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How Criminal Charges Impact Austin Residents Who Are In the Country Legally

Judge's gavelThis is the next post in our series on how being charged with a crime impacts immigrants in Austin, Texas. My last post analyzed how a criminal conviction impacts a local resident seeking legal status. For the reasons I discussed in that article, it is crucial that you retain counsel in the criminal case who also understands immigration law. In this article I will discuss how being charged with a crime impacts immigrants who are in the country, legally, via a green card.

Lawful Austin residents face serious immigration consequences if they are arrested for particular types of crimes. If one is arrested for a “crime of moral turpitude” within five years of the time that they entered the Country then they can expect to face deportation proceedings. Examples of crimes of moral turpitude include:

  • Aggravated offenses
  • Violent crimes
  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse
  • Many types of sexual offenses
  • Theft
  • Fraud
  • Conspiracy

It is important to note that green card holders face serious consequences if convicted for one of these offenses. A simple arrest, typically will not cause an issue.

Austin residents facing the revocation of their green card, and deportation, may be eligible to stay in the United States by applying for the cancellation of removal proceedings. An immigration Judge will have the discretion to allow one to remain the U.S. if a) they can meet an exception to the requirement of deportation after a conviction and b) the Judge finds that allowing the individual to stay in the U.S. would be appropriate.

There are exceptions to the requirement that one have their green card revoked after being convicted for a crime of moral turpitude. The most common of these exceptions are is the one for “petty offenders.” One may be eligible for the petty offender exception if they have only been convicted of one crime of moral turpitude, the crime for which the convicted did not have a maximum sentence of more than one year, and if they were not actually sentenced to more than six months of imprisonment.

Assuming you meet the petty offender exception, the decision as to whether or not you remain in the United States will be within the discretion of the immigration judge. This means that you need to make the best argument possible that you do not pose any type of future threat, that you are unlikely to re-offend, and that you can be a productive member of the community going forward. Hiring a qualified immigration lawyer can be key. Counsel can help you present a coherent argument regarding your employment, your standing in the community, etc. Speaking with an attorney sooner, rather than later, may make the difference in your case’s outcome.

Our attorneys assist Austin immigrants, as well as others in Travis County, with cancellation of removal proceedings. If you are a Texas resident with a green card, and have been charged with a crime of moral turpitude, then contact our office today.

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