If you are reading this page you or someone you know has probably been arrested. If you are reading this page on behalf of someone else, who is detained or in jail, you will want to read our Bond Page as well as this page.
The criminal process and its relation to possible deportation or removal, or the denial of an immigration benefit by the USCIS is far to complicated to thoroughly discuss on one page of a website. The Mulder Law Office offers a free initial consultation by telephone or in person. I strongly urge you to call us and discuss your unique situation before you make any decisions regarding a criminal matter.
Below is a brief outline of what is going to happen when the non citizen is arrested and has been taken to jail . These steps are very flexible. At The Mulder Law Office we can accelerate the procedure.
I. Plea Bargaining: Is a deal offered by a prosecutor as an incentive for a defendant to plead guilty. There are two; A "charge bargain," and a "sentence bargain." In a "charge bargain," the charges against you are reduced in return for a plea of guilty or no contest. In a "sentence bargain," the charges remain the same but your sentence is reduced in return for a plea of guilty or no contest. The plea bargain offered to you in often a combination of both a "sentence bargain," and a "charge bargain."
Diversion Programs or a charge bargain. You are offered the opportunity to complete a program or an educational course. Upon the completion your charges will be dropped of null prosecuted.
Warning: A plea of "No Contest" may be considered an admission of guilt with the Immigration Court and the USCIS. The criminal court may also find you guilty based on this plea. DO NOT plead "No Content," thinking that is your quickest way to solve your current problem and get out of jail. You may find that a white van from ICE will pick you up soon after you have entered your plea and transfer you to immigration detention to face removal proceedings. You may also be denied an immigration benefit with the USCIS as a result of your plea. It is important that you contact the Mulder Law Office before you agree to any plea - including diversion programs.
II. First Appearance: There will be a first appearance before the judge within 48 hours of the arrest. At the first appearance a bond. request may be made. The case may be dismissed or dropped if their are grounds. Make sure your friend or relative knows NOT to enter a plea at this appearance unless he or she has received competent advise that he/she won’t be placed in deportation proceedings or denied a visa petition as a result. . III. Arraignment: The second appearance is the arraignment. At the arraignment the person charged with the crime has an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. It is most common at this stage that your attorney has worked out a plea agreement with the prosecutor and you may enter your plea at this hearing. Once again , make sure your friend or relative knows NOT to enter a plea at this appearance unless he or she has received competent advise that he/she won’t be placed in deportation proceedings or denied a visa petition as a result.
IV. Pre Trial Conference: If you entered a plea of Not Guilty your next step is the pre trial conference. The attorney and prosecutor should be involved in gathering evidence to prepare for trial and will report to the judge twhere they are in the discovery process and how much more time they may need. If you enter a plea at this stage your next step depends on the agreement you made with the prosecutor.
V: Trial: If you have maintained your innocence throughout the process then you will have an opportunity to go to trial. At the trial the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. You do not need to prove that you are innocent you are assumed innocent unless the prosecutor can prove otherwise.
VI. Post Trial or Post Conviction Relief: The rules of criminal procedure provide for post conviction relief for a number of reasons. whether you qualify for any form or post conviction relief will require an in depth look into your case both factually and procedurally . You must contact us to schedule a consultation before we can determine whether you are entitled to any for of post conviction relief. Your right to request most forms of post conviction relief is time sensitive so do not wait to contact us.
Recent updates on Florida Criminal Law:
On March 31, 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, holding that the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires criminal defense counsel to affirmatively and competently advise their clients of immigration or deportation consequences of criminal charges and criminal pleas. Failure to do so constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel. Counsel's failure to advise you of the foregoing may be grounds for post conviction relief. This relief is time sensitive so you need to contact us immediately/
The criminal statutes for the State of Florida require that the Judge in your case inform you verbally of immigration or deportation consequences of criminal charges and criminal pleas. Failure to advise you of the foregoing may be grounds for post conviction relief. This relief is time sensitive so you need to contact us immediately.
You may want to read our pages on Bond, Removal/Deportation Defense, Waivers and Appeals