Immigration Lawyer in Los Angeles
Criminal Law and Immigration
If you are not a United States citizen, and you are arrested or charged with a crime, it is absolutely critical that your criminal defense attorney have a thorough understanding of how your criminal case will affect your immigration status.
A skilled and immigration-savvy criminal defense attorney will zealously fight your criminal case while protecting you from adverse immigration consequences along the way – from your arrest all the way through to the resolution of your case.
It is Critical to Hire a Lawyer Immediately
One of the first concerns for anyone arrested and charged with a crime is getting out of jail. This concern is significantly amplified if you are not a citizen: being processed into the county jail, even for minor offenses, can result in an “immigration hold” and likely deportation proceedings.
Once you have an immigration hold, you will not be released from custody, even if you post bail or if you win your criminal case; instead, you will be transferred to an immigration detention facility pending review by an immigration judge of your case. If you are undocumented, you will likely be deported.
For these reasons, it is critical to hire an attorney immediately to make arrangement to protect you from getting an immigration hold. The key is to act fast to avoid processing into a county jail where your immigration status may be reviewed.
At The Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg, we help arrange for a bondsman to get you released from the local police station, or directly from court, before being transferred to the county jail. Even if you are undocumented, this approach effectively insulates you from an immigration hold pending the resolution of your criminal case.
A Lawyer Who Understands Immigration Law Will Fight Your Criminal Case to Protect You from Immigration Consequences
If you avoid jail and an immigration hold at the beginning of the process, you still have to fight your criminal case. The resolution of your criminal case may have profound immigration consequences. For example, any jail or prison sentence resulting from your conviction will invariably lead to immigration status review and potentially an immigration hold. Also, there are many crimes that, under federal law, will automatically trigger deportation proceedings or make you inadmissible to the United States. These include violent crimes, drug crimes, fraud and theft crimes, and sex crimes.
In order to avoid these adverse immigration consequences, you must either win your case or negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor that will not affect your immigration status.
Even If You Are Convicted of a Crime, There May Still Be Hope
If you have been convicted of a crime which negatively impacts your immigration status, all hope is not lost. It may be possible to modify or vacate a past conviction to insulate you from negative immigration consequences.
There are various legal mechanisms and arguments that may successfully change your past conviction. For example, we can argue to the court that your former attorney failed to advise you of the criminal consequences of pleading guilty to your case and that as a result, you accepted the plea bargain without being informed of a critical aspect of your case. Another approach is to reduce a past felony conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor. Even in cases where there is no technical legal mechanism to change your plea, we can still argue to the judge that it is in the “interest of justice” to alter your past conviction so that you can remain in the United States.
Practice Tip: It is much easier to avoid negative immigration consequences at the beginning of your case than trying to convince the court to modify/change a past conviction after your case has concluded. For this reason, we highly recommend hiring an attorney as soon as you or a loved one is arrested or under investigation for committing a crime.
We Understand How Painful Deportation Can Be to You, Your Family and Our Community
Immigration policy in the United States causes immeasurable pain and suffering for millions of people in our country: families are torn apart, citizen children are separated from their immigrant parents, and hardworking people contributing to our society are sent away for decades-old minor offenses. We understand the pain and suffering of the immigrant population who constantly must deal with the fear of deportation. Let us help you protect your immigration status and prevent the nightmare of deportation that may result from your arrest or prosecution.