Arrest Can Affect Your Immigration Case

small picture of attorney bill henry
By: Bill Henry
PublishedJul 29, 2022
2 minute read

If you’ve been arrested or had contact with a police officer, it’s important to understand your rights. You would be surprised how a small offense could affect whether you get to become a U.S. citizen or stay in this county.

Get an Immigration Attorney if You’re an Immigrant Who Has Been Arrested

If you’ve had any interaction with police, it’s important to speak with an immigration attorney who has experience with criminal law. They understand how these two complex areas of law intersect. Don’t risk the life you’re building here. Let our Immigration Team, which has criminal law experience, help you figure out your next steps. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment, o lláme al 720-359-2442 para hablar con alguien en español.

How an Arrest Can Affect Your Immigration Case

When immigration law and criminal law intersect, the results can be devastating. Any kind of interaction with the police can have a negative effect on your case.

In fact, a low-level, nonviolent conviction, like shoplifting, can hurt your immigration case. Therefore, something major such as a felony charge will most definitely put your case in a tailspin.

How Petty Offenses Result in Different Outcomes for Immigrants 

Let’s say a U.S. citizen gets caught shoplifting. Many times, he or she will go to court where the judge orders them to pay a fine. That’s it. They walk away.

If you’re an immigrant, you won’t just get to walk away. The crime will be on your permanent record. So it’s critical that you know what your rights are and how the consequences of a petty crime could affect your ability to become a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen.

Good Moral Character

The applications for a Green Card (lawful permanent residency) and U.S. citizenship each contain a provision called the good moral character clause.

When it comes to naturalization (U.S. citizenship), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) notes that “in general, the [you] must show good moral character during the five-year period immediately preceding [your] application for naturalization and up to the time of the Oath of Allegiance.”

To determine your good moral character, a USCIS officer will pull your record to look for criminal conduct in which you may have been involved. There are certain criminal offenses that will automatically deem you to lack good moral character, such as a murder conviction. But a USCIS officer could say you do not have good moral character because you have a habitual drinking problem, for instance. 8 CFR § 316.10

How We Can Help if You’ve Been Arrested

Anytime you are involved with the police, you need to know how it will affect you. And the sooner you find out, the better.

Research the Legal Consequences

Our Immigration Team can pull your record to find out what charges you’re facing, look into the potential legal implications for you, and begin to develop a plan of action to mitigate any problems with your immigration case.

Represent You in Court

It’s very important that if you are charged with a crime that you have an attorney with you in court if at all possible. You do not want to end up in immigration court answering a judge’s questions without legal representation.

We encourage you to find an immigration attorney who also has experience in criminal law—not just a criminal defense attorney. An immigration attorney with criminal law experience understands better than anyone how your recent contact with police could affect your status.

Find Out How an Arrest Can Affect Your Immigration Case

If you’ve had any kind of interaction with the police give us a call. We can help you determine what kinds of consequences you could face and how it could affect your status and your family. To begin your case assessment, call 303-688-0944, o lláme al 720-359-2442 para hablar con alguien en español.

More Than Just Lawyers. Lawyers for Your Life.

Learn more about our law firm’s philosophy and values.