Many people who live in the U.S. face the daily fear of being deported. This is a very real concern that can have a negative impact on a number of families here in the Lancaster area. While there are a number of justifications relied upon by the government to deport individuals, one of the most common is the conviction on certain criminal offenses. However, you need to understand the complexities of the immigration law system before you take action on your criminal case, as your actions could leave you more open to deportation.
How is “conviction” defined?
You may think that a criminal conviction occurs when your case goes to trial and a judge or jury finds you guilty. But immigration law takes a broader approach than that. In fact, under immigration law, you are deemed to have been convicted of a crime if you enter a guilty plea or a no contest plea. You are even deemed to have been convicted of a crime if your sentence is later vacated because you completed some sort of pre-trial diversion program, which is often the situation in many drug cases.
What about expungement?
Expunging your criminal record is helpful in that you won’t have to disclose it to potential employers. This can help you fly under the radar to a certain extent. But an expungement won’t fully protect you from deportation.
Know the implications before you act on your criminal case
The actions you take in your criminal case can have broad implications for your immigration status. That’s why it’s extremely important that you understand how immigration and criminal law overlap. Only then can you make the decisions that are right for you and your family, giving you the best protection possible under the circumstances.