Today we are going to discuss domestic violence.
As with any conviction, having domestic violence on your record can be very costly. Not only are there court fees to pay, but first-time offenders often have to enroll in 52 weeks of classes for anything from parenting to anger management. These classes can disrupt your routine or work schedule and missing even a single class can result in failed probation or jail time.
The first thing to keep in mind is that not all domestic violence crimes are treated equally for immigration purposes. For example, in California, “spousal battery” and “corporal injury to a spouse” are two different types of domestic violence – but only one makes you deportable!
Deportable crimes of domestic violence are found under Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Another consequence is that committing domestic violence can delay someone’s ability to apply for Citizenship for up to 5 years. This is true even when there is only an arrest and no criminal conviction. In most cases, applicants for United States citizenship, through a process known as naturalization, must maintain 5 years of good moral character before applying. During this crucial 5-year period, even an arrest that does not lead to a conviction can result in denial.
Finally, some domestic violence convictions can lead to Deportation without bail. This is a law known as mandatory detention and applies to some domestic violence crimes with a jail or prison sentence of a year or more. Sometimes, the best strategy for immigrants is to plead to a crime and avoid a lengthy sentence. This is true even if the sentence is suspended during completion of probation.
Mandatory detention can lead to years behind bars awaiting Deportation – even after the sentence given by the criminal court for the crime. For this reason, it is important to have a crimmigration attorney on your side to let you know all the possible consequences of a plea, even some that won’t happen until years later.
If you or a loved one faces a domestic violence charge, consult a crimmigration attorney right away who can let you know all the possible consequences of a plea.