§ 1.12 2. After Conviction
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If immigration counsel is confronted with a client who has already been convicted of a criminal offense, s/he will want to determine whether the disposition falls into a safe haven. If the disposition is not a conviction, or if the conviction does not trigger removal, it should constitute a safe haven. In some cases, the DHS may erroneously initiate removal proceedings, but the respondent can make a motion to terminate them. In either event, immigration counsel should obtain certified copies of the record of conviction to protect the client against later destruction of the court files and ensure the client can in the future prove to the satisfaction of the DHS, EOIR, or federal courts that the disposition does indeed constitute a safe haven.
Any post-conviction investigation should occur promptly, since many forms of post-conviction relief have short deadlines and the chances of success in obtaining post-conviction relief from a conviction drop markedly with the passage of time after the conviction occurs. See Chapter 11, infra.