In Arizona, a criminal conviction can have far-reaching consequences beyond the punishment handed down by the court. Whether you are an undocumented immigrant, a visa holder, or a permanent resident, it is crucial to understand the potential impact a criminal conviction can have on your immigration status. The reality is that the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction can be severe and life-altering.
Not all criminal convictions have the same impact on immigration status. Some criminal convictions are considered more serious than others and carry more severe immigration consequences, like deportation.
Deportation due to a criminal conviction is an unfortunate reality for many people. It occurs when a non-citizen has been convicted of a crime deemed a “deportable offense” by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This means they are subject to being detained and removed from the United States.
The types of offenses which can lead to deportation can vary greatly depending on how serious they are, the sentence associated with them, and whether the person had already been placed under deportation orders before committing the crime. A person’s legal status also impacts deportation: did they enter the country legally or illegally? Are they here unlawfully, or do they have a visa or a green card?
There are many deportable offenses. The following list includes some of the most common convictions that will lead a non-resident to be deported:
In Arizona, a felony is any crime that can be punished by more than one year in jail. This means that if you’re convicted of an offense carrying a sentence of more than one year in prison, you could face deportation.
Common felonies in Arizona include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, fraud, and obstruction of justice. These are all crimes that are considered serious and can carry severe consequences, including the possibility of being deported from the United States.
In some cases, misdemeanor crimes can become felonies in some circumstances. For example, racing on highways is a crime that can escalate quickly. If you’re convicted of racing on highways for the first time, it’s considered a misdemeanor. However, if you’re convicted of a second offense within twenty-four months, it becomes classified as a Class 6 felony.
Driving under the influence is another crime that can become a felony, depending on the circumstances. While a standard DUI is a misdemeanor, in certain circumstances, it can escalate to a felony offense known as an aggravated DUI.
According to Arizona law, a person may be charged with an aggravated DUI in several different situations, including:
This means that even if you are convicted of a first-time DUI, it could be a felony and lead to deportation.
Non-residents convicted of a violation or attempt to violate any law related to controlled substances are deportable under federal immigration law. This includes a wide range of drug offenses, from possession to sale and distribution.
However, there is an exception to this rule. If a non-citizen has been convicted of a single offense involving possession for their own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana, they may not be considered deportable under immigration law.
It’s crucial to understand that while state laws regarding marijuana may be changing, federal immigration law still views marijuana as a controlled substance. A conviction for a marijuana-related offense, like the sale, manufacturing, or distribution of it, can still result in deportation.
Under U.S. law, crimes of moral turpitude are considered particularly egregious and can lead to deportation for non-citizens. Non-citizens convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude within five years of their admission into the U.S., which can result in a sentence exceeding one year, are subject to deportation under U.S. law.
Furthermore, a non-citizen is considered deportable if convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude that do not arise from a single scheme of criminal misconduct. This means that even if the crimes were committed years apart, they could still result in deportation.
So, what exactly is considered a crime of moral turpitude? Generally, it refers to any act that goes against accepted rules of morality and duties owed between persons or society. This can include sex offenses, theft or fraud-related offenses, and reckless or intentional acts resulting in great bodily harm or threats to cause someone serious bodily injury.
The potential consequences of a criminal conviction or other immigration-related matters are very serious, and it’s essential to seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney right away. Don’t risk losing your ability to remain in the United States – seek legal help to protect your rights and future. Contact the Orent Law Offices, PLC, in Phoenix, at (480) 656-7301 to schedule a meeting with Craig Orent, We would be more than happy to provide you with the information you need.