You are legally in the United States, perhaps studying at school on a student visa or working on an employment visa. But you are not a U.S. citizen, even though that is your long-term goal.
If you’re accused of a crime, you are likely going to think about the potential prison sentence or fines as the first ramifications. But could your immigration status also be in question? For instance, could you be deported from the United States and sent back home just because you were accused of a crime?
The role of a conviction
First and foremost, accusations alone generally won’t trigger a deportation. After all, you may not be guilty. Someone could have simply made up the allegations, or it could be a mistake. The problem is if you are convicted of a crime. Then you may be deported because it has been shown in court that you are guilty. This is just one reason why it’s so important to consider your defense options.
How severe is the crime?
Even if you are convicted, that does not guarantee that you will be deported. Minor crimes, such as many misdemeanors or traffic violations, typically don’t lead to deportation.
However, if you’re convicted of an aggravated felony, then you could be deported. This could include certain types of violent crimes. You may also face deportation if you’re convicted of drug crimes or things of this nature. Essentially, more severe convictions are going to have a bigger impact on your future, whereas something minor, while still an issue that you need to take seriously if you head to court, likely will not change your immigration status.
Deportations are also carried out for crimes of moral turpitude. These are typically crimes in which theft or fraud are perpetrated. For instance, you could be deported if you are convicted of robbery or embezzlement. These things may not seem as serious as a violent crimes like assault or a charge for having a firearm, but they can still lead to deportation and you need to keep that in mind.
If you have been accused of a crime, it’s very natural to be worried about your future and your immigration status. Just take the time to carefully consider all of the options that you have.