The Double Whammy – by William Fay
Immigration law and Criminal law make for a dangerous mix. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, and you find yourself at the business end of a criminal matter – then it needs to be treated as if your ability to remain in the U.S. is at stake throughout the entire process – it really might be.
When you have both criminal and immigration problems, you often end up (as you usually should) with two lawyers – an immigration lawyer and a criminal lawyer. It is essential that these two lawyers communicate effectively with one another – and that neither lawyer is off making moves in your interest without having consulted the other.
Every decision in the criminal case, from whether to post a bond to whether to ultimately take that plea bargain – needs to be analyzed by your immigration attorney. Tactics that make perfect sense for a U.S. Citizen defendant may be one of the worst things you can do from an immigration standpoint. Here is how serious this is: Even if your criminal attorney gets your case dismissed and expunged – doing so in a manner that involves an admission of guilt on your part can result in your eventual deportation.
We speak with clients every day who find their immigration status in jeopardy – thanks to some mistake that they (or their lawyer) made even decades ago.
If you or someone you know is not a U.S. Citizen (regardless of what other legal status you or they may have) – then understand that even seemingly light criminal charges can be life altering. Make sure that any criminal attorney you hire knows your immigration status – don’t spring it on him or her – get that out there early in the process. Make sure that your criminal attorney and your immigration attorney communicate with each other – early in the process. Understand that the stakes are high and that timing can be essential. Lawyer up well. Contacting us would be a really good start.