Criminal Convictions

What is a “Conviction” under Immigration Law?

  • A Guilty plea in addition to a court-ordered restraint on liberty is a conviction
  • “Nolo contendere” or “no contest” plea in addition to a court-imposed restraint or punishment on your liberty is a conviction
  • Foreign convictions
  • Expungements do not erase convictions under immigration law
  • Probation before judgment (PBJ) is a conviction

What You Should Know About Convictions

  • A “suspended sentence” is considered “imprisonment”
  • A sentence for “probation,” without a suspension of a sentence, may not be considered “confinement or imprisonment”
  • A term of imprisonment of 365 days is considered one year and is an aggravated felony
  • Some states require the court to advise the defendant of the immigration consequences before pleading, and if the defendant is not advised of these consequences, the conviction may be vacated (e.g. District of Columbia and Maryland)
  • Your attorney must advise you of immigration consequences of the plea
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel where your attorney provided false or misleading information regarding deportation consequences of a plea may be overturned

Our attorneys conduct in-person consultations to assist clients with the following:

  • Determine the appropriate immigration petition(s) to file
  • Represent clients by filing the Writ of Coram Nobis (to correct a legal or factual error)
  • Represent clients by filing the Writ of Audita Querela (where judgment and its consequences would be unjust)
  • File a Habeas petition in federal court attacking the state or federal conviction
  • File a Motion to Withdraw Plea or a Motion to Correct or Reduce Sentence

Do you have questions about your immigration status?

Contact us today to learn more with our attorneys.

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