Lee & Garasia, LLC
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Criminal Law & Municipal Court Archives

Will I Have Problems With Immigration If I Travel With A Criminal Record From NJ?

While many people who are not US Citizens are increasingly aware that they ought to seek the advice of an immigration lawyer prior to entering a plea to a criminal charge, they may not necessarily be asking the right questions to their immigration lawyer, or worse, the criminal defense or immigration lawyer may not be evaluating all of the immigration consequences to a plea. Besides issues of deportability-that is, whether the alien may be deported after already being admitted to the US-there are also questions of admissibility, which can be incredibly complex. In other words, what if the alien who is a permanent resident or here on some sort of visa decides to travel abroad after entering a plea of guilty? What will be the impact of that guilty plea on the alien's ability to re-enter the United States? For many people, this is an equally important consideration, as individuals may have families in foreign countries or their own personal reasons for wanting to travel abroad. It is not uncommon, for example, for individuals who are here with H-1B status, to remain stranded in their native countries (especially India) because these are found to be inadmissible when they apply for their "stamp" or visa. Many people understandably do not want to stay trapped or confined in the US in order to insulate themselves from removability. Admissibility also comes into play when an alien pursues a visa abroad, whether it be a non-immigrant or immigrant one. (A non-immigrant visa is a temporary visa that allows the individual to come and stay in the United States for a limited duration; an immigrant visa, in contrast, confers permanent residence on the alien and allows that person to stay in the US indefinitely.) Similarly, if the individual is already in the US, even if he or she has already been admitted (ie., on a visitor's visa), there are nevertheless issues of admissibility if that person wishes to file for adjustment of status.

What Are The Immigration Consequences Of Violating A Domestic Violence Restraining Order in New Jersey?

Restraining Orders are orders of protection granted by the Court to prohibit an individual from contact with the person claiming that his/her life, health, or well being is being threatened. They are intended to safeguard victims of domestic violence. While a restraining order is civil in nature, there are a number of consequences that can extend into both the criminal and immigration arenas.

NJ Criminal Immigration Attorney: Is there a deportation waiver for domestic violence?

One of the more common grounds of removal known to immigration practitioners, but no so much to the general public, is a conviction for a crime of domestic violence. Many permanent residents and aliens-and sometimes their attorneys-- are sometimes so focused on the dangers of aggravated felonies and crimes involving moral turpitude, that they neglect to ascertain whether they are exposed to a charge of deportability based on this ground. INA 237(a)(2)(E) states: "Any alien who at any time after admission is convicted of a crime of domestic violence, a crime of stalking, or a crime of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment is deportable." Interestingly, there is no parallel inadmissibility provision for domestic violence. But what about situations where battered spouses are convicted of domestic violence crimes even though they may have been acting in response to an alleged attack by their abuser? Fortunately, the Immigration and Nationality Act recognizes limited circumstances like these and provides for a waiver to possibly waive the deportability teeth of a domestic violence conviction. The waiver can be found in INA 237(a)(7) and applies to victims of domestic violence victims. It states that the Attorney General may waive the deportability provisions of a domestic violence crime for a person "who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty and who is not and was not the primary perpetrator of violence in the relationship upon a determination that-

Can An Immigrant In a New Jersey Jail Be Deported Before Finishing The Criminal Sentence?

While by no means an ordinary practice, there are limited situations where an individual who is not a United States citizen who is convicted of a criminal offense may be removed to his/her native country prior to completion of the criminal sentence. It is not available in every state but where it is available, it is coordinated through the ICE Rapid REPAT program, a smaller component of the ICE ACCESS (Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security) initiate. The three main elements of the program, as outlined on ICE's fact sheets, are the following:

Would A Criminal Offense in NJ Municipal Court Qualify Under The Petty Offense Exception?

As has been discussed in previous entries, a conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude ("CIMT") constitutes one of the most common grounds of removability-whether it be in terms of deportability or inadmissibility. What exactly is a crime involving moral turpitude is, of course, a very complicated question subject to much interpretation and beyond the scope of this discussion. In short, though, crimes involving moral turpitude are generally those that are considered against the standards of common morality and almost always involve some knowing or purposeful conduct. Crimes which involve fraud, deceit, or intentional inflectional of severe physical injury usually are at risk of being classified as such. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude or, under certain circumstances, even an admission of having committed a CIMT, is a ground of inadmissibility under section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which would not only potentially bar an individual from being legally admitted to the US but also prevent an individual from qualifying for a green card or visa, whether immigrant or non-immigrant. Fortunately, there is a safe harbor: it is titled the Petty Offense Exception, and serves to exempt one CIMT offense under certain specified conditions.

Can I Be Deported For Accepting Pretrial Intervention (PTI) in New Jersey?

If an individual charged with an indictable criminal offense is fortunate enough, he or she will be given the opportunity to participate in PreTrial Intervention or PTI. PTI is a mechanism in New Jersey's criminal justice system by which certain cases that meet a specified criteria are diverted from the prosecution track. The specific guidelines are delineated in Court Rule 3:28. If the defendant successfully completes the program, which entails a probationary period, not to exceed thirty six months, during which he or she must keep out of trouble, the charge or charges will ultimately be dismissed. For a US Citizen, PTI is often one of the first options a criminal defense attorney will explore on behalf of the client. However, for the foreign national who is not a US citizen, PTI-while, for the most part, still an excellent alternative-can be perilous, particularly when it comes to a plea or admission of guilt, which sometimes happens before entry into the program. The reason is that while the PTI ordinarily disposes of the charge and actually results in a dismissal of the charge-the guilty plea still exists or counts for immigration purposes despite the fact that the criminal charge has been dismissed. And as many people know or should know, a conviction of certain criminal offenses will expose an alien to potential removal.

Is A New Jersey Drunk Driving (DWI) A Crime Of Moral Turpitude?

What exactly is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (also commonly known by its acronym "CIMT")? There are few terms in the English language as frustratingly enigmatic as the above rubric. It is a legal term of art that, in many ways, defies strict definition. The case law in this area, if anything, shows just how amorphous its borders can be. For a non-citizen, fewer classifications are fraught with more peril other than aggravated felonies and arguably controlled substance offenses. This is in large part because a CIMT can lead to deportation, absent a waiver (if one is legally available). A useful starting definition can be found in Matter of Short, a Board of Immigration Appeals Case: CIMT "refers generally to conduct which is inherently base, vile, or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general...moral turpitude has been defined as an each which is per se morally reprehensible and extrinsically wrong..."

New Jersey Conditional Dismissal Program For Municipal Court Signed Into Law

We had written earlier about the potential impact of the proposed Conditional Dismissal Program on alien defendants in Municipal Court.  We just learned today that the Bill was signed into law by the Governor and will become effective within 120 days.  Here is the link to the bill:  


    • 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
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