Sharma Crawford

Two Bites of the Apple

Sometimes one set of facts can give rise to multiple legal issues. For example, a DUI can result in criminal penalties and a loss of one’s driver’s privilege’s. If an accident is also involved, then there may also be a case for civil damages against the drunk driver. One set of facts would then result in multiple legal cases.

The same is true for immigration cases. Normally, when a non citizen lands in removal proceedings, it is because something they did caused them to come to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Sometimes, after a person is arrested on a criminal charge, they are transferred to ICE. Under this scenario, the person has two distinct cases: the criminal case and the immigration case. Each of these cases are unique and require a different analysis of the consequences as it relates to the non citizen’s status.

Individuals sometimes confuse the way immigration and criminal cases intersect and yet remain distinct. They often do not understand that while all fees and penalties have been resolved in the criminal case, immigration consequences may still remain that will require additional attention. To help understand the way this plays out in practical terms, let’s examine the DUI fact scenario. DUI is a criminal charge. The individual will have to appear in front of a judge and will have to be processed through the criminal justice system. For citizens, once they have completed all of the requirements under the criminal case, they can put the incident behind them.

For non citizens, there may be additional considerations. If they have fallen out of status, simply being arrested and held in jail, even for a few hours may result in contact with ICE. If the person is in status or changing status a DUI or other criminal charges may affect one’s ability to change remain in or change status. Some convictions may have a direct effect on one’s status, others may affect a person’s character.

Being a person of “good moral character” is an integral part of successfully moving through the immigration system. Criminal cases, even those successfully completed, can cause a person to be found to not possess good moral character. This finding may prevent a change of status even years after the conviction.

A non-citizen can never take criminal charges lightly. One must take care to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney and an equally skilled immigration attorney who is well versed in the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. It takes coordination between these two professionals to prevent disastrous consequences.

Sharma-Crawford, Attorneys at Law is a firm deeply experienced in the complexities of immigration litigation. Whether you are facing criminal or civil litigation in state, federal or immigration court – the caring professionals at Sharma-Crawford can help you navigate through the complex legal system. For more information, please call (913) 385-9821 or visit The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. The information contained in this article is general information and should not be considered legal counsel.

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