, you need to know the following things to protect your immigration status.
Some Crimes Require Automatic Deportation
There are some crimes that you will be automatically deported for if you're convicted. These are usually crimes of violence, sex offenses, and selling drugs. The specific charges will vary by state because each state classifies crimes in slightly different ways, and then federal deportation laws have to be applied to how each state defines its crimes. Beyond the automatic deportation crimes, there are other crimes that have a higher chance of discretionary deportation, non-renewal of your immigration status, or denial of permanent residence or citizenship.
It's important that you or your attorney understand what these crimes are. Many jurisdictions have standard plea deals where if you're charged with one crime and have no prior record, you can plead down to a lower crime. A criminal defense attorney who has no experience in immigration may tell you to take one of these deals without realizing you could be deported.
Never Talk to the Police Without a Lawyer
Do not talk to police in the United States without a lawyer present. In some countries, it can hurt you in court if you don't cooperate or state your defense from the start. In America, you have a constitutional right to remain silent.
Anything you say to the police can be used against you both in criminal court and immigration court. Immigration court is a civil court that has a lower burden of proof. Even if the police don't have enough evidence to convict you, statements you give them can be used to support a deportation order against you.
Keep Your Court Dates
If you're released on bail, make sure you make every court date. You may have a job you're worried about losing or fear that going to court will end up with you being taken into custody by immigration officials. However, how you comply with the court process can also decide if you're allowed to remain in the country.
If you committed a minor crime and attended all of your court dates, immigration officials may still consider you a generally law-abiding citizen. If you don't go to court, immigration officials may decide you don't intend to follow this country's laws.
To learn more, talk to a local immigration attorney today.