A non-U.S. citizen that has been charged with a crime should immediately seek advice from a criminal attorney that has thorough knowledge of immigration law. Because not all criminal defense attorneys are familiar with the specific immigration consequences of criminal charges, it is important for the accused to also seek competent immigration advice.
Here at the Stilianopoulos Law Office, our experience in both these fields will be of great help to a defendant who is in this situation. If hired on a criminal case we will strive to provide effective representation for clients who are facing charges that may result in immigration consequences and will do our best to obtain a satisfactory result.
Also, if a defendant has already hired a criminal defense attorney, the Stilianopoulos Law Office can advise the defendant’s attorney as to any immigration consequences that may arise from any plea that may seem acceptable at first glance. We can also help the defendant’s criminal defense attorney seek ways to eliminate these consequences by suggesting alternate pleas that may not result in deportation of the accused from the United States.
It is important to know that removable offenses are offenses that are considered “Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude” or “Aggravated Felonies” under Federal and Immigration Law. Aggravated Felonies and Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude are terms defined by statutory and case law and the definitions are always changing. Sometimes a criminal conviction may not be considered a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude or Aggravated Felony but can still have immigration consequences on an individual’s eligibility for certain immigration benefits. An example of this is eligibility for Temporary Protected Status or whether an individual is qualified to become a United States Citizen via naturalization.
The US Supreme Court most recently ruled in Padilla vs. Kentucky that a criminal defense attorney has an obligation to correctly advise his or her clients of the immigration consequences of their plea. If a Defendant can prove to a court of law that their criminal defense attorney failed to live up to his or her obligations under Padilla vs. Kentucky, then the convicted Defendant may have an opportunity to file a Post-Conviction Motion in the Florida courts to vacate that criminal conviction resulting from the misadvice of the attorney. Here at the Stilianopoulos Law Office, we can assist those who may be eligible for a Post-Conviction Motion under Padilla vs. Kentucky.