Ninety percent of our clients find themselves in Immigration Court removal proceedings because they committed a crime. Even for legal permanent residents, crimes as small as two retail thefts can result in being placed into removal proceedings while for someone who has no status, i.e., they entered illegally, a single driving under the influence of alcohol can result in removal from the United States. It should also be noted that the Federal Government’s tough stance on illegal drugs also results in removal and, even if you are a legal permanent resident, possession of marijuana, greater than 30 grams, will get you removed.
As discussed in Pleas of Guilty, a non-citizen ought never to plea guilty to any offense without consulting a reputable Immigration Attorney. In many instances, we have been able to suggest alternative offenses or alternative sentences which do not result in removal. Supervision and no sentence time does not mean, under Federal Immigration law, that you were not convicted. Immigration law interprets the word conviction differently than Illinois law and, thus, you need to be careful of accepting any plea of guilty in the Illinois criminal courts.
Even if you have plead guilty, in many instances, we have been able to file a Petition for Post Conviction relief in which we have persuaded Illinois criminal courts to vacate previously entered pleas of guilty based upon ineffective assistance of counsel. See, Reopening your Case: Post Conviction Petitions.