Anyone accused of a criminal offense will worry about the implications of those allegations. They may worry what a conviction or even a criminal trial will mean for their reputation and possibly their freedom. When the state actually brings charges against an individual, the person accused can face penalties ranging from fines and community service to incarceration.
When the person accused of a crime is an immigrant, the consequences could be much more serious. Criminal activity is one of the most common reasons why people get deported from the United States. If you traveled to the country with your family members, could they get deported because of your criminal conviction?
Most deportations are on an individual basis
With rare circumstances involving an entire family colluding for criminal purposes, criminal charges that may affect immigration rights typically only impact one person in the family. If you are the only one facing charges, then you would typically be the only one facing removal after your conviction.
However, immigration cases are complex. Frequently, some of the people in the family are not in the country because they qualified for a visa on their own but rather a visa related to a family member’s visa. Children who qualify for visas when their parents secure a work visa would be a perfect example.
When the family member whose employment or education qualifies the rest of the family for residency faces deportation, the other family members could as well. The nature of your visas will be a major deciding factor. If your loved ones have already secured green cards, then there is minimal risk to them related to your criminal charges.
Immigrants need to know the consequences of criminal charges
Some immigrants plead guilty in the hope of a more lenient sentence that won’t automatically trigger deportation. If pleading guilty could affect not just your right to stay in the country but also the options for your entire family, then defending yourself may quickly start to seem like the best option.
Immigrants have the same presumption of innocence when facing criminal charges as anyone else in the United States. Choosing to defend against criminal charges can be a smart decision for immigrants who worry about their status and the rights of their family members.