Deportable Crimes Defense Attorney in NJ

If you’ve been charged with a crime and are not a U.S. citizen, you could face significant legal consequences that put your residency at risk. These penalties include the possibility of deportation, separating you from your loved ones and causing hardship for your entire family.

There’s good news: You don’t have to fight these charges alone. William Proetta Criminal Law can help. Our criminal defense attorneys in New Jersey have extensive experience with immigration cases and are prepared to do everything in our power to prevent you from deportation.

Our attorneys strive to be available to clients at all times, including evenings and weekends. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.

What are Deportable Offenses?

The U.S. Code establishes two broad categories of crimes that can trigger deportation proceedings. The first category is immigration violations. If you entered the United States illegally without obtaining legal resident status, you can be deported even if you have not committed another crime. Attempting to smuggle someone into the country and getting married to obtain a green card (often referred to as marriage fraud) are also immigration violations that can lead to deportation proceedings.

The other category of deportable offenses includes “crimes of moral turpitude.” Examples of crimes listed in the U.S. Code include:

  • Aggravated felonies, such as murder, sexual assault, possession of child pornography, assault, and battery
  • High-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint
  • Failing to register as a sexual offender
  • Drug possession or trafficking
  • Certain weapons crimes
  • Treason, sedition, and related crimes
  • Terrorist activities
  • Domestic violence or violating a protection order
  • Illegally voting in an election and other forms of voter fraud
  • Human trafficking

Immigration officials have broad discretion to initiate deportation proceedings for any crime they believe constitutes moral turpitude. You could face deportation for another crime that is not on this list, including traffic offenses like driving without a license and DUI.

Deportation and Removal Proceedings in New Jersey

Immigration cases in New Jersey are usually not handled by local law enforcement. The New Jersey Attorney General’s office issued an Immigrant Trust Directive in 2018 that bans local law enforcement from taking part in immigration raids. When facing deportation or removal proceedings, you will be dealing with the federal court system.

According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the main steps in a deportation case are:

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) identify someone they believe should be deported – Before anyone is brought before an immigration judge for deportation, ICE must first locate them. This can happen if they stop a suspected undocumented immigrant on the street, local law enforcement gives ICE a tip, an immigrant’s petition for entry is denied by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or someone has applied for entry at the border.
  • Deportation proceedings begin, or the immigrant is immediately deported – After ICE makes an arrest, it is up to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to decide whether to follow the standard deportation procedure, move for expedited removal, or immediately deport the person. Immediate deportations are most common if someone is caught shortly after crossing the border. In these cases, the immigrant does not have to appear before a judge to be deported. If the immigrant is not deported immediately, they may have to go through either the standard removal procedure or expedited removal. The steps are essentially the same for expedited removal, but the timeline is compressed.
  • Hearing before an immigration judge – If an immigrant is not immediately deported and is eligible to appear in court, their next step is a hearing before an immigration judge. There are two kinds of immigration hearings. The first is the master hearing. In a master hearing, DHS must show that the immigrant is not a lawful citizen and has broken federal immigration laws. If the immigrant is not in the U.S. legally, DHS only has to show that the immigrant is not a citizen. Immigration judges also have the power to remove someone’s legal immigration status at a master hearing. If the judge rules the immigrant is not a citizen and can be deported, the immigrant can request a merits hearing. At this hearing, the immigrant can apply for legal immigration status and present evidence to support their case, such as a fear of political persecution in their country of origin. If an immigrant fails to persuade the judge at both hearings, the judge will sign a removal order.
  • ICE carries out the removal order – Once a judge signs the removal order, ICE can remove the immigrant from the country. However, ICE cannot always remove someone, even with a valid removal order. Another country has to be willing to accept an immigrant before ICE can remove them, and figuring out how to get someone back to their home country can be a logistical challenge. Some countries refuse to accept returning immigrants, especially if the immigrant is a political dissident. In some cases, immigrants selected for removal end up staying in the U.S. because too many barriers prevent them from being removed. These instances are rare, though, and depend on the facts of the case.

What a Deportable Crimes Defense Attorney Can Do for You

Being deported can have a devastating effect on you and those you leave behind. A deportable crimes defense attorney can work to prevent you from being removed from the country. At William Proetta Criminal Law, our deportable crimes defense lawyers can:

  • Help you post an immigration bond so you can be released from ICE custody.
  • Attend immigration court hearings to show you did not break the law and that you should be allowed to stay in the country.
  • Help you fill out an application for legal immigrant status to present to the immigration judge.
  • Gather evidence to show you face likely persecution if you return home.
  • Negotiate for a voluntary departure from the country.

Immigration cases can be highly complex, and working with an experienced attorney is your best hope of avoiding deportation. If you are facing deportation or removal proceedings, contact William Proetta Criminal Law today for a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey.