The Department of Justice has taken a hard line stance against immigrants with its most recent travel ban as well an increase in enforcement of current laws regarding criminal convictions. Many clients are under the false impression that if they file paperwork to have their past convictions expunged or set aside that this will solve their problems.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Executive Office for Immigration Review Board of Immigration Appeals decided in 2003 that “if a court vacates an alien’s conviction for reasons solely related to rehabilitation or immigration hardships, rather than on the basis of a procedural or substantive defect in the underlying criminal proceedings, the conviction is NOT eliminated for immigration purposes” Emphasis added
What does this mean? It means that if you go through a normal expungement proceeding and the court sets aside your conviction, the immigration courts may still consider it for deportation and removal purposes. This does not seem fair at all, however, you need to be aware of this fact from the very beginning of your criminal case. Defects in the actual proceeding are the only ways that the case can be removed from consideration.
A colleague recently attacked a 10 year old conviction based on the possibility that the translation was faulty. The trial judge utilized an experience translator, but went off the record and had that person translate the Advice of Rights in a conference room instead of having that exchange recorded. The defense counsel was not able to determine whether or not the translator conveyed the important rights such that the guilty plea was knowingly and intelligently entered into by the Defendant.
It is much better to hire an experienced attorney at the very start of your case and immediately after your arrest. Attorney Adam Pollack is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney and will be able to protect your rights at every stage of your case.
Call Attorney Pollack today for your FREE criminal consultation at (407) 834-5297