There is a lot to worry about if you get arrested. When you’re an immigrant, you may immediately wonder how your arrest will affect your permanent resident status or green card.
One of your responsibilities as a permanent resident is to obey the law, so failing to do so could lead to major problems for you with the immigration authorities when it comes time to renew your card.
A criminal charge isn’t the same as a conviction
First, it is crucial to remember that there is a long way to go from an arrest to a conviction. There may be defense options available which you may not have considered. The important thing is to avoid doing anything that could lead to additional charges.
Second, the immigration authorities need to follow a process if they want to throw you out of the country because of a conviction. They need to persuade a judge to sign the deportation papers. There is always an opportunity to fight against it.
How a criminal conviction affects your immigration status
Generally speaking, the more serious the crime, the more likely it will affect your immigration status. Violent crimes and ones related to child pornography or drug trafficking are all more likely to cost you your green card. A series of convictions could also be enough to convince a judge to deport you.
If this is your first arrest, it is easy to think you have nothing to worry about, especially if the offense is minor. You might decide the most straightforward option is to accept the charge or strike a plea deal, then move on with your life. Yet doing so could come back to haunt you with immigration, especially if you pick up other convictions in the future.
Protecting your green card is crucial. It’s always wisest to work with an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of immigration law when you’re facing any kind of criminal charges. That’s the best way to preserve your future goals.