What are my options/best defense when facing deportation for aggravated felony charges & failure to appear in immigr court?

Asked over 2 years ago - Los Angeles, CA

My Best friend perm. resident, committed a felony in 2001 (selling/possing cntr'l sub). Committed=Served 6 months. Afterwards a letter was mailed for court appearance regarding immigration status which was never received; claimed that it was also mailed to the defense attorney which he never informed. Currently detained in CA detention center. Current attorney is working on a petition for appeal. Hoping this lawyer doesn't drop the ball like the prior, what are the possible outcomes? Probability he'll get bail? Release? Is this considered a high priority case? What are the factors? Best defense against deportation?

I've never been in trouble and nothing to this caliber, hence please explain thoroughly.
Thank you in advance, I appreciate your time+feedback

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Otis Carl Landerholm


    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . You need to meet with an immigration attorney who is an expert in immigration and criminal cross-over issues. When you say that you face "aggravated felony charges" what do you mean? Did you have a qualified immigration lawyer review your file and tell you that your conviction constitutes an "aggravated felony" under federal immigration law? I sincerely hope not, for your sake! An aggravated felony conviction will bar you from most forms of immigration relief.

    Regarding bail, if he has a serious conviction, he'll likely trigger an "ICE Hold" and therefore be ineligible for bail, unless you find an immigration lawyer who can ask the judge to grant him a reasonable bond to get him out.

    Regarding his "failure to appear in immigration court" - normally when an immigrant fails to appear in immigration court, the judge will issue what is called an "in absentia removal order" and order you deported. If this has happened to you, you are in serious trouble, and you will absolutely need to meet with an immigration attorney ASAP to determine whether you might be able to reopen your case - or if you're eligible for some other type of immigration relief.

    Regarding your last question of "is this considered a high priority case". The answer is yes! ICE considers all serious criminals to be a high priority for deportation.

    In conclusion, my best advice is for you is to meet with an immigration law expert who is also a criminal law expert (Norton Tooby and Karl Krooth are two that I know off hand), and see whether or not they can help you. The thing to keep in mind is your process will be expensive, will be long, and will be difficult, but if you want to avoid deportation, it will be necessary.

    Good luck,

    Otis C. Landerholm, Esq.

  2. Giacomo Jacques Behar


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Too many questions on a complex, fact and law specific case. This is a general immigration forum. How can we tell you what "the possible outcome" will be, without knowing all the details of the case? If you are so worried about this one, then you should schedule a consultation with a reputable attorney in LA for a "second" of third opinion..

    Behar Intl. Counsel 619.234.5962 Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be... more
  3. Curtis Lamar Harrington Jr

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The person in trouble should be seeking advice from an attorney directly; you may not even know all of the facts in his case, many of which may make a huge difference.

    Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal... more

Related Topics

Immigration court

Immigration court is a division of the US Department of Justice that oversees and decides cases involving immigrants facing deportation.

Criminal charges

Criminal charges are formal accusations in court that someone has committed a crime. Criminal charges have many classifications and degrees of severity.

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