Miami Immigration Criminal Defense Lawyer
Miami criminal defense attorney Julia Kefalinos is of Counsel to the Law Offices of Wilfredo O. Allen, where she serves as a consultant for the firm on criminal immigration matters (aka crimmigration). Criminal prosecutions pose unique challenges to people who are in America as immigrants or seeking entry. After an arrest or conviction or based on a criminal record, immigrants could be denied entry or re-entry, removed from the country (deported), stripped of immigration benefits, or lose the eligibility to become a permanent resident or naturalized citizen. Ms. Kefalinos serves as a consultant to the immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Wilfredo O. Allen and helps to resolve criminal legal matters of the firm’s clients without negative repercussions on their immigration cases. If you are a lawful permanent resident with a Green Card, an asylee or refugee, if you are here on an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, or if you are undocumented and find yourself facing arrest and criminal prosecution in South Florida, the criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos will provide you advice and representation on your criminal case with sensitivity to its impact on your immigration status. Contact our experienced Miami immigration criminal defense lawyer today.
How Criminal Cases Can Affect Your Immigration Status
There are, unfortunately, many different ways a criminal case could affect your immigration status. For instance, if you have been lawfully admitted to the U.S., you could be removed if convicted of committing a deportable offense. If you have not yet been legally admitted into the country, you could be denied entry or removed if guilty of conduct that renders you inadmissible. If you have family members in the U.S. on a derivative visa, their status could be jeopardized by a negative outcome in your criminal case.
Having an experienced criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about immigration law working for you is critical to making the right choices and getting the best result. For example, although a criminal conviction is typically required to be removed (deported) on this ground, it is not necessarily a requirement to be denied admission. If you were to plead guilty to a charge in order to obtain probation or a reduced sentence, your plea could be considered grounds for inadmissibility. At the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, we make sure you are aware of any potential repercussions to your immigration status before you enter a plea.
Another crucial intersection of immigration law and criminal defense arises for people seeking to become naturalized citizens or trying to obtain the cancellation of a removal order. These situations require you to prove good moral character, which can be negatively impacted by an arrest, guilty plea, or conviction. While the Law Offices of Wilfredo O. Allen is working on your deportation defense or cancellation of removal, Julia Kefalinos is working in tandem to get the best outcome on your criminal case.
Deportable Offenses – Aggravated Felonies and Crimes of Moral Turpitude
Undocumented immigrants who get arrested in Miami will be placed into ICE detention while the government initiates proceedings for deportation (removal). For documented immigrants under arrest, ICE will review the charges to see if they meet the grounds for removal under federal law. Charges that could result in deportation proceedings include “aggravated felonies” as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and crimes of “moral turpitude,” which the INA does not define. A list of aggravated felonies can be found in INA 101(a)(43). At present, this list includes the following offenses:
- Murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor
- Illicit trafficking in controlled substance
- Illicit trafficking in firearms/destructive devices
- Laundering Monetary Instruments (money laundering)
- Explosive Materials Offenses (firearms offenses)
- Crimes of violence
- Theft offenses (theft, burglary, receipt of stolen property)
- Demand for or Receipt of Ransom (kidnapping)
- Child Pornography
- RICO Offenses (racketeering, gambling crimes)
- Owning, Controlling, Managing, Supervising Prostitution Business (prostitution or human trafficking)
- Gathering/Transmitting National Defense Information (sabotage, treason, disclosing classified information)
- Offense Involving Fraud or Deceit Causing Loss to Victim Over $10,000
- Alien Smuggling
- Improper Entry/Reentry by Alien Previously Deported
- Falsely Making/Forging/Counterfeiting/Mutilating/Altering Passport or Instrument
- Failure to Appear for Service of Sentence When Underlying Offense Punishable by Five Years or More
- Commercial Bribery, Counterfeiting, Forgery or Trafficking in Vehicles With Altered ID Numbers
- Obstruction of Justice/Perjury or Subornation of Perjury/Bribery of Witness
- Failure to Appear After Court Order to Answer Felony Charge
- Attempt or conspiracy to commit one of the above offenses
Crimes of moral turpitude aren’t defined in the INA, but they tend to involve some element of intent to defraud or a high level of reprehensible conduct combined with a mental state such as reckless intent, deliberate intent or specific intent to commit the offense. It’s up to the government to prove a crime of moral turpitude, and a savvy criminal defense lawyer will know how to rebut these charges and put on a strong and smart defense.
Many of the same offenses which can render one deportable could also result in denial of admissibility. These include crimes of moral turpitude, certain drug crimes, multiple convictions, prostitution or human trafficking, money laundering, and “serious criminal activity.” While these areas overlap, there are important differences as well, which is why it is so important to have a criminal defense attorney who understands immigration law working on your case.
Contact Julia Kefalinos for Help With Crimmigration in Miami
If you have been arrested, placed in ICE detention, or are otherwise facing criminal prosecution that could affect your immigration status, the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos can offer practical advice and zealous advocacy to help you get the best result with the least impact on your immigration case. Call our experienced Miami immigration criminal defense lawyer today.