For non-citizens residing in Kentucky, comprehending how certain offenses might affect their immigration status is crucial. Deportable offenses cover various criminal violations that can trigger removal proceedings against an individual by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

From minor infractions to more serious crimes, understanding which acts place your ability to remain in the country at risk will help you navigate potential legal challenges proactively.

Defining Deportable Offenses

Deportable offenses are those that can result in the deportation of non-citizens. The criteria for what constitutes a deportable offense can be complex and can vary from federal offenses to state crimes. For individuals residing in Kentucky, this means understanding that although they are subject to state jurisdiction when it comes to the legal system, their actions can still invoke the consequences of federal immigration law. 

Some of the most common deportable offenses fall under the following categories:

Aggravated Felonies

In the context of immigration law, aggravated felonies represent a category of crimes that carry severe consequences for non-citizens. Originally limited in scope, the definition has expansively grown over the years to include a wide range of offenses, from murder, rape, and drug crimes to seemingly lesser crimes like theft or failure to appear in court. 

Conviction of an aggravated felony can lead to some of the harshest penalties in immigration law, including deportation without the possibility of re-entry or relief from removal. 

Additionally, individuals convicted of aggravated felonies are barred from accessing most forms of legal immigration status and relief, underscoring the critical need for competent legal defense when facing charges that could be classified within this category.

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude 

Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) are another category of offenses with significant implications for immigration status and proceedings. These offenses are characterized by conduct that gravely violates the community’s standards of justice, honesty, or good morals. 

Examples of CIMTs include: 

Like aggravated felonies, convictions for crimes involving moral turpitude can severely impact a non-citizen’s ability to enter or remain in the United States. They can affect eligibility for visas, green cards, and naturalization and even lead to deportation. 

Given the broad and somewhat subjective definition of moral turpitude, legal counsel is essential to interpret and contest any charges that fall into this category. 

Defending Against Deportable Offenses

Defending against deportable offenses requires a strategic approach and a knowledgeable legal advocate who understands the complexities of immigration and criminal law. The following are some strategies to defend against these offenses: 

Work With a Lawyer Experienced in Criminal Defense and Immigration Law

Working with an attorney experienced in both criminal and immigration law is crucial for non-citizens who find themselves facing legal challenges. These attorneys possess a unique set of skills that enable them to understand the intricacies of both legal fields, allowing them to develop strategies that consider both the immediate legal circumstances and the long-term immigration consequences. 

Their expertise can guide clients through the complex landscape of overlapping laws, ensuring that decisions made in the criminal justice system do not inadvertently jeopardize their immigration status. 

Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining may present an opportunity to avoid deportation for non-citizens facing criminal charges. This can be done by potentially pleading guilty to a lesser or different crime that doesn’t carry the risk of removal. However, this will heavily depend on prosecution’s agreeableness and requires careful negotiation to ensure specific language or elements triggering deportation are excluded from any plea deal.

Stay Informed

Staying informed about your immigration status and the possible consequences of the criminal charges you’re facing is essential. Do not plead guilty or proceed to trial without a clear understanding of how such decisions could impact your ability to remain in the United States.

Knowing all available legal defenses, as well as potential impacts on immigration status, will ensure that any decision made is informed and strategic. 

If you’re facing charges that may impact your immigration status, it’s crucial to act swiftly and get informed legal advice. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a Lexington criminal defense lawyer.

A Kentucky Criminal Defense Attorney At Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help You Avoid Immigration Consequences

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers. Give us a call today at (859) 569-4014 or visit us at our Lexington law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507