Warnken, LLC Attorneys at Law, Attorneys & Lawyers, Pikesville, MD

Will I Get Deported?

If I am not a United States citizen, but I am lawfully in the United States, and I am arrested for a crime, charged with a crime, plead guilty to a crime, or convicted of a crime, can I be deported?  It’s a question we get asked.  It’s a question we wish we were asked more because the question we get asked instead is, “I’m about to get deported, what do I do now?”

Just an arrest or just a charge is unlikely to have negative consequences.  The real issue is a conviction and a sentence.

Although the law is fairly complicated, generally speaking, you can be deported if you are convicted of a crime for which you are sentenced to one year or more.  This includes conspiracy to commit a crime and an attempt to commit a crime.  You will definitely be slated to be deported if I are found guilty and sentenced for an aggravated felony.  You can be deported if you are convicted of a drug offense.  You can be deported if you are convicted of a weapons offense.  You can be deported if you are convicted of domestic violence, stalking, or child abuse, or if you violate a protective order.  You can be deported if you are convicted of fraud.

In Maryland, if you are charged with a crime, and the charges are dismissed, you will not be deported.  If you are charged with a crime, and I receive probation before judgment (PBJ), that is not considered a conviction under Maryland law, but it is considered a conviction for purposes of immigration law. Thus, a PBJ for any of these offenses can get me deported.

Ultimately, the above are fairly broad answers and really shouldn’t be used for any particular situation.  They are meant as a general guide.  If you are not a United States citizen and you have been charged with a crime, speaking to an experienced criminal lawyer in your state with knowledge of immigration consequences is absolutely vital.  It can mean the difference between remaining in the United States and being deported.  You certainly don’t want to do what many have to – try to undo a conviction that’s already been done.

If you are not a United States citizen and you have been charged with a crime, start with the assumption you can be deported and work backwards from there.  Do not plead guilty to a crime without knowing, concretely, your immigration consequences.