Learning the laws in a new country can be a challenge. The United States is notorious for having many laws at the state and federal level that most people don’t even know about. Both citizens and immigrants could break the law without intending to do so.
As an immigrant, your right to stay in the country largely depends on your compliance with the law and ability to pass a background check. If you are convicted of certain criminal offenses, you may not be able to renew your visa. Other times, you could face deportation. When does a criminal charge affect your immigration status?
Some offenses have more serious consequences
Minor charges likely won’t have a bearing on immigration proceedings. You won’t face deportation over a parking ticket or other minor offense. However, even misdemeanors can impact your status.
Federal immigration laws do not include a list of crimes that immediately affect immigration rights. Instead, the law establishes a standard for judges to interpret. Any offense that a judge believes constitutes a crime of moral turpitude could affect your immigration status.
A crime of moral turpitude is an offense that goes against the basic moral standards of a society. Violent crimes, offenses against children and drug crimes could all constitute crimes of moral turpitude, depending on the judge.
Other times that criminal offenses can affect your status
You could also find yourself facing deportation for multiple charges or convictions in unrelated matters can increase deportation risk, as can a conviction with an aggravated felony.
Any immigrant facing a criminal charge will likely be worried about their future. Good legal advice and guidance through the criminal courts and the immigration fallout of a charge can help protect immigrants at risk of losing their right to stay in the United States.