Even if you already have a conviction, there may be ways to eliminate the sting of that conviction for immigration purposes. Post-conviction relief refers to a general category of types of motions and pleadings that may be filed with the criminal court to overturn your prior conviction. Typical types of post-conviction including; motions to vacate the conviction from your record (eliminating it entirely) because you did not receive proper deportation or immigration consequence warnings from the criminal judge or you were given the wrong advise by your public defender and would not have pled to the crime if you had received accurate advise. For a conviction to be vacated, in most instances, there must be a technical error in the proceedings or a due process violation indicating that you should have never been convicted. It may also be possible to get a sentence reduced so the way the crime is defined for purposes of immigration law changes (a crime may not be a crime of violence or aggravated felony with a lesser sentence, for instance). These can be difficult cases to win but often, post-conviction relief – a sub-specialty area among criminal and immigration attorneys, is your only choice to avoid being deported as crimes can have serious consequences on immigration status. Expungements and relief vacating the conviction based on good behavior generally do not count for immigration purposes.
Don’t know where to start? If you have already been convicted, SGG attorneys will review the complaint and sentencing documents advise you of the impact your conviction may have on your current status and on any U.S. immigration benefit you could be eligible for. We can advise you on how and where to access the criminal records from your case and can even assist you in requesting them from the relevant criminal court. Most importantly, we can strategize with you or if you are represented – your criminal attorney – and advise you of the defense strategies available to you even after a conviction and how if successful, these strategies could help your immigration case. Already in removal proceedings? We’ll be there with you and fight for you against ICE trial counsel and making them prove their case and especially for permanent residents, keeping them to their burden.
The intersection between criminal and immigration law is very complicated. Travel outside of the U.S. may be very dangerous to your immigration case if you have ever been convicted of a crime. Contact us today to analyze the implications of your criminal history and for our recommendations going forward.