Getting convicted of a crime can negatively impact you for the rest of your life, whether you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. However, permanent residents often have the most to lose, as a criminal conviction may lead to deportation.
What types of crimes affect immigration?
Almost any felony or misdemeanor conviction on your record may impact your immigration status. However, certain crimes are considered more serious than others. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), crimes classified as “aggravated felonies” or “crimes of moral turpitude” will have the greatest impact on immigration status.
Some examples of these crimes may include:
- Drug trafficking
- Violent crimes with sentences of at least one year in prison
- Simple assault
- Breaking and entering
How can I avoid deportation?
Non-citizens that are convicted of certain crimes may be removed from this country and returned to their last country of residence. If you are convicted of an aggravated felony, you may also face additional consequences, as in getting permanently banned from entering the U.S. or becoming permanently ineligible for U.S. citizenship.
If you are a lawful permanent resident at risk for deportation, you will likely be sent a notice to appear at a hearing in immigration court. During your hearing, the judge will review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and conviction and determine whether to issue an order of removal. An attorney specializing in immigration law will advocate for you to remain in the United States and find realistic solutions tailored to your specific situation.