If you are in the United States as an immigrant and are accused of domestic violence, it’s of the utmost importance that you get the help you need to defend yourself. A domestic violence arrest is likely to disrupt your life and family in many ways, and it can become complicated quickly if there is the potential for the offense to influence your right to stay in the country.
It’s possible that you could lose your immigration status if you are found guilty of a domestic violence charge. This is true even if you already have a Green Card. Here is more about what you should know if you’re facing these charges.
You could lose your status if you’re convicted
Even if you are already in the United States on a Green Card, it’s possible that you could lose your legal right to stay in the country if you’re convicted of a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony. Domestic violence crimes may sometimes fall into those categories.
Any domestic violence charge with the potential to have a sentence of a year or longer could be classified as an aggravated felony. A crime of moral turpitude could involve any kind of crime that is morally unacceptable, such as false imprisonment of a spouse, child abuse and other kinds of assault.
What happens if you’re convicted of domestic violence?
If you are convicted of domestic violence, it’s important for you to know what might happen next. Depending on the sentence, you could be deported based on the information provided to the U.S. immigration authorities. The authorities may place a hold on your status temporarily as they go over the case. Then, once you serve your sentence, that hold may be released. At that time, you may go to an immigration hearing where it will be determined if you’ll be ineligible for citizenship, deported or face other immigration-related penalties.
If you face domestic violence charges, make sure you take the time to get to know your rights. You have an opportunity to defend yourself and minimize the risk of unfair penalties moving forward.