Deportation or removal involves the expulsion of a noncitizen from the United States. This expulsion may be based on grounds of inadmissibility or deportability. Other than falling out of status, one of the biggest reasons for an individual to be placed into deportation or removal proceedings is due to a criminal charge. This is especially true if the noncitizen receives a conviction for the crime in violation of state or federal criminal laws.
INA Section 101(a)(48) (A) defines “conviction”:
“The term “conviction” means, with respect to an alien, a formal judgment of guilt of the alien entered by a court or, if adjudication of guilt has been withheld, where-
(i) a judge or jury has found the alien guilty or the alien has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt, and
(ii) the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or restraint on the alien’s liberty to be imposed.”
This has been interpreted as including ANY admission to guilt at ANY point before, during, or after the arrest. This includes any sort of confession (verbal/written/recorded/not-recorded) of committing the crime. This also includes any stipulation of any evidence that could be interpreted as an admission to the elements of the crime.
As a matter of practicality, this means any deferred adjudication or disposition/pre-trial diversion/ probation/ agreement/ or conditional dismissal must avoid using any language that could be interpreted as admitting facts that equate to committing the elements of the crime. It should be noted that with deferred adjudication/disposition this is almost impossible to accomplish because such agreements usually require an admission of “guilty” or “no contest”. Nolo Contendere and No Contest are the functional equivalents to Guilty in the immigration context.
When someone commits a crime and gets an “ICE Hold” or “Immigration Hold”, the criminal charge and immigration charges will need to be handled simultaneously. For these reasons, if you are charged with a criminal offense and are not a US citizen, you need to work with The Presti Law Firm so that we can assure your criminal charge is handled properly with intent to avoid bad immigration consequences. Working with The Presti Law Firm gives you defense attorneys working for you on both sides -criminal and immigration, defending against the state of Texas and defending against the federal government.