Even if you are a legal immigrant to the United States, there are certain crimes you can commit that will get you deported before your visa is up. Some of them, like murder or drug trafficking, are obvious. But there are some crimes that can get you deported that you might find surprising. Take a look at these criminal convictions that can end in deportation, and contact an experienced immigration lawyer right away if you fear you may be convicted of one of them.
Crimes of Moral Turpitude
If you are caught stealing anything, whether it’s money, merchandise, or personal property, you could be facing deportation. You may be excused and allowed to stay in the US if you are only convicted of petty theft, and if you only serve six months or less in jail.
Like theft, not all assault charges will end in deportation. However, also like theft, if you are sentenced to serve more than six months or the maximum penalty allowed for your assault charge is more than one year, your chances of being allowed to stay are slim. Assault an officer of the law, and there is almost no chance that you will be able to stay.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or another drug may or may not result in deportation. It largely depends on the circumstances surrounding your DUI – if you were involved in an accident while intoxicated, for example, you are in much greater danger of having to leave the US than if you were caught at a police checkpoint.
All crimes of moral turpitude, including theft, assault, and DUIs, among others, are only deportable if they either happened within your first five years in the US, or you have committed two or more crimes independent of one another. An immigration attorney can help you improve your chances of being allowed to stay in the US if you can prove that your crime was not one of moral turpitude or aggravated felony, or if you would either be in danger when you returned to your home country or that you would be leaving a parent, child, or spouse in danger if you had to leave.
Crimes of Aggravated Felony
Fraud and Tax Evasion
Yes, you can be deported for failing to pay your taxes. If you owe the IRS more than $10,000 or were involved in fraud that involved $10,000 or more, you will almost certainly lose your immigrant status in the US and be sent back to your home country.
Child or spousal abuse is almost always considered an aggravated felony, and child neglect can also be an aggravated felony depending on the circumstance.
Other Aggravated Felonies
Other felonies that will almost certainly get you deported include such things as rape, child pornography, murder, treason, and even perjury, or lying under oath. Unlike crimes of moral turpitude, there is no time limit on the United States’ ability to send you back home, and there is very little you can do to have your deportation excused. Your best bet, if you are in danger of being convicted of an aggravated felony, is to hire an experienced immigration attorney as well as a defense lawyer who can help reduce the charge to a misdemeanor in immigration court.