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Posted on April 1, 2024 in Criminal Defense

What Criminal Offenses Are Deportable in Arizona?

Immigration laws are often amongst the most complex areas of legislation. One important but challenging aspect revolves around distinguishing which criminal offenses lead to deportation.

If you’re a non-citizen living in Arizona, staying informed about such matters can go a long way toward maintaining your rights and securing your residence status in the event of a criminal charge.

Whether a person will get deported or not typically depends on the specific circumstances of the case. However, the following are some of the criminal offenses that are most often deportable in Arizona:

Felony Offenses

In Arizona, a felony refers to a crime that carries more than one year of prison time. Common felonies in this state include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In addition to the serious legal consequences these offenses carry upon conviction, they can also lead to deportation.

Misdemeanors Can Sometimes Turn Into Felonies, Leading to Deportation

Misdemeanors are generally considered less serious crimes. However, there are scenarios where multiple misdemeanor offenses can escalate to felony charges under Arizona law, potentially impacting immigration status.

For example, a first-time conviction for racing on highways is typically considered a misdemeanor, but a second offense within 24 months could be charged as a felony.

A first offense driving under the influence charge is also typically charged as a misdemeanor but can be elevated to a felony if aggravating circumstances are present or after subsequent convictions.

Drug Offenses

Many drug-related offenses can lead to deportation as well. Violations can range from possession crimes to more serious ones, like selling or distributing controlled substances. However, this isn’t definitive. For example, if you are convicted of a single offense for personal possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, this might not lead to deportation.

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

According to U.S. immigration law, Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMTs) – offenses considered vile or reprehensible by nature – are also met with severe consequences. Non-citizens convicted of a CIMT within five years of their admission to the United States are typically subject to deportation proceedings.

Defining what exactly constitutes a CIMT can be difficult, as interpretations may vary, and there isn’t a set list of what these offenses are. However, in general, a CIMT consists of conduct that strongly contradicts accepted standards of morality and societal norms.

Examples often include sex offenses, theft, fraud-related crimes like forgery and embezzlement, and violent acts leading to considerable physical harm.

Other Possible Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions

Even if you manage to avoid deportation following a criminal conviction, you may still experience significant immigration repercussions.


A criminal conviction can render you ineligible for reentry into the U.S. if you leave and attempt to come back.

Difficulty Naturalizing

Having a criminal conviction on your record could introduce considerable barriers to the naturalization process. For those seeking citizenship, authorities will scrutinize their moral character and may deny citizenship based on a criminal record.

Family Impact

Some criminal convictions can result in losing the privilege of sponsoring family members for visas, green cards, or citizenship.

Visa Renewal Challenges

A criminal record might cause complications when it’s time to renew a visa. Increased scrutiny or outright denial can severely impact your ability to legally remain in the U.S.

Long-Term Detainment

While your case goes through the immigration court system and post-conviction proceedings, you could find yourself subject to extended detainment under the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Contact the Criminal Defense Lawyers at Orent Law Offices In Phoenix To Get Legal Assistance Today

Facing criminal charges can be deeply concerning, especially for non-U.S. citizens, due to the possible immigration consequences that may follow. The first step you should take is to contact a lawyer immediately.

You need an expert who is well-versed in both criminal law and immigration law to analyze the situation. Knowledgeable attorneys can employ various strategies to mitigate immigration consequences if they’re involved in the case.

They might negotiate plea deals that minimize or avoid immigration penalties, pursue alternative sentencing options that result in less severe consequences, or even challenge the charge altogether.

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorney Craig Orent. Give us a call at (480) 656-7301 or visit our law office at 11811 N Tatum Blvd UNIT 3031, Phoenix, AZ 85028. We offer a free case evaluation, so get the help you deserve today.

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