Interviewer: What about probation violations? Does that have immigration consequences?
Ron: Well, yes, probation violations can have important immigration effects. In general, they don’t typically alter the nature of the offense of the conviction, but if the defendant receives an additional jail sentence for the probation violation, it will relate back to the original charge for immigration purposes. You might therefore exceed an immigration jail maximum before the crime is considered an aggravated felony. In addition, a person becomes deportable whenever a civil or criminal court has found that particular person to have violated a domestic violence order, if there is one in place. If you violate that order, you don’t even need a conviction because that could certainly result in deportation.
Post-Conviction Relief for Non-Citizens
Interviewer: Can you provide some more detail on the post-conviction relief for non-citizens?
Ron: Again, I mentioned that you could spend a whole day on this topic, so I’m going to try to go through it fairly quickly. There are different forms of post-conviction relief and they have different immigration effects. When writing a post-conviction relief petition, one of the most important aspects is to make sure that it is written properly, whether it is written by a criminal defense attorney or with help of an immigration expert.
If it is not written properly, even though the conviction was vacated in state court, the immigration court may find that it’s still a legally valid conviction. So the most important thing is to make sure that if you do win your post conviction relief petition that the order is drafted in such a way that the immigration judge will find that the conviction was legally invalid.