Tens of thousands of non-citizens in California are at risk of deportation or loss of immigration benefit because of a criminal conviction in their past. While some convictions by their nature alone can renders a non-citizen inadmissible or deportable, in certain other cases, even a minor criminal conviction in conjunction with an imposed sentence of one year or longer can result in adverse immigration consequences. Therefore, avoiding deportation or inadmissibility is always a major priority for non-citizens with prior convictions. Fortunately, there are several options under California law to eliminate these convictions for immigration purposes, using post-conviction relief (PCR).
Before exploring the available options for post-conviction relief, an experienced attorney must first determine whether the “generic” definition of the removal ground under federal statute matches the elements of the state’s criminal statute. This is done through the categorical or modified categorical approach analysis. Only if there is a categorical match, then the options to pursue post-conviction relief becomes necessary.
The most common forms of reliefs include but are not limited to motion to overturn the conviction based on ineffective assistance of counsel (if applicable), motion for re-sentencing, reducing a conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor, motion to withdraw a guilty or no-contest plea because the court did not advise the non-citizen of the immigration consequences of the plea
If you are not a US citizen and have a prior criminal conviction with potential to affect your status or even cause you to be deported, it is vital to consult an attorney who fully understands this process and is in a position to help.
Contact us if you have question or for a free consultation.