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Domestic Violence: Possible Immigration Consequences

Anyone facing charges of domestic violence who is not a U.S. citizen must, in addition to the penalties possible under the criminal law, also consider the possible immigration consequences in their case. Consequently, it is of tantamount importance to retain a domestic violence attorney either whom is familiar with how criminal law intersects immigration law, or whom works closely with an immigration attorney in any domestic violence case in which immigration consequences present themselves. Recent Supreme Court caselaw demands that a criminal defense attorney properly advise his or her clients as to the possible immigration consequences of a plea in their case.

 

A criminal conviction can result in immigration consequences triggering either inadmissibility, or grounds that bar a person from being lawfully admitted to the United States, and also deportability, or reasons why the government can remove a non-citizen from the country. Also, a criminal conviction can make it difficult if not impossible to be readmitted into the United States, and also serve as an impediment to an application for citizenship. An individual can be exposed to possible deportation on several grounds, including conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude, a conviction for a domestic violence offense, or an aggravated felony offense.

 

Federal law and state law define domestic violence differently. That is, simply because a crime has the domestic violence enhancer in Colorado does not necessarily mean that it would constitute domestic violence under federal law. Under federal law, something is domestic violence if it is a crime of violence, a crime committed against a person, and a crime involving a particular type of relationship (for example, husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend).

 

By means of example, a deferred judgment is often a sought after plea in domestic violence cases where a guilty plea, as opposed to a jury trial, is appropriate. This would be considered an excellent plea bargain under ordinary circumstances. However, for someone who is not a U.S. citizen and therefore must contemplate immigration consequences, it could very well be an unacceptable resolution. That is because as far as immigration law is concerned, there is no distinction between a guilty plea involving a conviction, and one that does not result in a conviction (which is what happens in the case of a deferred judgment, where the imposition of a sentence is deferred). If your domestic violence attorney is unfamiliar with the way in which your plea may negatively impact your immigration status, you may be facing serious, irreversible consequences later on. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you retain a domestic violence lawyer experienced with handling domestic violence cases where immigration must be a prominent consideration in the resolution of the case. With competent defense counsel on your side, you may be able to secure an immigration-friendly resolution of your criminal case.

 

If you are facing domestic violence charges and are not a U.S. citizen, contact Denver domestic violence lawyer Kimberly Diego today to discuss your domestic violence case today.