Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions

Nikiki Tavia Bogle

Written by

Immigration Attorney - Boston, MA

Contributor Level 12

Posted over 5 years ago. 22 helpful votes



Actual Impact of Criminal Charges on Immigration Status

Criminal convictions may cause USCIS to deny an application, to start deportation proceedings or to detain or imprison a person. If you are not a U.S. citizen and you are facing criminal charges you should have your case reviewed by both an immigration lawyer and a criminal lawyer. Even seemingly simple, petty crimes such as shoplifting can cause a green card holder to be deported.


Two Types of Criminal Charges may result in Bad Immigration Consequences

(1). "Aggravated Felonies"- serious offenses, such as: theft, drugs, acts of violence, etc. (2). "Crimes of Moral Turpitude"- acts of moral deficiency, such as: shoplifting, fraud, assault battery with a weapon. Any conviction for an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude can result in deportation or exclusion (denied entry into the U.S.). Any conviction for any crime may result in a denial of any application at the discretion of Immigration Service.


What is a Conviction for Immigration Purposes?

A conviction under Immigration law generally relates to the state criminal law where the offense occurred. A conviction is any admission of responsibility for a criminal charge made in court, even if it is not called a guilty plea. Generally, if you were ordered to pay a fine or placed on probation you have admitted responsibility or guilt. Therefore, you could be deported even if the case was dismissed and you only paid a fine. If facing deportation based on criminal matters you should immediately consult an experienced immigration lawyer.

Additional Resources

Immigration Information

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