The Consequences of Plea Bargains on Immigration

South King County Defense Lawyer

When considering the effects of criminal convictions on immigration statuses, it is important to keep in mind that the distinction between U.S. citizens and others is a crucial one, because a U.S. citizen cannot be deported or barred from the U.S., while others can be. A knowledgeable South King County defense lawyer can further advise you with respect to your particular case, but you should be aware that there are a number of immigration statuses that a person can have, including being a citizen, a refugee, a temporary or permanent resident alien, a non-immigrant visa holder or an undocumented alien.

Many times, individuals who do not believe they are U.S. citizens are actually citizens. For instance, you are a citizen, even if you were raised in a different country, if you were actually born in the United States or one of the territories (like Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, etc.). You may also be a citizen via a parent or a grandparent who was born in the United States or a parent who became a naturalized U.S. citizen while you were still a minor. Ultimately, the determination of whether or not you are a citizen based on any of the above-mentioned grounds will depend on which immigration status was in effect at the time you were born.

Certain criminal offenses (such as aggravated felonies) will undoubtedly cause you to be deported; however, the consequences of deportation can be controlled (to a certain degree and in certain cases) by the terms of a plea bargain. You should note, though, that the list of deportable offenses for non-citizens is increasing all the time. Additionally, the Supreme Court has held that deportation (or removal as it is now called) is a “particularly severe penalty” that is “intimately” related to the criminal process. The 6th Amendment guarantees the effective assistance of counsel; thus, a skilled South King County defense lawyer will be required to explore and inform his or her non-citizen clients of how a conviction will affect his or her immigration status prior to entering a guilty plea.

If you need a South King County defense lawyer, please call South King County criminal attorney at (888) 394-6997 for a free consultation.


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