So you are telling us that you NEVER left the US since 1996 ... not even for a brief trip home to get an H stamp?
Hopefully you haven't cut a 'deal' with the DA and there is still time for you to talk to an attorney in private.
Although you're on the right track with your research, there's more to it than-meets-the-eye.
Talk to a professional.
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This is not a general question you ask. You are clearly in need of a legal advice. No problem, but not on AVVO. AVVO is a free general legal information blog, not a substitute for legal advice. Look for an attorney you would like to have a consultation with. You can use Find a Lawyer tab above, right here in AVVO. Select an attorney, contact them directly and schedule a consultation. You might be glad you did.
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Very complicated area of immigration law. Lease speak with an immigration attorney and have them provide your criminal attorney with a Padilla letter.
MEDINA LAW GROUP PC: EXPERIENCED TEXAS IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS. email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: (210) 821-4500; Fax: 210-821-4500; 1802 NE Loop 410, Ste 104, San Antonio, TX 78217. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. Furthermore, the content of this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. I apologize in advance for any spelling or typographical errors. MEDINA LAW GROUP PC.
Hello. You truly need a private attorney to assist you in this matter and I urge you immediately to secure an attorney. More details need to be known, questions asked and answered. If you have been appointed a public defender, I suggest you may want to seek a second opinion, also. Some attorneys, myself included, are available seven days for emergency legal needs. Some attorneys, myself included, will confer for free, at no charge. Then, if legal work is performed, some attorneys, myself included, will provide a reduced fee for need. All the best.
Tricia Dwyer, Esq., Immigration Law, Criminal Law, Rule 14 Qualified Neutral, Minnesota Supreme Court Roster Mediator, Tricia Dwyer, Esq. & Associates PLLC, Phone: 612.296-9666 EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR until 8 p.m. daily. See www.dwyerlawfirm.net