Posted on August 25, 2021 in Drug Crimes
If you are a documented or undocumented immigrant living in the United States, being convicted of a drug crime could lead to your deportation, or removal from the country. Most drug crimes are grounds for deportation, even if you have a visa or green card. You should consult with a drug crimes lawyer in Phoenix as soon as you can after being accused of or arrested for a drug crime in Arizona as an immigrant.
You can be deported for committing a crime even if you are a lawful permanent resident or you hold a visa. A legal immigrant can be deported for several reasons. One of these is for committing a drug crime. If you are an undocumented immigrant, on the other hand, being involved in a criminal case could lead to deportation even if the charges against you are dismissed or you are found not guilty.
If you are convicted of a drug crime, such as drug possession, distribution or manufacture, this could result in your deportation from the United States. Almost all drug crimes are grounds for deportation, with an exception for convictions involving possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana. The law states that being convicted of any violation of a law relating to a controlled substance is deportable, as is being or having been a drug abuser or addict.
Although most deportable crimes are felonies, immigration authorities can use their own judgment to determine how a crime is classified for immigration purposes. This means that even if you are convicted of a misdemeanor drug crime, the authorities may choose to deport you. The full list of deportable crimes is found in Section 237(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The list includes most drug and controlled substance offenses, as well as drug trafficking, aggravated felonies and crimes of moral turpitude.
A crime of moral turpitude is a legal offense that involves a depraved or immoral act, a reprehensible act with intent (mens rea) that at least reaches the level of recklessness, or a violation of the basic duties owed to fellow man. Common crimes of moral turpitude include fraud, theft, sexual assault, reckless or malicious offenses, and violent crimes that result in serious injuries. If the commission of a drug offense involves crimes of moral turpitude, this could be grounds for deportation.
Facing potential deportation for an alleged drug crime can be overwhelming and confusing. It is important to protect your legal rights with assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Otherwise, you could be at risk of being removed from the U.S. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know exactly how to negotiate with the prosecutor for the best possible results.
For example, your attorney may be able to convince a judge to dismiss the case against you on the grounds of a lack of evidence or police misconduct. An attorney may also be able to negotiate a plea deal that protects your status as a U.S. citizen and minimizes the penalties you face. Finally, if your case goes to trial, your lawyer can choose the correct defense.
Common defenses used against drug crimes include wrong defendant, alibi, lack of intent to commit a crime, lack of knowledge that the drugs were in your possession (not your drugs), a valid prescription for the narcotics, illegal search and seizure, and entrapment. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, know that you have the right to be appointed a public defender. Do not answer any police questions until you have an attorney present.
For more information about drug crimes and the potential ramifications on your status in the U.S. as an immigrant, contact AZ Defenders for a free and confidential legal consultation.