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Immigration Effect of Disorderly Conduct in New York

| May 22, 2014 | Criminal Law & Municipal Court, Deportation, Immigration Consequences of Crimes

One very common type of criminal offense that is frequently charged in New York is the offense of Disorderly Conduct. It is found in Section 240.20 of the New York Penal Law. It is defined as follows:

A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof:1. He engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or 2. He makes unreasonable noise; or 3. In a public place, he uses abusive or obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or 4. Without lawful authority, he disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons; or 5. He obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic; or 6. He congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse; or 7. He creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.

Disorderly Conduct is defined as a “violation” in New York, which is different than a felony or misdemeanor. In terms of imprisonment, Section 70.15 provides that a sentence of imprisonment for a violation shall be a definite sentence. When such a sentence is imposed the term shall be fixed by the court, and shall not exceed fifteen days.

Are There Immigration Consequences?

Disorderly Conduct has generally been held not to be a deportable offense. That is not to say that it does not have any immigration impact: it is, after all, still a criminal offense. Relatively speaking though, it appears to be one of the more benign types of criminal violations that don’t necessarily trigger deportation. In terms of deportability and inadmissibility, the Department of Homeland Security ordinarily tries to classify a crime as either a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude or an Aggravated Felony to underpin a charge of removability. Disorderly Conduct is not an Aggravated Felony and is generally considered not to be a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude given that the offense can be committed any number of ways and does not necessarily have to involve evil or reprehensible conduct to be guilty of it. (A crime involving moral turpitude is generally defined as “act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellowmen, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man.”)

An foreign national individual charged with a serious felony or misdemeanor offense in New York may want to consider exploring with his/her criminal defense attorney in conjunction with an immigration attorney whether Disorderly Conduct is an option as a downgrade or amendment. There may be less of an immigration impact engendered by this charge.

Of course, it must stressed that this should not be construed as legal advice. Any person charged with a criminal violation who is not a United States Citizen should not be making decisions about whether to accept a plea or plead guilty without first consulting with an immigration attorney to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of such charges. Every individual has different circumstances that apply to his/her case, and one cannot base such an important decision on what one reads on the internet or what has happened to his/her friend.

We hope that you have enjoyed this article and learned at least one new thing or tip that you may not have known. To keep informed about the latest developments in immigration law, please subscribe to our blog feed by clicking on the “Subscribe To This Blog’s Feed” button on the right. It is important to understand that the above is only general information and not legal advice. The law is extremely fact and circumstance sensitive. For an individual legal analysis of your specific legal case, please complete the “Case Evaluation” box to the right of the screen to get in touch with one of our attorneys.

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