Los Angeles Federal Immigration Crime Lawyers
An immigration crime could be a violation of federal law, such as illegal entry into the USA, or a conviction that will trigger intervention from ICE, and a deportation action. If you do not have legal status in the USA or are legally in the USA with a green card, and caught in the criminal justice system, it takes special knowledge to navigate the state and federal legal systems.
- Crimes of Moral Turpitude: “Moral turpitude” refers to wicked, immoral, unethical behavior that is a shocking departure from the usual standards of the culture. Crimes of moral turpitude include fraud, larceny, or the attempt to harm a person or things. A criminal accusation may be filed as misdemeanor, and if so, may escape the designation of being a crime of moral turpitude, such as shoplifting, DUI (without damage to property or people), or simple assault.
- Aggravated Felonies: Crimes such as rape, murder, drug trafficking, firearm trafficking, child sexual abuse, child pornography, money laundering, fraud, espionage, sabotage, treason, and some other felonies will usually lead to an effort by the immigration authorities to deport the individual.
- Felonies: Felony crimes such as drug offenses, illegal possession of firearms, stalking, domestic violence, child abuse, terrorist activity, or human trafficking may lead to deportation.
If you have legal status in the USA and a green card, you are not exempt from deportation if convicted of some offenses. Only U.S. citizens cannot be deported. Even a U.S. citizen could be subject to deportation if it can be proven that any act of fraud was committed when they applied for a green card or U.S. citizenship. If you violated the terms of your green card, work or visitor’s visa, or legal immigration status, the risk of deportation is high.
- Fraud: If you are charged with fraud and are a citizen, the penalties imposed will reflect the financial damage of the fraudulent act. Common fraud charges include mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, bank fraud, credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, securities fraud, healthcare fraud, and bankruptcy fraud. Depending on the facts in the case, this crime (for a citizen) could be as high as $1,000,000 in fines, and prison time for up to 30 years. If you are not a citizen of the USA, after serving your time, you can expect to be deported.
- Drug Crimes: Drug crimes that involve larger quantities of a controlled substance carry heavy penalties, even for citizens of the USA. When an undocumented person is accused of being involved in such a crime, ICE will get involved, detain you, and initiate deportation. Drug trafficking is an aggravated felony under U.S. immigration law.
- Crimes of Violence: A conviction for a domestic violence crime, rape, child abuse, stalking, neglect, abandonment, or violation of a stay-away order, a weapons offense, or any other crime of violence will typically trigger deportation proceedings.
If you are arrested and charged with an offense for which you will be deported, the first and most urgent step is to defend yourself in court, with the help of a skilled trial lawyer. A non-citizen who is caught in the criminal justice system, if convicted, will face consequences beyond fines and prison time, including banishment from the USA and separation from family will follow. A conviction for certain offenses will have the added penalty of becoming “inadmissible,” and no longer able to enter the USA, cannot apply for legal immigration status, or citizenship. The defense strategy employed could be:
- Negotiations with the prosecuting attorney to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor.
- Raising reasonable doubt at trial that committed the offense.
- Post-conviction relief actions, such as filing a motion to vacate a conviction.
- Resentencing under Prop 64 (marijuana legalization in California).
Any person charged with an offense that will lead to deportation needs a criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with both the state and federal justice systems. If you plead “guilty,” or “no contest,” you can expect to be deported. At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, our team of criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles has a breadth of experience in state criminal court and federal immigration court.
Contact us at (213) 688-0460 immediately if you are charged with a crime that could affect your legal status in the USA.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.