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Anyone charged with a crime has enough to worry about. However, for those that not only face criminal charges but also negative immigration consequences, the worry multiplies. This is why the Supreme Court now requires criminal defense attorneys to also advise clients of potential immigration concerns as part of an effective representation in a criminal case.
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There are many charges that many would naturally presume would trigger negative immigration consequences. Violent offenses such as murder, kidnapping and sexual assault seem relatively logical. However, there are many less serious offenses that can trigger negative immigration consequences, and this does not necessarily mean deportation. In certain circumstances though, the negative consequences can mean an individual is unable to re-enter the United States or is unable to obtain or retain legal status.
For a criminal defense attorney, immigration consequences add another layer of complication that must be considered during all aspects of a case. And often times, the concerns for an individual facing deportation or other negative immigration consequences far outweigh the worries of a criminal conviction. And it is not uncommon for what would be deemed a win in the criminal defense arena to be more detrimental to an individual facing negative immigration consequences.
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A good example of this is a DUI charge. For an individual charged with a DUI, a favorable negotiation in the criminal world would include an amendment to a reckless driving at the conclusion of the case. However, if that same individual also had immigration concerns, a reckless driving could potentially trigger more negative immigration consequences than a DUI conviction because a reckless driving is considered a crime of moral turpitude. For most criminal defense attorneys, allowing a DUI conviction to stand over a reckless driving would seem counter intuitive. However, in certain circumstances, that is exactly what may need to be done.
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