Immigration Consequences of New Jersey Crimes

     Non-citizens are subject to greater consequences when charged with crimes.  Even relatively minor crimes can result in deportation.  As a result, it is even more urgent that non-citizens contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if charged for any crime.

The following are very basic and general guidelines as to how the U.S. immigration laws may affect someone convicted of a crime.  This is not a complete list, and does not represent legal advise.  Immigration law is a very specialized area of law and for more information, we suggest you contact a Immigration Lawyer.  

These guidelines may be subject to change per President Trump’s executive orders.  The full consequences of his actions have not been realized yet and are hard to foresee.  Overall it does put non-citizens in a precarious position if they are charged with a crime.  Some crimes which would not trigger removal procedings prior to President Trump, may subject defendants to deportation.  It is more important than ever to have a proper defense if you are a non-citizen charged with a crime.

The two most common ways non-citizens are deported or held inadmissible (meaning you are not deported but cannot return to the U.S. if you travel abroad) is if they convicted of two or more crimes involving ‘moral turpitude’ or a single aggravated felony.

What is a Crime of Moral Turpitude?

There is no actual definition for a crime of moral turpitude.  It is however exactly as it says, a crime that implicates the morality of the perpetrator.  These crimes usually involve low level fraud, property crimes, drug possession, and crimes against the government.  These crimes must also not be punishable for more than 1 year.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude:

If you have been charged with a Crime of Moral Turpitude (CMT), you may qualify for an exception to removal or inadmissibility proceedings.

1.  The CMT was committed in a purely political context.  

2.  The offender was minor at the time of the crime.  This is known as the youthful offender exception.  An additional requirement for this exception is that more than 5 years has past since the commission of the crime, or since release from incarceration, whichever is later.

3.  The offense was a Petty Offense.  This generally means there was only ONE CMT committed.  The petty offense exception also means that the offense charged did not carry more than a 1 year maximum penalty and that the offender was not actually sentenced to more than 6 months in jail.  If you are not a citizen and have been charged with a crime, it is important to be represented by an expereicned criminal defense attorney to either have the case dropped or fit into this exception.

If you are unsure if the crime committed or alleged is a crime of moral turpitude, please see here.  This is just a general guideline, only an Experienced Immigration Attorney can tell you for sure.

If you have already been deemed inadmissible, you may obtain a waiver, by filling out I-601 Waiver.  These are extremely difficult to obtain and you should hire an attorney to increase your chances of success.  For more information on the new waiver program please see here.

What is an Aggravated Felony?

There are a large range of aggravated felonies.  Generally, many crimes which are punishable with over a year in jail are considered aggravated felonies but the U.S. Government.  These include:

  • Most Violent Offenses.
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Large Money Crimes - Theft, Money Laundering, Fraud, Etc.

While there are many other aggravated felonies, the above three are the most common.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

I was under 18 years old at the time of the crime, what happens?

Generally, New Jersey Juveniles are safe from the immigration consequences of being convicted of a crime.  Under most cases, minors are charged not under the penal / criminal code, but for Juvenile Delinquency.  Juvenile Delinquency in NJ can surprisingly (but rarely) result in greater penalties than the predicate offense, being deported is not as large a concern.  

What is the difference between inadmissible and removable?

If you are deemed inadmissible rather than removable, you will not be forcibly deported.  Rather if you ever leave the country, you will not be allowed to re-enter.  

Will I be deported after a DWI?

Generally, for first offenses, most people will be safe from immigration consequences of aNJ DUI.  If there are aggravating factors or other charges, you will need to speak to your DUI Defense Attorney directly to discuss the matter.

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