Representing Clients in New York and New Jersey
Being accused of a crime is always an extremely stressful experience. A criminal conviction can result in heavy fines, jail time, probation, as well as loss of your driver’s license, your reputation and your job. If you are not a citizen of the United States you may be subject to removal (deportation) proceedings.
Criminal defense for non-US citizens requires special attention and legal representation by a criminal defense attorney who is aware of immigration consequences. One of the most important developments in the law today is the convergence of criminal and immigration law or “crimmigration” law.
It is the nature of the offense and the context of conviction that affect immigration status. The two common categories of crimes that can impact your immigration status are Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT) and aggravated felonies.
Under the U.S. immigration law, any alien convicted of a CIMT, or who admits to have committed a CIMT, or the elements of a CIMT, is inadmissible to the United States. Moreover, many immigration crimes are included in the CIMT (or crimes involving moral indecency) category.
Even if a non-citizen is convicted for an offense in a lower court, such a conviction can often affect their immigration status. Moreover, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows removal of non-citizes convicted of violating laws relating to controlled dangerous substances, including marijuana.
Non-citizens removed for having been convicted of such offenses are permanently barred from re-entering the US and may be sentenced to up twenty years in prison if they re-enter illegally. The additional consequences facing non-citizens accused of a crime include also the denial of adjustment of status, criminal bars to asylum, and other forms of relief from removal.
The fact that you have been arrested does not mean that you will be found guilty. You are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The State (or Federal government) bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt all the elements required by the criminal statute.
Often, police unlawfully obtains evidence against you. For example, if evidence is obtained through an unlawful warrantless search, it can be suppressed, meaning that it cannot be used against you.
A criminal case starts with the filing of a criminal complaint by a police officer. Depending on the crime involved, an accused can be booked into a jail or simply be released on his own recognizance pending the first court appearance.
As soon as criminal charges are filed, it is crucial to retain a criminal defense attorney to investigate the case and preserve evidence that may be used in your defense. If you have been arrested and you are unable to post the bail, your lawyer can help you make a motion to reduce bail. The defense lawyer’s role is to argue on your behalf of the defendant. On the other side, prosecutors are lawyers working for the Government and responsible for developing and presenting the government’s case against a criminal defendant.
Your lawyer is in charge of studying the circumstances surrounding your case, and weighing the strength of the evidence against you. Sometimes, it is possible to show that the act was committed in exceptional circumstances, and that it was justified.
If the case is not settled through a guilty plea, it will be set for trial. The role of the Jury is to render an impartial decision based on the facts presented and the laws applicable, as explained by the judge through jury instructions.
If you are facing a criminal charge, no matter how minor, you could benefit from talking to a defense attorney.
If you are an immigrant, you face even more severe consequences. A guilty plea to a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) or an aggravated felony can make you deportable from and/or inadmissible to the United States. Only very few attorneys have a deep understanding of the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction, and the necessary experience to handle criminal defense of non-U.S. citizens.
As a criminal immigration lawyer admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey, I defended clients charged with:
- Attempted murder
- Aggravated assault
- Unlawful possession of firearms
- Drug crimes (controlled substances offenses)
I also have experience defending Federal Immigration Crimes, such as marriage fraud and passport fraud. Marriage fraud occurs when the marriage is contract under false pretenses, in order to avoid the immigration laws of the United States.
Criminal cases in New Jersey
If you are a non-US citizen and get arrested in New Jersey for any charges, you should speak to an experienced criminal immigration lawyer. It is important to retain an attorney who is well versed in both immigration and criminal law to vigorously defend your rights. Even if you decide not to hire the attorney to represent you in court, a consultation could help you to understand the charges against you, the defenses available to you, what plea bargains may be offered to you, and what to do if you are convicted. I am a criminal immigration lawyer admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.
If you are non-US citizen and have to appear in a New Jersey Court, whether Superior or Municipal Court, I can competently represent you on the criminal charge and determine what type of disposition may affect your ability to stay here after the criminal case is over.
In addition to providing primary representation in criminal prosecutions, I also provide consulting services to assist the primary criminal defense attorney in crafting a plea agreement that will not carry adverse negative immigration consequences.
I also have extensive experience handling a full range of complex matters and including expungements and New Jersey Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) Petition (Rule 3:22-1). A PCR petition is a possible further step in criminal defense litigation after all appeals are exhausted. PCR is a critically important procedure in many types of cases in New Jersey.
Expungements are very useful to individuals who have pled or been found guilty of criminal offenses. Even though an expungement might serve to remove any record of a person’s arrest or conviction in New Jersey, it does not erase it for purposes of immigration, whether that means in the context of deportability, inadmissibility, prosecutorial discretion motions, eligibility for relief in immigration court, or applying for naturalization.
The rules for expungement are codified in N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 through 2C:52-32. I handle almost exclusively criminal immigration matters and I provide aggressive representation for undocumented immigrants that are subject to removal proceedings, and are detained with or without a bond by the Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
I am admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Southern District of New York, as well as the District of New Jersey, and I have experience representing clients charged with Federal Immigration Crimes. When you retain me as your criminal defense lawyer, I will aggressively defend your rights and help you get the best result possible in your case.