You always do your best to avoid violating the law, but you made a mistake and ended up getting arrested. Although the case is likely to go in your favor, it’s frustrating to know that you’ve violated the law when you are only in the United States on a green card.
If you’re arrested on your green card and do end up with a conviction, it’s possible that your right to renew your green card could be affected. Even in cases where you’re not convicted, an arrest itself may be enough to put your green card at risk, since that arrest can show up on your criminal background check.
Will an arrest stop you from renewing a green card?
If you already have a green card and need to renew it, don’t delay just because of an arrest record. You always have to carry an unexpired green card, so failing to renew it will cause more trouble for you.
Usually, an arrest won’t lead to deportation or problems with your green card, but there are some cases in which a green card might be refused. Some might include if the arrest is for an aggravated felony, a firearms offense or for two deportable crimes. While you might not have your green card denied right away or be deported immediately, there is a risk that these offenses could throw up a red flag to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Do you need to work with an attorney if you have a criminal record?
If you have an offense on your record, it’s not a bad idea to have a discussion with an immigration attorney about how that record might influence your ability to renew your green card. In some cases, you might have the option to expunge your record or get a waiver to help make sure your green card will be renewed without a problem. In other cases, having someone on your side can help you if you need to go to a hearing or appeal a green card denial by the USCIS. You need to know your rights and how to respond if your right to stay in the U.S. is at risk.