Criminal Defense of Immigrants
§ 1.11 1. Before Conviction
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When a criminal lawyer or criminal defendant seeks to learn the immigration consequences of a given criminal case, it is essential holistically to consider the client’s entire immigration situation, of which removability is only one part.
Immigration counsel will want to obtain a copy of the criminal charges against the client, as well as a copy of the investigation reports and the client’s criminal history. It is important then to make a list of all the different offenses charged in the charging document, all the lesser included offenses, all the related offenses, and any other offenses that, even though technically unrelated, may be factually similar or customarily used as lesser included offenses in plea bargaining. A great deal of creativity is required in this process, and immigration counsel will want to brainstorm with criminal counsel to seek out as wide a variety of possible dispositions as possible to assess for removablility. See § 5.19, infra.
This book is designed to assist all counsel in assessing the immigration consequences of the different possible offenses of conviction to identify one or more safe havens in order of preference, and failing that, to qualify the client for some form of relief in immigration proceedings to avoid the adverse immigration consequences of the criminal case.