By retaining both an immigration attorney and a criminal defense attorney to work on your case, your skilled counsel will be able to work alongside one another to obtain your best outcome. Your immigration lawyer will be able to inform your criminal defense attorney of any possible immigration consequences that may arise, and how to venture around that result.
Together, your attorneys can assess your best case strategy in both the criminal and immigration context: your attorneys will want to plea bargain or negotiate with the prosecutor’s office to either lessen the criminal charge or drop the criminal offense. As previously mentioned, if convicted, crimes with a higher degree of severity or seriousness involved are likely going to lead to removal proceedings. By having your experienced counsel bargain with the prosecutor to lessen the offense, the crime can fall out of the scope of deportable offenses. Another strategy is to get your criminal charges dropped, which takes a lot of skill and knowledge of the law to be successful. In order to do so, your attorneys must present a persuasive legal argument to mount a strong defense. Remember, no conviction, no grounds for deportation!
One important strategy is to negotiate a lesser sentence of jail time in order to avoid the risk of removal. Conviction of a crime where a sentence of 1 year or more of incarceration may be imposed is a ground to initiate deportation proceedings. This tactic may be difficult to achieve and is very fact-dependent on your case and criminal offense; however, some prosecutors are understanding of the negative immigration consequences and may work with your counsel to either avoid jail time or obtain the shortest length of incarceration so that you are not subject to removal.
Lastly, if the facts clearly show that you are guilty of the crime and removal proceedings have commenced, by applying your situation’s facts to applicable law, your immigration attorney may be able to find gray areas to argue that your crime does not fit within the grounds for deportability. For example, many of the grounds for deportation are classified as broad criminal classifications, i.e. crimes involving drugs or firearms. Have your lawyer assess your case, research controlling precedent, and find similar cases where the suspect’s offense did not amount to deportation.