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4th degree assault domestic violence - slapped husband's on arm, no charges from his side. Will I be deported?

Seattle, WA |

I have pre-trial in two weeks.
During a fight between my husband and me, we were yelling at each other and I was screaming at him, and he was trying to calm me down holding my hands, i pulled them out and accidentally slapped his on arm. No marks, never meant to do this, he never threatened me neither did I. Neighbors called police, I have been arrested and spent 24 hours in jail.
I have been released with no bail, NO-contact order. I am not citizen, I am permanent resident of WA state.
I have no criminal background whatsoever, working as a professional and recently started to go to counseling.
I know that the max what I can get - year in jail and $5000 fine. Will I be deported then??? If yes, it means I will never be able to come back and live with my husband?
Please advice!
Thank you

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

A conviction for domestic violence fourth degree assault could imperil your status in this country and chance to become a U.S. citizen, if that is what you wish to do. However, there are possible ways this case could be resolved that would not trigger deportation or other immigration consequences. Make sure you work with a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and has an idea how to resolve this case in an "immigration-safe" manner, if you do not decide to proceed to trial.


A person who is not a US citizen and who is convicted of or pleads guilty to a charge involving domestic violence against certain persons, including a spouse, is generally deportable from the US.

Violating a no contact order generally has the same deportable effect.

Your attorney needs to know that you are not a US citizen.

You need to make sure that you do not plead guilty to or is convicted of a criminal charge involving domestic violence.

There are ways to resolve the charge without a conviction against you.

There may be reasons that the charge would be dismissed.

You need to review the specific facts with your attorney to find out your legal options.

First time offenders usually do not serve the full maximum sentence. However, that is not your main problem since you are not a US citizen. Regardless of the sentence, any conviction of domestic violence of a spouse can be a basis for deportation.

In WA, in cases involving domestic violence against each other, spouses generally cannot refuse to testify based on spousal immunity. There may be other legal bases for a spouse to decline to testify. The spouse would need to be represented be an independent attorney.

If you are low income, you are entitled to a public defender who is an attorney paid by the government.


As a non-citizen, you MUST talk with your lawyer carefully, and probably have him or her consult with an immigration lawyer about the ways of resolving a case without facing deportation. A conviction WILL make you deportable. So the stakes are much higher than a year in jail and a $5,000 fine, which generally would never be imposed for a first offense. If you cannot afford a lawyer, get a public defender and INSIST that they clear any advice with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer. If you can afford to retain counsel, please find someone with experience in this area. There are a variety of options, but they must be handled carefully with a focus on the possible immigration consequences. Good luck.

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