Too often defense attorneys either through fear or intimidation settle for a negotiated plea in criminal court that does not serve his or her client’s best interest.
For non-citizen defendants maintaining his or her life in the United States is their biggest concern. It is especially unfortunate that many judges and prosecutors may see immigration as a collateral issue even though the fear of being deported as a result of a guilty plea is often the most important interest that a non-citizen immigrant client has. Deportation or removal from the United States can signify a complete change in a person’s life and destroy everything that the client has worked to achieve.
At Uribe & Uribe APLC we know it is in our client’s best interest to not settle for a plea bargain that can lead to deportation, exclusion from admission, or denial of naturalization later in immigration court, instead it is important to navigate around any potential immigration consequences to avoid removal in immigration court.
An aggressive defense against an aggressive prosecution levels the playing field in a court of criminal law. The immigration and criminal defense attorneys at Uribe & Uribe APLC enable a noncitizen client to have a chance at maintaining his or her life in the United States. In fact, the United States Supreme Court agrees immigration concerns are an important consideration for a non-citizen client. In Padilla v. Kentucky (2010), the U.S. Supreme Court made deportation an exception to the collateral consequences rule, and held for the first time that counsel’s failure to advise a criminal defendant of the deportation consequences of a guilty plea constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel.
The stakes are raised when a client is a non-citizen and is faced with the decision of accepting a “deal” in criminal court versus risking deportation as a result of the “deal” in Immigration Court. The reality is that a criminal conviction can be the cause of deportation. Post-conviction relief in criminal court can mean setting aside a criminal conviction, changing a conviction to another charge, or reducing the charge, and most importantly can mean avoiding deportation and removal from the United States.