Impacts of Criminal Charges on Immigration Status

North Carolina has a rich diversity. We are a multi-cultural community, thanks in part to educational and employment opportunities that attract the brightest minds and hardest workers from international geographies. When it comes to immigration status in North Carolina, some people are here on green cards, others are on visas, while some are undocumented.

Most people don’t plan to intentionally break the law. Often, crimes are committed without knowing that an activity is illegal, without awareness of consequences, or out of desperation. The consequences of a criminal charge to anyone can be severe, but this is especially true if a defendant is not a US citizen.

While any criminal matter can impact immigration status, certain charges have a greater impact than others. Certain convictions can result in the revocation of a green card or visa. In some cases, deportation is a possibility. Especially in situations where a defendant has family in the United States, one of the largest concerns is a lifetime ban from returning to the US.

If you are a non-US citizen and you have been charged with a crime, it is critical that you seek the help of an attorney that not only has experience with criminal law, but someone who specifically understands the immigration impacts of your charges. At The Chetson Firm, we routinely help international clients that are in North Carolina for school or employment with various immigration statuses. We understand how the system works and how it needs to be navigated to attempt to preserve your ability to maintain, renew, and convert your immigration status.

From a numbers perspective, the most common charges that our firm tends to represent international clients on are charges related to larceny, DWI, and drug charges. While some of these cases are charged at the misdemeanor level, many are felonies, creating a far greater risk and impact in terms of immigration status.  For some types of cases, a US citizen would be able to easily resolve their cases with a first offender’s program or deferred prosecution agreement. These programs usually require statements of guilt to be written and placed in the court file until the program is completed. This is a non issue for a US citizen but for a non-citizen, it is a great concern because this is a document that can potentially be discovered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and could negatively impact a defendant’s ability to maintain or renew a visa or green card. For an undocumented immigrant, it could lead to deportation. For this reason, an experienced Raleigh criminal attorney who routinely deals with immigration issues needs to address the case, understanding the potential risks and impacts to an international client.

If you are a non-US citizen that has been charged with a crime in North Carolina, contact a Raleigh criminal defense attorney at The Chetson Firm for a free consultation.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.