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Can a green card holder be deported for being arrested?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2023 | Immigration

California immigrants with a green card are legally allowed to permanently live and work in the United States; however, there are still situations that can cause green card holders to be deported.

Green card holders must follow U.S. laws. Violating these laws not only subjects the green card holder to potential penalties but also potential deportation.

Crimes that could cause you to be deported

If you are a green card holder, knowing you might face deportation for violating the law can cause you a great deal of stress. However, only certain crimes are considered deportable crimes.

These include offenses involving domestic violence, drugs, firearms and fraud against the government. An aggravated felony or a crime of “moral turpitude” can also subject you to possible deportation.

There is no specific definition for a crime of moral turpitude, but crimes involving dishonesty or an intent to harm someone are likely to qualify.

A conviction may or may not be required for deportation

In most situations, simply being arrested for the crime will not put you in danger of deportation. As with any other criminal case, the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction against you.

However, there are some situations where you could be deported without a conviction, which is why you should act quickly after you are arrested.

What to do after an arrest

You have the right to remain silent and ask for an attorney. In addition to securing a criminal defense attorney, it could also be helpful to talk with an immigration attorney to learn if or how the arrest could affect your green card status.

Even if you cannot get your criminal charges dismissed, you can try negotiating with the prosecutor to protect your green card status.

For example, you could agree to spend a little more time in jail or on probation in exchange for your green card being protected. Your options depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case, so it is vital to reach out to people who can help as soon as you can.