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Legal immigrants and deportation due to convictions

California lawful permanent residents may be subject to deportation and removal proceedings if they are convicted of certain types of criminal offenses. Other minor offenses may not trigger such proceedings, however.

Under immigration law, people may be deported if they commit crimes involving moral turpitude. Crimes that fall into this category include aggravated assaults, sex offenses, prostitution, arson, counterfeiting, bigamy, blackmail, murder and rape, among others. People may also be deported if they commit a crime that can result in a sentence of one year or more in jail or prison. Conviction of two or more moral turpitude crimes arising out of separate events may also lead to deportation and removal, as can conviction for aggravated felonies.

Low-level offenses such as simple assaults, disorderly conduct or others may not trigger deportation and removal proceedings. For some offenses that do trigger deportation, people may be able to get a waiver or raise a defense to the deportation and removal.

Because of the large overlap of criminal and immigration laws, it is important for people to make certain any plea they might consider will not have a negative impact on their lawful immigration status. Experienced attorneys will advise their clients of the potential immigration consequences a particular plea or conviction may bring. Lawful permanent residents who have been charged with even minor offenses may want to consult with an immigration attorney before accepting a plea. If they have already pleaded and were not appropriately advised, they may also want to seek help. An immigration attorney may be able to help a client with a deportation defense. An attorney may be able to request and seek a waiver for the client to prevent a loss of status and deportation.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber