Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 8.10 (C)

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(C)  Date the Offense Occurred.  At times, offenses occur over a range of different dates.  For example, a welfare fraud offense may occur through underreporting of income over a period of years.  At times, the immigration consequences of a conviction can vary depending on when the offense occurred. 

It may be possible to select the most desirable date of conviction by picking one count over another, or suggesting a new or amended count.  The same is true of many conspiracy offenses, or other continuing offenses, which are often alleged to have occurred over a span of time.


                One conviction of a crime of moral turpitude, for example, can trigger a ground of deportation if the offense occurred within five years of the noncitizen’s admission into the United States.[23]  If the span of possible dates of conviction includes dates both before and after the five-year point, counsel can select a date after the five-year point and thus avoid triggering the ground of deportation. 


                The date of the offense can also be relevant to eligibility for relief from removal in immigration court.  See Chapter 24, infra.  For example, the seven-year period of lawful residence in the United States necessary to qualify for cancellation of removal for Lawful Permanent Residents terminates on the date certain offenses are committed.[24]  Eligibility could be preserved by arranging that the date on which the offense of conviction occurred was after the seven-year point had passed.


                It is therefore important to be alert to the immigration consequences of arranging the date of the offense of conviction on a specific date within a range of possible dates.

[23] INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(i)(I), 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i)(I). 

[24] INA § 240A(d)(1), 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1).  See § 24.6, infra.