Different crimes and/or different sentences may have adverse immigration consequences for non-United States citizens who are lawfully in the country, such as Resident Aliens, or for those who are here but without documents.
In all cases where a person's immigration status is an issue, the attorney needs to do everything possible to help the accused avoid conviction for crimes of moral turpitude, aggravated felonies, and sentences exceeding a certain length. This is frequently done during the plea bargaining or negotiating stage of the case. Penal Code section 1016.3, subdivision (a) now imposes an affirmative duty upon defense counsel “to provide accurate and affirmative advice about the immigration consequences of a proposed disposition, and when consistent with the goals of and with the informed consent of the defendant, and consistent with professional standards, defend against those consequences.” Additionally, section 1016.3 requires that “The prosecution, in the interest of justice [. . .] shall consider the avoidance of adverse immigration consequences in the plea negotiation process as one factor in an effort to reach a just resolution.” (Penal Code section 1016.3, subd. (b).)
In other cases in which the defendant has already suffered a conviction, certain forms of post-conviction relief may be available to help lessen or completely eliminate the negative impact of the prior case on his or her immigration status.
If you or someone you love faces immigration consequences as a result of a criminal case, new or old, please call me today and let me advise you.