Lee & Garasia, LLC
  • Tel: 732-516-1717
  • Toll free: 888-404-5876
Experience, Accessibility, and Excellence for Over 20 Years
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  • "I would definitely recommend Mr.Lee and Garasia as an immigration attorney because they did a great job with my case i.e. of Adjustment of Status (i-485). Mr. Lee helped us in each and every detailed information and prepared to the best of it. It was all well done and would like to appreciate." Read More

  • "I would like to thank my lawyer Mr Lee & Garasia and the staff for all immense help and patience throughout this entire process, I really appreciate your constant attention to my case, as well to my questions and my concerns. You've really made this process much more comprehensive to me, which I greatly appreciate." Read More

  • "Mr. Lee and Ms. Garasia did a great job with my renewal of my permanent residence application. They help prepare the paperwork with such a great attention to details and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "Mr. Lee did a great job with the renewal of my permanent residence application. My case was very time sensitive and they worked really fast on my case with great detail and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "I would recommend Attorney Paris Lee for anybody who needs immigration consultation. Mr. Lee is THE lawyer who respects and cares clients. Mr. Lee is professional and honest. Bottom line, preparation for the results and NO BS!" Read More

  • "Stalin - Lee did a wonderful job, Got my wife her visa in one year. He is extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend him for all your immigration needs." Read More

  • "Hello. I appoint him as my immigration lawyer and that way he solved my cases was truly amazing. He was so honest and knowledgeable for his work.He solved my all family immigration issues and because of his effort we were able to get done our immigration work done successful. Thank you lee and garasia." Read More

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Criminal Law & Municipal Court Archives

New Jersey Criminal Law and Immigration: Conditional Discharge May Help First-Time Drug Offenders Avoid Deportation

Individuals charged with minor drug offenses in New Jersey in municipal court may be offered an opportunity to apply for and receive a conditional discharge. For a non-US citizen, it is critical to always consult with immigration counsel first before doing anything that is criminal related. Possession of marijuana offenses and paraphernalia offenses are particularly tricky because notwithstanding that fact that conviction of an offense related to controlled dangerous substances may render an individual deportable (not to mention disqualify him/her from receiving permanent residence), New Jersey's conditional discharge program may offer an "out" or provide an escape clause.

Ten Things Every Criminal Lawyer Needs to Know About Their Immigrant Clients

1. Never assume that your client is a United States Citizen just because he/she appears to be. Just because your client has no accent and acts and talks like everybody else does not necessarily mean he/she is a citizen!

Can I Be Deported Even If My Criminal Charge Has Been Dismissed?

For an illegal or undocumented alien, sometimes the ramifications of a New Jersey arrest arising out of an alleged criminal act are more harmful than the penal consequences of the act itself. By this point, most if not all serious criminal defense practitioners are aware that non-US citizens need to be apprised of the immigration consequences before entering into a plea agreement or pleading guilty. This, of course, makes sense since some people unknowingly plead guilty to criminal offenses that render them deportable (and to make matters worse, subject them to mandatory detention) without fully appreciating the import of pleading guilty. The logic is that some of these people-had they been fully informed--may have elected to go trial rather than speed up their own removal. Padilla vs. Kentucky, the seminal and watershed Supreme Court case that defines the duty of criminal defense lawyers representing non-citizens, perceptively reframes the issue: it is not so much about the legal obligations triggered by collateral consequences but more about receiving effective assistance of counsel.

Are There Immigration Consequences to New Jersey 2C:33-2.1 Wandering for Drugs?

Foreign nationals charged with drug-related crimes in New Jersey need to be aware that there may be consequences that extend far beyond the criminal penalties associated with the offense. In the immigration context, a conviction for a crime that involves controlled dangerous substances can not only potentially thwart an application for permanent residence but also result in an individual's removal from the United States.

Are There Deportation Consequences to 2C:33-2 New Jersey Disorderly Conduct?

Considered something of a "catch-all" because it covers such a broad range of unlawful conduct, Disorderly Conduct is one of the most frequently charged criminal offenses in New Jersey. It is usually lodged as an original offense or in many cases, offered as a downgrade or amendment to a more serious criminal offense. N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2 defines the crime as follows (as of 2014):

What is the Effect of a New Jersey Expungement on Immigration Status?

The short answer, at the risk of being overly simplistic, is that there is no effect. Expungements, in general, are often very useful to individuals who have pled or been found guilty of criminal offenses; however, it does not vitiate the effect of such a conviction on an individual's immigration status. In other words, even though an expungement might serve to remove any record of a person's arrest/conviction in New Jersey, it does not "erase it" for purposes of immigration, whether that means in the context of deportability, inadmissibility, prosecutorial discretion motions, eligibility for relief in immigration court, or applying for naturalization. The conviction still exists in the immigration arena, even though it practically disappears from most other contexts of an individual's life.

Could NJ Theft of Services (2C:20-8) or 16:87-2.2 Have Immigration Consequences That Get You Deported?

Theft of Services is a common criminal offense charged in New Jersey given that the statute covers a broad range of criminal conduct. Some people may be surprised to learn conduct such as evading or willfully failing to pay transportation fare is potentially a criminal offense that falls under this statute. Title 2C of the New Jersey Criminal Code defines the crime of Theft of Services as the following:

Can New Jersey Criminal Mischief 2C:17-3 Affect My Citizenship Application?

One of the core requirements for naturalization is a showing of good moral character ("GMC") during the statutory period, which in most cases, is five years. Any criminal conviction or even arrest during that period could potentially affect a showing of good moral character. The crime of criminal mischief is one such offense that could lead to a negative finding by an Immigration Services Officer ("ISO") adjudicating the application.

Immigration Consequences of a Disorderly Persons Offense in NJ

In light of the Supreme Court's watershed decision, Padilla vs. Kentucky, criminal defense attorneys are now obligated to properly counsel their foreign national clients as to the immigration consequences of a conviction. In cases where the consequences are clear, the defendant should be appropriately advised; in situations where the answer may not be as transparent, clients should be advised to consult with immigration attorneys who can assess the consequences. When major felonies are involved, almost all parties these days recognize the need to cover this base. Unfortunately, even though our municipal courts routinely advise criminal defendants during the opening remarks, many defendants who are not US citizens still fail to appreciate that immigration consequences are not limited to major crimes. Some disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey may also trigger drastic immigration consequences.

PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION

    • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb
    • Client Distinction Award martindale.com | 2016 Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award
    • New Jersey State Bar Association | Paris Lee Chair - Immigration Section 2015-2016
    • Nationally Recognized | Newsweek Nationwide Showcase | Top Attorneys 2013
    • New Jersey Chapter | American Immigration Lawyers Association | Angie Garasia | Chapter Chair 2015-2016
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Lee & Garasia, LLC
190 State Route 27
Edison, NJ 08820

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