When we talk about crimes that trigger immigration consequences, there are really two classes. One is crimes that will cause you to be deported or removed from the United States, and the other is what we call inadmissible crimes.
An inadmissible crime will not necessarily get you deported, but if you leave the United States it will prevent you from being readmitted. It will prevent you from adjusting your status, and it will prevent you from naturalizing to the United States, or becoming a citizen. Really, there are four categories of inadmissible crimes.
- The first are crimes involving moral turpitude.
- The second is drug crimes, any sort of drug conviction will make you inadmissible.
- The third is multiple convictions where the aggregate sentence is five years or more.
- And the fourth is evidence that you engaged in prostitution, drug trafficking, or that you are a drug addict.
Keep in mind that with regard to prostitution, drug trafficking, and drug addiction, you could be made inadmissible even if there is no conviction, just based on evidence.
The upshot is if you are accused of a crime that would make you inadmissible, you want to get an attorney who understands not only the criminal law, but understands immigration law as well. Often it is possible to resolve your case where, we not only keep you out of jail and get you a good result in court, but that we avoid putting you in a situation where you will face immigration consequences later.
Even if you’ve been convicted already of an inadmissible crime, it is often possible to get you some sort of post conviction relief where we can negate the conviction and make you admissible to the United States and allow you, and ultimately, to naturalize and become a citizen.