Criminal Law Legal Help for Immigrants in Pennsylvania

Information Regarding Deportable Offenses

Under federal immigration laws, temporary or permanent residents can be deported if convicted of certain crimes. Because federal immigration laws are generally geared towards the removal of criminal offenders, the list of deportable offenders is too long to include on this blog page. However, a list of charges that commonly lead to deportation includes:

If you face any of the above charges or any other criminal charges in Pennsylvania and are concerned about your right to remain in the U.S., contact the Harrisburg law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP.

We understand that, as an immigrant, you face the possibility of separation from your family and a return to problematic situation in your nation of origin. We can draw on decades of legal experience when working to fight your charges and keep you in the U.S.

A key step is to work to have charges reduced to a legal that won’t lead to deportation. We can work with prosecutors, local law enforcement officers and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to this end. We can also conduct an investigation and determine other steps, i.e. does it make sense to work to have your charges dismissed?

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we keep apprised of the constantly changing laws that affect your rights as an immigrant in the U.S. For more information regarding deportable offenses in Pennsylvania, please contact our office by calling 717-233-5292.

Deportable Offenses

Under U.S. immigration laws, if you have temporary or permanent residency status, you can still face deportation proceedings if you are convicted of certain crimes. In some cases, when the criminal prosecution begins, the judge may also initiate deportation proceedings, and seek to have you permanently removed from the country. You have the right to fight these proceedings, but you want an experienced lawyer to protect your rights. This blog identifies the types of offenses that may lead to deportation proceedings, as well as some basic steps you should take to protect your rights.

Types of Crimes that May Lead to Deportation or Removal Proceedings

As a general rule, most minor misdemeanors or infractions will not be the basis for a deportation proceeding. Traffic violations, including drunk driving, generally do not rise to the level of offense leading to removal efforts. However, the following crimes can make you a party to a deportation proceeding:

    Drug offenses, such as possession, sale or trafficking, and manufacturing or cultivation
    • Firearms crimes, including illegal possession or sale of a weapon
    • Domestic violence
    • Sex crimes, such as rape, molestation, prostitution or solicitation, or child pornography offenses
    • Violent crimes, including assault and homicide
    • Kidnapping

Taking Steps to Protect Your Rights

When you have been charged with a criminal offense as a green card holder, your first step should be to contact an experienced attorney. You will be entitled to a phone call when taken into custody. Use that call to contact your lawyer and request that they come to the police station.

Once you have been taken into custody, you have certain constitutional rights. The police must notify you of your Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent, and the right to have an attorney present. It is important that you exercise your right not to talk with police. Even though the American criminal justice system is based on the belief that you are innocent until proven guilty, the police will exert more energy to establish your guilt than to prove your innocence.

If you are merely under investigation and the police show up at your home, you do not have to allow them in, unless they have a valid search warrant. Don’t let them come in if they don’t have one. Anything that they see that they can reasonably argue gave them a suspicion of criminal activity will be the basis for an immediate search, and a warrant won’t be necessary.

Contact Our Office

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To arrange a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney, contact us online.

What to Do When You Have Been Charged with a Drug Crime

If you are under investigation for a drug offense, or have been arrested for or charged with a state or federal drug crime, you may be uncertain what you should do to protect your rights and your future. Police and prosecutors can be very aggressive in drug prosecutions. You can feel like the rules are all in favor of the state, and that the language they use is intentionally designed to confuse and intimidate you.

In Pennsylvania, you can be charged with a wide range of criminal acts involving controlled substances, including simple possession, possession with intent to sell, sale or trafficking, manufacturing or cultivation, and drug conspiracy. If you are charged under a federal law, you may risk the forfeiture of your property, if prosecutors can convince the court that you obtained the property with profits from the sale of drugs.

Here are the most important steps to follow when involved in a drug investigation or prosecution:

Hire an attorney as soon as possible—You may view the arrest as a mistake and believe that, if you just carefully explain the facts, everything will be cleared up and you can walk away. This rarely (if ever) happens. Even though you are innocent until proven guilty, police and prosecutors will be looking for anything they can to use against you. They know the law a whole lot better than you, and can easily turn what seems completely innocent into damaging evidence. An attorney will know what to do and what to say (or what not to say).
• Exercise your right to remain silent—The U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to remain silent. You don’t have to talk to police or prosecutors if you don’t want to. Don’t try to talk your way out of trouble. In most instances, you will only make things worse.
• Don’t help the police do their job—To conduct a search or seizure, police must have probable cause, or must have a valid warrant. If the police come to your home, you do not have to let them in, unless they have a warrant. If they don’t have one, politely decline their request to come in.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call us at 717-233-5292. We speak Spanish and understand the impact a criminal charge can have on your efforts to become or remain a permanent citizen.

Interstate Drug Trafficking

If you are under investigation for or have been charged with interstate drug trafficking, sale or distribution, you want an experienced and aggressive lawyer to protect your rights. Interstate trafficking is a federal offense. When you are charged with a drug crime in the federal courts, different rules apply, including the possibility that your assets will be forfeited.

There are many ways to protect your interests in an interstate drug trafficking prosecution:

  • The first is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Because the federal criminal justice system is distinctly different from the state system, you want a lawyer who has handled cases there, who knows federal criminal procedure, and can make certain you don’t unnecessarily provide prosecutors with evidence against you.
  • It is also critical to exercise your constitutional rights, starting with the right to remain silent. You do not have to talk with law enforcement officers or with federal prosecutors without having your attorney present. You also have a right to know the charges against you and to confront your accuser.
  • Don’t allow law enforcement officers to search your property without a warrant. Police must have probable cause to search for drugs or drug paraphernalia. If you voluntarily allow them into your home, they may view evidence that can be used to get a warrant.  Always ask to see a warrant. If they don’t have one, you can ask them to leave.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, every client receives a free initial consultation. Contact us by e-mail or call us at 717-233-5292 to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys. We speak Spanish and understand the impact a criminal charge can have on your efforts to become or remain a permanent citizen.

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