What could be the consequences of committing a crime in the U.S. without being a U.S. citizen?

Feb 1, 2023 | Pierre Prialé
What could be the consequences of committing a crime in the U.S. without being a U.S. citizen?

The consequences of committing a crime in the United States when you are not a citizen can be severe. There is a possibility that you will be deported and may not be able to return to the United States for a long time. Find out what can happen if you are convicted of a crime without being a U.S. citizen.


Pierre Prialé, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fairfax, Virginia, will explain how immigrants who commit crimes that appear to be misdemeanors at first glance may be at risk of a prison sentence if they were not arrested, or if they were only given a ticket, they might be deported.


As non-citizens, these individuals face serious consequences, such as:


Become inadmissible to reenter the country. If the government deems a person inadmissible, they will not be able to change their immigration status, whether they have a work permit and want to apply for a green card, or they do not have legal status and want to apply for a work permit.


Likewise, it could happen that if a legal resident takes a trip abroad, it is possible that upon his return he will be detained at the border, since he is inadmissible for having had some kind of charge, for having committed a crime in the United States. Or even if you have been a long-time lawful permanent resident and have a family of U.S. citizens.


Also, there are other more serious types of crimes, the consequence of which for non-citizens is deportation.


Additionally, the third type of charge, aggravated felonies, can make you inadmissible and a candidate for deportation.


After having had some interaction with the criminal justice system, non-citizen defendants face several obstacles to reintegration into society, and at every stage of the judicial process, from arrest to trial, sentencing, incarceration, and release, immigrants have to make decisions that will affect their ability to be reunited with their families.


What could be the consequences of committing a crime in the U.S. without being a citizen?

  • Inability to obtain official identification
  • Inability to work
  • Failure to obtain housing and health insurance
  • Inability to attend college
  • Failure to travel outside the U.S.
  • Unable to renew green card or obtain citizenship
  • Initiation of deportation proceedings
  • Immediate or imminent detention by immigration authorities anywhere in the U.S.
  • Not being eligible for waivers or other legal protection from deportation
  • Not being eligible for asylum, even if you have suffered persecution in your home country
  • Permanent or long-term exile from the U.S.

For the immigrant defendant, many of these consequences can be more disastrous than jail sentences or fines related to the criminal offense.  In addition, almost all of them directly affect the family members of the immigrant accused of a crime, especially if he or she is the family's breadwinner.


Even if after paying their criminal conviction, they do not immediately enter deportation proceedings, many of them are left living in a gray area, running the risk of being deported, living in fear for the rest of their lives, and jeopardizing their daily needs for employment, housing, or health insurance.


So, if you are a non-citizen and must appear in court for an arrest or even just because you received a ticket, it is essential that you first speak with an attorney who knows both criminal and immigration law. Don't wait any longer, at Right Path Law Group we have over 15 years of experience in these types of cases in Fairfax Virginia, call us at 703-637-9999 for a free consultation.

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Pierre Prialé

Over the course of his career, Prialé has handled approximately 2,000 criminal defense and traffic cases, including DUI, reckless driving, weapons charges, and personal injury cases. His dedication to helping clients in difficult and desperate situations has earned him a reputation for being a committed and knowledgeable attorney.

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