A police record can be pretty problematic in the long run. As such, everyone should do their best to avoid having one. It’s even worse if you are an immigrant granted temporary residency or permanent residency through a green card. A criminal record could create serious complications down the line, irrespective of the outcome of the case. However, if you ever run into a problem with the law as an immigrant, is it always better to have an experienced professional like Stroleny Law, P.A. representing you. They can make the difference between you getting wrongly accused and being allowed to go free.
Effects Of A Criminal Charge On Immigration proceedings
In the United States, the impact of criminal charges on an immigrant’s status can be massive. It could lead to the individual getting deported or having their status rescinded. A criminal record could prevent an individual from obtaining legal residence in the U.S. The individual might also not be able to bring any family member into the country, and it could also reduce the individual’s chances of obtaining a work visa. For immigrants who already have a green card, a criminal record could make them ineligible to renew their green card.
Possible Defense Strategies For Immigrants
If you are an immigrant who has been charged with a criminal offense, your case could be vacated by the court. An experienced criminal attorney could help convince the court that rehabilitation is the best thing for you. With this, your case can be dismissed or your sentence reduced.
Showing good moral character is another possible defense as an immigrant. Factors such as having a steady job, volunteering, or getting involved in community service could have a positive impact on your charges. This strategy could also be used when you need to maintain your immigration status because your good moral character is one of the things the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) looks at when deciding your immigration status.
Why You May Be At Deportation Risk Even After The Arrest Has Been Dismissed
In the United States, no matter how little the offense may seem, all arrest cases are entered into the database of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Therefore, even if a criminal case has been dismissed and the charges were dropped, the arrest or conviction automatically becomes a matter of public record. So when deciding your immigration status, the United States Immigration will have access to these records and can make their decisions using them. This is where most immigrants usually face the most problems.
How To Maintain Your Immigration Status After A Dismissed Case
As an immigrant who has been involved in a criminal case, you might get contacted by a government agency regarding your immigration status. When this happens, the best thing to do is to seek the counsel of a board-certified immigration attorney who is experienced in handling immigration cases.
Your immigration lawyer will help you get a disposition letter or a statement indicating that the case was dropped. This document should be presented to the court, as it is the best evidence to show the outcome of the criminal charge.
Generally, a police report or other court documents against you would be considered irrelevant as long as the allegations were dropped. Therefore presenting this letter of disposition will expunge such criminal records.
Importantly, if you are asked to come for a court examination or an interview, legally, you are required to disclose to the court all arrests you’ve been involved in. You will also be questioned about them; therefore, you should be fully prepared to answer these questions. Ensure you are completely truthful about any arrest, even if the case was dismissed. This will prevent your immigration status from being at risk.
Inform The Immigration Office
As an immigrant, you are required by law to inform your immigration officers, employees of the State Department, and employees of Homeland Security of any arrest you’ve been involved in when applying for or maintaining your immigration status. If this is not done, you could be charged and convicted for fraud to gain immigration benefits.
Before going for any court examination or an interview regarding your immigration status, it is advised that you speak with your immigration lawyer first. They can help prepare you for the interview process.
As an immigrant, the best thing to do is always to avoid any form of altercations or activities that could lead to you getting arrested. Unfortunately, this might be impossible or difficult for some people. If you fall into this category, it is important that you have an experienced defense and immigration attorney on speed dial.