Crimmigration  – Where Immigration and Criminal Defense Collide

 Frequently Asked Questions – Immigration and Criminal Defenseimmigration and criminal FAQ

We have decided to write a blog that addresses some of questions that we frequently get regarding how immigration and criminal law interact. If you have additional questions, let us know by submitting a question online, or by calling us to set up a consultation with an immigration attorney.

My loved one is locked up on a domestic assault. He has no status with regard to citizenship. There is an ICE hold. His attorney asked for a “low cash bond”. Why?

Oftentimes, when there is an ICE hold (click here to learn more), criminal defense lawyers will ask for a low cash bond for their client, rather than asking the judge to unsecure the bond. This is because, if there is an ICE hold, once the bond is unsecured, the client will be released, and ICE will pick him up. If there is a low cash bond, there is a chance that the client can stay in state lock up while the attorneys work to sort out their criminal and immigration issues. Typically, the client and the attorney are in agreement that remaining in state custody is the better option.

My loved one has been in jail for months on some felony charges. Why isn’t his criminal defense lawyer or immigration lawyer speeding up the process?

Unfortunately, criminal charges generally take a while to sort out. This is especially true when there is a felony charge. The criminal defense lawyer has very little ability to impact the speed at which the prosecutor chooses to usher the case along. It is very common for felony charges to be pending for a year or longer.

My loved one is facing NC state criminal charges. He is locked up in state court and has an ICE hold. He just wants to be deported. Can he just ask to leave?

The person in this scenario has a few options to try. They should consult with a criminal defense lawyer and immigration lawyer before trying any of these options. For informational purposes, we will explain some of these options:

Option 1. Request a bond hearing (if entitled to one) and get the judge to unsecure the bond. Once the bond is unsecure, then the defendant will be released from state custody and ICE will take him into custody. Oftentimes, if the charge is not of much interest to the state, the state will dismiss the charge and allow for the defendant to be deported immediately. Other times, deportation proceeding must take place over a longer period of time.

Option 2. Plead guilty to the deportable offense (if charged with a deportable offense) and allow for deportation to take place. Do so with caution – you will not be able to get back into the country very easily.

My loved one has a criminal case in state court. It was dismissed. Why is he still in custody?

In this case, both the State government and the Federal government have the legal authority to detain your loved one. A person that is being held on state criminal charges AND has a federal ICE hold has to combat two huge obstacles in order to get out of custody. They have to navigate the state charges as well as the immigration issues. This is a common situation that many of our clients find themselves in. It is also one of the most difficult criminal justice predicaments to be in.

If you are facing immigration issues in North Carolina, contact an immigration lawyer today. If you or a loved one is also facing criminal charges, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney as well.