Criminal Convictions and Immigration Consequences in New York
New York is a melting pot of races and nationalities and is the home to many people from different countries, including United States citizens and noncitizens. When someone applies to become a citizen in New York, they will be asked whether they have ever been convicted of a criminal offense in the United States.
A criminal conviction for a felony or even a misdemeanor could negatively impact your application status and even lead to deportation or removal from the United States. If you are a noncitizen in the United States and are currently charged with a criminal offense, it is imperative to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in New York.
Queens Immigration Criminal Attorney
Contact the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner if you are a U.S. noncitizen and have been charged with a criminal offense in Queens or New York City. Rochelle S. Berliner is dedicated to fighting the charges against you, and will make every effort to help you avoid deportation or loss of the ability to become a U.S. citizen.
Call the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner at 718-261-5600 for a consultation about your alleged criminal offense.
Disclosing a Criminal Arrest, Conviction or Record
When a person applies for a green card, to become a naturalized citizen in New York, or for some other immigration benefit in the United States, they will have to answer questions regarding arrests and criminal convictions in New York.
Even if a person thinks they should not disclose their arrest or conviction, or if their criminal record was sealed, they should still reveal they have previously been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be able to gain access to this information, regardless if the offense was sealed.
If a person does not disclose this information and the USCIS has access to the prior criminal record, the applicant will be viewed as dishonest and untruthful. Proof of good moral character is a requirement when applying to become a lawful permanent resident or a naturalized citizen. Further, a conviction for certain crimes involving fraud, deceit or moral turpitude can prevent an applicant from becoming a lawful permanent resident or naturalized citizen.
New York’s Laws Regarding Immigration and Criminal Charges
Noncitizens in the United States, including legal aliens, lawful permanent residents, nonimmigrant visa holders and illegal aliens can be removed from the county, deported or denied naturalizing as a U.S. citizen if they are convicted of an aggravated felony. Criminal charges in New York that may be considered aggravated felonies under federal law can include many types of criminal charges. How the term is classified under state law does not define how it is classified under federal law. Therefore, a common misdemeanor or felony in New York may be considered an “aggravated felony” under immigration laws due to the sentence imposed or the type of crime committed. The Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1101[a]) defines what constitutes an aggravated felony for immigration purposes. These crimes can include, but are not limited to:
- Domestic Violence
- Sex Crimes
- Child Abuse
- Trafficking Controlled Substances
- Possession of Controlled Substances
- Firearm Offenses
- White Collar Crimes involving fraud or deceit
- Violent Crimes, with a minimum sentence of imprisonment for one year
- Theft Crimes, with a minimum sentence of imprisonment for one year
If you have been charged with any of these types of offenses in New York and are an alien in the United States, it is possible you will be deported or removed from the country upon conviction. If you have no lawful status in the United States, you could even be deported before the pending criminal case is resolved. A criminal defense attorney will help you in your situation and assist you in understanding your charges and possible repercussions to your alleged offense.
New York State Penalties for Immigrant Criminal Convictions
If a noncitizen has been convicted of an aggravated felony, they can face deportation or removal, which could bar them from entering the United States permanently, regardless if they have family or relatives here. Whether a person will be deported or removed often depends on the date when they were convicted, the jurisdiction where the person lives and whether they are a lawful permanent resident.
- Deportation or Removal – If an alien has been identified as committing a deportable offense, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will issue a Notice to Appear. An alien who has received this notice will be entitled to a hearing with an immigration judge. The judge will then make a decision to either deport the noncitizen after they have served their sentence or their criminal proceeding has ended, or if they are eligible for some form of relief.
- Refusal of Naturalization – In order to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, the applicant must apply and satisfy certain eligibility requirements. A requirement of naturalization is that the applicant show good moral character. Certain criminal offenses can demonstrate lack of good moral character.
- Refusal to Become a Lawful Permanent Resident – a person who is a lawful permanent resident is someone who has been granted permission by the United States to live and work in the United States for an indefinite period of time. A person must be a lawful permanent resident before they can become a United States citizen.
Effects of the Padilla Case on Alien Criminal Proceedings
In Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473, the United States Supreme Court held that a noncitizen defendant’s constitutional right to counsel includes the right to have an attorney who knows about and informs the defendant of potential consequences that may affect their immigration status if convicted.
This right is afforded to all noncitizens, including legal aliens, lawful permanent residents, nonimmigrant visa holders and illegal aliens.
Defense attorneys now have an obligation to inform their clients of possible consequences that can affect immigration status for pleading guilty to criminal offenses, or being convicted of a criminal offense in New York. These consequences include mandatory and possible deportation and the mandatory or possible refusal to become a naturalized citizen.
Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner | Queens Immigration Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are a noncitizen in the United States and have been charged with a criminal offense in any of the boroughs of New York City, including Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan, or in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, call the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner at 718-261-5600.
Rochelle S. Berliner is an experienced Queens criminal defense attorney and is dedicated to helping you find the best possible outcome for your particular situation. Contact the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner today for a consultation about your alleged criminal offense In New York.
Rochelle Berliner grew up in Queens, NY. She started New York Law School in January 1989 and graduated in June 1991. Immediately after law school, she started working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she stayed for approximately 14 years...
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