Convicted of a Sexual Offense in NJ
Sexual offenses are among the most aggressively investigated and severely punished crimes in the United States. A conviction for a sex crime can often result in significant legal penalties like probation, counseling, court supervision, jail time, and mandatory registration as a sex offender. For people who are not citizens of the United States, the stakes are even higher, as a sex crime can very often result in deportation. Because of the seriousness of the potential penalties facing foreign nationals accused of sex crimes, it is critical for anyone in this position to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Deportable Sexual Offenses
There is no comprehensive list published by the federal government that outlines what criminal offenses can result in deportation. As most criminal cases are prosecuted under state law, immigration officials must determine whether the offense fits into the categories of deportable offenses available under federal law. There are two common ways a state law criminal offense that was related to sex could result in deportation: (1) if it is deemed a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT), or (2) if it is considered an “aggravated felony” in the context of immigration law. Many sexual offenses could fall into one or both of these categories, including the following:
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Pimping and pandering
- Criminal sexual contact
- Sexual battery
- Possession of child pornography
- Sexual abuse of a minor
- Child enticement
Sexual Assault Conviction
Under New Jersey law, sexual assault is a serious offense that involves sexual penetration and is the offense which is used to prosecute what is commonly referred to as “rape”. There are certain factors that can make simple sexual assault aggravated sexual assault, including causing severe physical injury or the perpetrator knew or should have known that the victim was physically helpless, mentally defective, or mentally incapacitated.
Convicted of Rape
As mentioned above, instances of rape in New Jersey are legally referred to as sexual assault. Forcible rape will be considered aggravated sexual assault in nearly every circumstance and a conviction can very easily result in deportation.
Convicted of Prostitution
New Jersey law states that prostitution occurs when an individual offers or accepts a transaction in which sex acts will be performed for money or property. As a result, both individuals offering sex acts and those soliciting them can be prosecuted under the New Jersey prostitution statute. Prostitution is generally considered a CIMT, meaning that a conviction can very easily result in deportation for a foreign national.
Convicted for Abuse of a Minor
Federal immigration law treats a conviction for an offense involving certain sexual conduct with a minor (a person under 18) as an aggravated felony. As a result, a conviction for the sexual abuse of a minor may result in deportation from the United States.
Legal Defenses may be Available for Foreign National Facing Deportation
Foreign nationals who may be facing deportation based on the outcome of a pending criminal case should not immediately assume that they will be removed from the United States. There are often many defenses and legal tactics available to avoid a conviction and help individuals with legal immigrant status stay in the country. Even in cases where a legal defense is not available, a skilled criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the immigration consequences of criminal proceedings may be able to negotiate a plea bargain which does not trigger deportation. In some cases, the fact that the violation of a condition of a plea bargain could later trigger deportation may actually be a benefit in the negotiation process as most prosecutors are aware of the fact that most people facing deportation will not jeopardize their ability to stay in the country by violating the terms of their agreement. It is critical, however, to have your case reviewed by an attorney familiar with these kinds of cases, as any oversight or mistake may cause irreparable harm.
Call a New Jersey Crimmigration Attorney Today to Schedule a Case Evaluation
If you are a foreign national that has been accused or are under investigation for a sexual offense, you should retain legal counsel immediately. In many cases, the assistance of an attorney can mitigate the potential immigration consequences of a sexual offense and may be able to ensure that you are able to remain in the country. To schedule a consultation with New Jersey crimmigration lawyer Ronald P. Mondello, call our office today or send us an email through our online contact form.