If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, it is extremely important that you speak with an attorney that is well versed with immigration laws prior to entering a plea. The consequences of a conviction can result in deportation, denial of naturalization and exclusion from admission to this country. If you are a DACA recipient, it is extremely important that you contact an attorney prior to entering a plea. The rules are different for DACA recipients. Even a first-time conviction for a DUI will result in being removed from the DACA program. If you are a legal permanent resident (“LPR”), entering into a plea may result in dire immigration consequences. It is not the severity of the crime (felony or misdemeanor), but the conviction and the record in court thereof.
The laws are complicated and the process is long. If you are not a United States Citizen, you must consult an attorney before you plead guilty to any crime. In Padilla v. Kentucky, the court decided that criminal attorneys MUST advise non-citizen clients about immigration consequences. The law requires your attorney to provide you with all the consequences before you enter a plea.
Post Conviction Relief
In many instances, the law may allow for a motion to vacate a judgment in order to help a non-citizen enter a safe plea for immigration purposes. If you are in deportation proceedings as a result of a criminal conviction, there are avenues of relief that may help you with the immigration case. Do not despair. There are multiple grounds to petition the court to invalidate your criminal conviction and vacate the plea. Ms. Pascher has been successful in entering immigration-safe pleas that will not result in deportation, denial of naturalization or exclusion from admission into the United States.