For American citizens, misdemeanors are considered to be relatively minor. Convictions tend to come with modest fines and fees, while prison sentences are usually under a year in length.
A misdemeanor is seen differently when you’re an immigrant to the United States. If you face misdemeanor charges, then you could see your ability to stay in the United States affected.
Will a misdemeanor conviction impact your right to stay in the United States?
It’s possible that it will. The type of crime is just as important, if not more important, than if you face a misdemeanor or felony charge. If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor for a crime of moral turpitude, which would potentially include crimes such as embezzlement, shoplifting or petty theft, then that conviction could be grounds for deportation.
If you are deported, you may also be told that you are ineligible for reentry in a worst-case scenario. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney early on in your case. If possible, the best solution would be to have the charges minimized or dropped completely. If that’s not possible, then an attorney will still fight to minimize the penalties and to protect your right to stay in the United States.
Is it a good idea to talk to an immigration attorney about a criminal offense?
It is essential that any noncitizen who is facing criminal charges of any kind talks to an attorney about their rights and if their right to stay in the United States could be affected. If so, then they will want to have a strong defense against the allegations to protect their interests.