Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 5.10 B. 5 Steps

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The basic approach to defending a criminal case, so as to take immigration consequences fully into account, and minimize them as much as possible, is quite simple:


1.             Obtain exact information on the client’s immigration situation;[6]


2.             Consult an immigration expert to determine realistic criminal goals that can minimize immigration consequences;


3.             Determine with the client how important the immigration goals are, as opposed to traditional criminal defense goals;


4.             Formulate a strategy that gives appropriate weight to the need to minimize adverse immigration consequences, in light of the other consequences of the criminal case and the desires of the client; and


5.             Continue to consult with an immigration attorney since additional immigration questions frequently arise during the course of the case.

[6] See M. Vargas, Representing Noncitizen Criminal Defendants In New York State, Chapter 2 (NY State Defender’s Association, Criminal Defense Immigration Project, 4th ed., 2006).