A criminal conviction can mean that a non-citizen who is living in Washington State will face deportation. Deportation for a criminal conviction is a possibility even for those who are permanent residents in this country.
Fortunately, people cannot be deported for just any criminal conviction. However, the range of offenses for which a person can face deportation is quite broad.
Not surprisingly, there are several felony offenses for which someone can be deported.
Violent crimes, crimes related to immigration or dishonesty with the government, crimes involving national security and higher level drug crimes are all deportable, even for a first offense.
First-time offenders who are long-term residents can still be deported
Although the seriousness of most of these so-named aggravated felonies might seem obvious, some of these charges can affect a wide swath of people. For example, possession of an illegal drug with intent to distribute is an aggravated felony.
While there are may be some additional deportation defenses available, most other drug offenses are also deportable even if they are not aggravated felonies. On a related note, the immigration law treats crimes related to firearms strictly.
Even though the drug can legally be used in Washington, it is still worth remembering that unlawful possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana is an exception.
However, even a single conviction stemming from possessing a personal use amount of another controlled substance could lead to deportation.
One crime of domestic violence, including the violation of a civil protective order, can also lead to deportation. Many Washington residents face domestic violence charges each year.
Finally, immigration law includes the catch-all deportable “crime of moral turpitude”. A non-citizen can face deportation for committing 1 such crime within the first 5 years of arriving in the United States or 2 such crimes in 2 separate incidents.
An immigrant who is accused of a crime will want to consider a defense
An immigrant accused of a crime in the southern King County or elsewhere in Washington State may have a lot at stake, even beyond usual penalties. He or she should evaluate the legal options carefully.