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How Criminal Charges Affect Immigration Proceedings

Tue 27 Sep, 2022 by General

It should come as no surprise that if you’re facing criminal charges, or if you’ve faced criminal charges in the past, it is going to make your immigration proceedings much more complicated. 

Obviously you’d rather have a clean, spotless record, but even if you don’t, working with an immigration lawyer in Columbus can help you understand the options you have available to you, and overcome those problems.

There are multiple different circumstances surrounding criminal charges and immigration, depending on the severity of the charges and your current immigration status. We can’t possibly cover every aspect in a single blog, as cases are all different and context is very important.

So here are some things to consider with your Columbus immigration attorney.

All Criminal Charges Are Not Equal

As any Columbus immigration attorney will tell you, not all criminal charges carry equal weight. While it’s never a good thing to have criminal charges on your record, a simple assault or DUI is a more manageable offense than a murder or rape charge, for example. Having a misdemeanor, with some exceptions, on your record is much different than a felony.

There is also the question of arrests vs. convictions. Being arrested for a crime does not mean you’ve been found guilty of it. If you have been arrested, it is important to talk to a criminal defense and immigration lawyer in Columbus to protect your rights.  

Even if you were arrested for a crime, if the criminal charges against you are dropped, your record remains clear and the incident should not affect your immigration status. That’s why it’s so important when facing criminal charges to talk to a Columbus criminal defense attorney who is also an experienced immigration lawyer in Ohio.

This is true regardless of your immigration status.  Therefore, depending on the crime, green card holders may find their United States residency in jeopardy. 

Inadmissibility and Removability

Contrary to popular belief, being convicted of a crime does not automatically lead to deportation for immigrants. With the right Columbus immigration attorney on your side, you can fight the charges facing you and protect your immigration status.

But first you should know the two major ways criminal charges can potentially affect your immigration status: “Inadmissibility” and “Removability.”

Inadmissibility means that a criminal charge has made it so that you cannot gain entry to the United States. This will make it much more difficult for you to apply for a visa or immigration status.  If you already have a green card, you may not be able to leave the country and re-enter.

Removability, or “deportability,” tends to apply after more serious crimes, regardless of your immigration status.  This can affect green card holders in a negative way.  If your family’s immigration status is dependent on your own status, they may be in jeopardy of deportation as well.

That’s why it’s so important to have a skilled immigration lawyer in Columbus to advocate for your rights at every step.

It’s Not Too Late to Contact a Columbus Immigration Lawyer

It’s best if you’re able to contact a skilled criminal justice and immigration lawyer in Columbus as soon as you find out you’re facing charges. You generally don’t want to sign any legal papers or make any plea deals before speaking to a lawyer about your options.

If you’ve already been convicted of a crime, a skilled immigration lawyer in Ohio may still be able to work with you to protect your immigration status and ensure that you can continue to live and work here.

If you’re facing criminal charges and are concerned about your immigration status, contact Jay Perez Law today for a free consultation and find out how we can help.