Even law-abiding citizens feel nervous sometimes when interacting with police. Immigrants might feel even more frightened during such encounters. Immigrants may have language barriers that impact the interaction. They may also worry because they know that criminal charges could potentially affect their right to stay in the country.
Plenty of people remain in the United States on a visa after a minor criminal conviction, and others even complete the naturalization process with a criminal record. If you find yourself facing criminal charges as an immigrant, the nature of the crime is what matters most.
Crimes of moral turpitude can affect your immigration status or even result in deportation. Does your charge constitute a crime of moral turpitude?
There is plenty of room to interpret what constitutes moral turpitude
Federal immigration law penalizes those convicted of serious offenses and crimes of moral turpitude. Convictions can mean the loss of a visa or loss of qualification for a green card. Some convictions can lead to deportation.
Rather than listing certain offenses that might lead to deportation, the law instead leaves room for interpretation by judges. Crimes of moral turpitude violate the standard morals or ethics held by a community. Particularly heinous criminal acts, offenses against children and other vulnerable populations or other crimes that most people view as inherently offensive might constitute crimes of moral turpitude.
The more serious the charges an immigrant faces, the greater the potential is for a conviction to affect their immigration status. Having a strong defense and preparing for potential immigration consequences can help you protect your status as a resident in the United States. An experienced attorney can help.