Controlled Substance Convictions and the Foreign National Client
Ron: I would like to add that another important factor is controlled substances convictions. I have to tell you, with very few exceptions, a conviction for any type of a controlled, dangerous substance renders a non-citizen deportable.
Firearms and Domestic Abuse Convictions
In most cases, it can be considered an aggravated felony and there are two in particular, crack cocaine and the date rape drug. Those are aggravated felonies, which mean that if you plead your client to an aggravated felony, there’s no relief that’s going to be available to avoid deportation. They want to avoid firearms convictions, certainly want to stay away from any type domestic violence or temporary restraining order violations.
Are Moral Turpitude Convictions Deportable Offenses?
Interviewer: Are there any other very common ones, Ron?
Ron: I think the only others would be there’s various convictions for different types of crimes involving moral turpitude, shoplifting, prostitution, various forms of theft.
Why Should Defense Attorneys Work With Crimmigration Attorneys?
Interviewer: Is there anything else in there that I should have asked that we didn’t put in that you think is important?
Ron: One of the most important reasons is that criminal defense attorneys, from the very beginning of a case involving a foreign national client, should try to work with a crimmigration attorney. They need the crimmigration attorney’s expertise to make sure to avoid a conviction that would trigger mandatory detention. This is because once a non-citizen is subject to mandatory detention, even if they have a decent defense to the criminal case, they may not want to stay in jail to fight the case. Alternatively, in the case where there’s been a conviction and mandatory detention, they may not want to remain in jail to do a post-conviction relief petition, which could take a year or two years.
So that’s probably one of the most important things is to consult with somebody to try to avoid a conviction that would trigger that type of mandatory detention.