Most drug offenses, misdemeanor or felony, are considered aggravated felonies for immigration purposes regardless of sentence and whether your a resident alien or seeking permanent status you need an attorney who understands how a charge or a conviction will effect your status in the United States.
Many criminal defense attorneys DO NOT KNOW that even if you have been in the United States since you were very young but you are not yet a citizen of the US that you can be deported if convicted of a class of offense which falls within the definition of an aggravated felony for immigration purposes. This is NOT a term many state criminal lawyers are familiar with.
An “Aggravated Felon” is a federal category of criminal aliens. Originally created in the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, “aggravated felony” originally included murder, rape, any drug trafficking crime, or any illicit trafficking in firearms or destructive devices. Congress expanded the category numerous times over the years, and the 1996 laws expanded it to include more than fifty classes of crime, some of which are neither “aggravated” nor a “felony” by criminal law standards (e.g. misdemeanor shoplifting with a one year sentence). A person convicted of an “aggravated felony” after 1996 is subject to mandatory detention (no bond) and mandatory deportation (no pardon). To find out if the charges against you may constitute an aggravated felony for immigration purposes immediately contact a criminal defense attorney at Motta & Motta.
More importantly, if your attorney is unfamiliar with the federal statues involving deportability (whether a LPR can be deported) or inadmissibility (whether someone seeking to adjust their status or be admitted to the US or can be denied admission to the US) you may be at grave risk if you accept a plea. There is a statutory definition of “conviction” for immigration purposes. State law does not determine whether a state disposition will be considered a conviction for immigration law purposes. For example, dispositions involving drug treatment court, deferral of prosecution, expungement, and prayers for judgment continued may be treated as convictions for immigration purposes. If you have been charged with possession of narcotics, sale or delivery of drugs, a drug trafficking offense or any drug or narcotics crime contact Motta & Motta today and speak with a criminal defense attorney about whether you are at risk of ICE initiating deportation proceedings, if you are a legal permanent resident, or removability proceedings, if you are seeking permanent status) and how a drug charge, including as a co-conspirator or accomplice, will impact your ability to obtain permanent status if you are not yet a resident.