How to Avoid Deportation When You Have A Criminal Case
1. Written opinion letter - THE CRIMINAL CASE HAS FIRST PRIORITY. Not all criminal defense lawyers carefully study the impact of criminal law on your immigration status. Don't wait until it is too late! The reason some lawyers accidentally cause deportation is that immigration law can be complicated. Mr. McColl takes the approach that a criminal lawyer must first confer with an immigration lawyer and get a written opinion letter from a Board-certified immigration lawyer as to what the impact of the specific criminal case disposition will be on the immigration status of the alien.
2. Find offenses that are not CIMT's - A "CIMT" is a crime involving moral turpitude. Crimes involving moral turpitude are the type of crimes that can cause an alien to be deported or removed from the United States. Recently, for example, an immigration lawyer referred Mr. McColl a case where the man was charged with three counts in federal court of smuggling guns into Mexico. The man's prior attorney told him he was "definitely going to be deported;" the immigration lawyer said that deportation was likely with a conviction for that pending offense. However, Mr. McColl kept digging into the criminal law and found a closely related crime which would not cause deportation. A criminal lawyer must be creative and find offenses that are not crimes involving moral turpitude or "CIMT's" as they are known in the immigration field, to avoid deportation.
3. A "misdemeanor" may be a felony - A "felony" for purposes of immigration law may be a misdemeanor under Texas or federal criminal laws. It is often confusing that the same crime can be both a felony and a misdemeanor. Many criminal defense lawyers do not realize that a misdemeanor can be treated as a felony under federal immigration laws, based also on the length of the sentence, including the length of the probationary period. Mr. McColl has been hired to get a criminal conviction set aside and then, once it has been set aside, to help an immigration lawyer obtain a federal court order to stop an airplane from deporting an alien.
4. Turn lemons into lemonade - Often the potentially adverse impact of the immigration law can be used by an imaginative and resourceful criminal defense lawyer to put pressure on the prosecutor during negotiations to lower the offense or to change it to something that will not trigger deportation. For that negotiation strategy to be successful, however, Mr. McColl finds that it is absolutely essential, as noted above, to get a written opinion letter from a Board-certified immigration lawyer. Otherwise, the prosecutor may have difficulty accepting the adverse effect in immigration law based simply on the oral statement of the criminal defense lawyer. THE CRIMINAL CASE HAS FIRST PRIORITY FOR THESE OBVIOUS LEGAL REASONS!