Criminal Defense for Non-Citizens | The Law Office of Timothy W. Davis, LLC | A full service immigration law firm specializing in beating deportation

Criminal Defense for Non-Citizens

Maryland Courts – Representation in DISTRICT COURT and CIRCUIT COURT in Maryland. With the firm’s expertise in immigration law and criminal law, the firm is in a unique position to produce the best outcome in the non-citizen’s criminal case with the ultimate goal to avoid immigration consequences. What is the point of getting a great plea deal in the criminal court if it results in prolonged detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and inevitable deportation?

The firm handles all variety of criminal cases. The following crimes are analyzed from the immigration context:

NOTE: Any criminal conviction has the potential to affect a non-citizen’s legal status in the United States. For instance, many immigration benefits are conditioned upon a favorable grant of discretion and non-citizen’s criminal record will ALWAYS weigh negatively on that decision.

  • Traffic – most traffic offenses do not carry any deportation consequences, including DUIs and DWIs.
  • WARNING! A non-citizen with two misdemeanor convictions is ineligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In Maryland, many traffic offenses are considered misdemeanors, including DUIs and DWIs.
  • Theft – theft is a very dangerous offense for immigration consequences. Be careful, even relatively minor theft convictions, such as a conviction for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle (the official charge for “joy riding”), can trigger drastic immigration consequences. If you are convicted of theft and receive a sentence (even if suspended) of one year or more, a non-citizen will be classified as an “aggravated felon” in the immigration court and deported.
  • Assault – currently, a conviction for Maryland second degree assault with a sentence (even if suspended) of one year or more will result in mandatory immigration detention and deportation as an “aggravated felony.”
  • Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) – any CDS conviction will most likely result in mandatory immigration detention and deportation. The only exception is a conviction for possession of marijuana where the total amount of marijuana was under 30 grams. Caution – possession of paraphernalia is a deportable offense. Some CDS convictions, such as convictions for the sale, manufacture, distribution of CDS will be classified as an “aggravated felony,” from which there is no immigration relief. Other CDS convictions, typically convictions for simple possession, may allow immigration relief, such as cancellation of removal.
  • Burglary and robbery – in the immigration context, burglary and robbery can be classified as a crimes involving moral turpitude. They can also be classified as an “aggravated felonies” if the non-citizen is sentenced (even if suspended) to one year or more of incarceration. “Aggravated felonies” will trigger mandatory immigration detention and deportation without relief.
  • Weapons charges, domestic violence, child abuse – a conviction that involves a firearms, domestic violence, or child abuse can result in deportation, although immigration relief is available.
  • Murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor – a conviction for murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor will result in mandatory immigration detention and deportation.

POST-CONVICTION – In many cases, non-citizens plead guilty to offenses that incur immigration consequences. When there is no relief from deportation in the immigration court, often the only remedy to to attempt to vacate the conviction by means of filing a petition for post-conviction or by filing a writ of coram nobis. If a defendant is incarcerated, on parole or on probation for a conviction, he or she can file a post-conviction petition. Otherwise, a defendant can only file a writ of coram nobis. The best advantage of a petition for post-conviction is that the applicant is guaranteed a hearing before a judge. The filing of a writ for coram nobis has no such guarantee. For more information, go to our post-conviction webpage.

Recent Case Results

March 12, 2013 – Citizen of El Salvador is granted a green card through NACARA after being voluntarily placed in removal proceedings

March 12, 2013 – Citizen of El Salvador is granted a green card through NACARA after being voluntarily placed in removal proceedings

Facts: In September 2012, a citizen of El Salvador was desperate to get his green card. He had been in the United States for nearly 25 years. He was eligible for NACARA (Nicaraguan And Central American Relief Act), but he could not apply to USCIS to get his green card. His previous attorney billed him thousands of dollars, but ultimately, the attorney did nothing for the citizen of El Salvador. The citizen of El Salvador sought the firm’s help.

The Firm’s Representation: The firm first analyzed whether there was any relief available for our client. The form realized that our client was eligible for NACARA. However, our client never applied for asylum. Because our client never applied for asylum, USCIS did not have jurisdiction over his NACARA application. Only the Immigration Court had jurisdiction to adjudicate his NACARA application. The firm told our client that he had to be placed in removal proceedings to get a green card. Of course, our client was very concerned about being placed in removal proceedings, but the firm assured him that everything would be okay. The firm placed our client in removal proceedings. The firm attended one status hearing with our client in the Immigration Court in January 2013, whereupon a final hearing was set for March 12, 2013.

Outcome: On March 12, 2013, our client was granted NACARA special rule cancellation of removal and granted a green card.

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