What Are Aggravated Felonies And Crimes Of Moral Turpitude?
An aggravated felony is a term of art that is used in the immigration law, and it encompasses an extremely broad category of criminal offenses. This list seems to keep growing as time passes on. It’s not getting any shorter. The consequence of being convicted of, or pleading guilty to, an aggravated felony is deportation. There is no relief for an aggravated felony. Typically, these crimes are drug trafficking, possession of large amounts of drugs, and murder. Some are very serious crimes, but then there are some crimes on that list that are not serious, such as misdemeanors. The term Aggravated Felony is a misnomer, because when we think of felony in New York, we think of a crime where the defendant can be sentenced to one or more years in prison. That’s a felony under New York state law.
Under immigration law, aggravated felonies are not only necessarily felonies, but could be misdemeanors. The term aggravated felony encompasses certain crimes that carry severe consequences, including deportation. There is another category of offenses which are called Moral Turpitude. Moral Turpitudes are crimes that would subject the immigrant to certain consequences, but they are usually not as severe as an aggravated felony, and deportation can be avoided. The reason that it can be avoided is because there are various waivers for certain moral turpitude crimes that can be applied to the immigration court, by the attorney. Moral turpitude crimes are mainly crimes that involve not telling the truth.
Fraud is an aggravated felony. For example, many people come to my office for having fake documents or having a fake driver’s license, and they think it’s not a big thing. But if you’re an immigrant or if you have a green card and you’ve been convicted of that, that’s a crime of moral turpitude, and it could subject you to deportation. People have to be careful if they are arrested. They have to find out and they can come to our offices, and we can give them a consultation to see if the particular crime they’ve been arrested for is either an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude. Maybe their crime is neither, but still they would need to know if there is a plea deal. We would advise them as to what to plead guilty to and what not to plead guilty to.
Can Someone Be Deported Just For Being Charged Or Should They Be Convicted First?
Someone can be deported just for being charged with a crime. Under immigration law, the government has the authority called Searching the Record. They can, for example, use any statement in a criminal hearing against that person, and base the deportation charges on factors or on statements that are not even related to the criminal complaint. They could face deportation, or they could face charges for other factors and other facts that are not contained in the complaint or not contained in the plea. That’s called Searching the Record. You have to have an experienced criminal attorney that is versed in “Crimmigration” to really defend you properly and to avoid deportation. A conviction does not necessarily have to take place, though it’s extremely rare and most deportations are based on a conviction. But there is case law and there have been cases where people have been deported on simply charges, or other factors, other statements, or other events.
Should An Immigrant Be Concerned If They Are Charged With Shoplifting?
Even a minor offense such as shoplifting—even if you go in a store, and you take a piece of gum and you get caught—can result in deportation. Immigration doesn’t care. That’s still considered a crime of moral turpitude, just by the action of someone taking something from a store that doesn’t belong to them. Even that simple act is a crime of moral turpitude, and you should be extremely concerned about that. Our Westchester county criminal defense attorneys have significant experience in aggressively defending these cases, and can often work out a disposition that does not result in a conviction of a crime of moral turpitude.
At What Point Can An Immigrant Charged With A Crime Obtain Legal Counsel?
An immigrant charged with a crime can obtain legal counsel at any point in the criminal proceeding. They can retain an attorney at the police station. Whether or not they have been arrested and they’re going to be questioned, the United States has the right to counsel law. Every person charged with the crime has the right to an attorney, whether it is a legal aid attorney or a retained attorney. At any point in the criminal procedure, the person is entitled to an attorney. I would advise that if you are an immigrant and you are facing charges, that you retain an attorney at our office as soon as possible, as soon as you’re arrested or even before you’re arrested. We can go with you to the station house if police want to question you.
Get Information on Aggravated Felonies & Crimes Of Moral Turpitude or call the Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (914) 574-8330 and get the legal answers you are seeking