Immigration Impact of Criminal Convictions – Strategy for New Jersey Criminal Lawyers in Assessing Plea Bargains

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

An individual who is living legally in the U.S. can be deported if he or she is convicted of a crime while here. Federal law specifies, however, that deportation has to be automatic if the individual is convicted of what the law calls an “aggravated felony” – a phrase that has turned out to be a challenge to define in a string of Supreme Court cases.

In Moncrieffe v. Holder, No. 11-702, the United States Supreme Court sorted out what kind of a conviction under state law for possessing marijuana amounts to a felony that would lead to automatic deportation, with no chance to challenge the exclusion. The Court reviewed a case in which a man who is a native of Jamaica, but had lived in the U.S. since he was three years old, who was convicted in Georgia of having a small amount of marijuana in his car; the conviction was for possession with the aim of distributing it.
Only if the crime for which the individual was punished under state law closely matches what federal drug law treats as a serious offense, the Court said, can a conviction under the state law lead to automatic deportation.

The Moncrieffe … Read More

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