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Crimes That Can Lead to Deportation 

Messina Madson & Kendall Castello, MC Criminal Law Jan. 3, 2023

Immigration and criminal law are two distinct legal fields, but they can intersect in several ways. If you are a non-citizen facing criminal charges, it is important to understand how the outcome of your criminal case could lead to deportation. Certain types of crimes can make an individual deportable—and depending on the severity of the crime, the consequences could be more serious than just deportation. 

At MC Criminal Law, our criminal defense attorneys have more than 30 years of combined legal experience and statewide recognition. We are known for our meticulous attention to detail and our relentless approach to criminal defense. We have tried over 300 cases to a jury. With an office in Dallas, Texas, we serve citizens and non-citizens facing criminal charges throughout North Texas.  

Aggravated Felonies & Moral Turpitude  

There are many reasons a non-citizen may be deported from the United States. One of the reasons is being convicted of a crime. However, not all crimes can lead to deportation. The two main categories of crimes that could cause a non-citizen to be placed in removal proceedings are: 

  • Aggravated felonies. Under federal law, any non-citizen who has been convicted of an aggravated felony is considered deportable from the United States. An aggravated felony is defined as a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year that involves murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor child, illicit trafficking in controlled substances or firearms, certain financial crimes (e.g., fraud or tax evasion), and other offenses listed under 8 U.S. Code § 1101(a). If a non-citizen has been convicted of an aggravated felony, they may face mandatory deportation unless they meet certain exceptions that may be available in their situation.  

  • Crimes involving moral turpitude. Another type of crime that may make an individual deportable is a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT). These are generally defined as offenses that involve fraud or are otherwise considered inherently base, vile, or depraved under federal law. Crimes such as larceny, arson, and burglary are commonly classified as CIMTs. However, this determination depends on the particular facts and circumstances surrounding each case. If a non-citizen has been convicted of one CIMT within five years after their admission into the United States (or two CIMTs at any time), they may be subject to removal proceedings even if they were not sentenced to jail time for their conviction(s). 

Aggravated felonies and certain types of crimes involving moral turpitude may result in deportation and other serious consequences for non-citizens accused or convicted of them. For this reason, reach out to experienced legal representation from an attorney who understands both criminal and immigration laws before making any decisions about your case. 

Filing a Waiver to Avoid Deportation 

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to file a waiver and reapply for a green card as a defense to removal proceedings after committing a deportable crime. However, this form of relief is available primarily to those who have been convicted of crimes of moral turpitude. Filing a waiver serves as a form of legal forgiveness.  

According to the U.S. Congress website, only three categories of non-citizens can apply for this kind of waiver: 

  1. Non-citizens applying for an immigrant visa through consular processing;  

  1. Non-citizens applying for adjustment of status within the U.S.; and 

  1. Non-citizens using an immigrant visa to apply for admission when arrived at a designated U.S. port of entry.  

However, there are other criteria that must be met to qualify for a waiver to avoid deportation. These include showing that you are not a threat to national security and/or proving that your removal from the country would cause extreme hardship to your lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen family member (spouse, parent, or child). In addition, your ability to avoid deportation through this kind of waiver depends on the circumstances surrounding the crime and proof of rehabilitation, among other things.  

With the help of experienced counsel familiar with both areas of law, you can better understand your options and increase your chances for a favorable outcome in both criminal court and immigration court proceedings if necessary.  

Speak with an experienced and compassionate criminal defense attorney at MC Criminal Law if you have been accused of a crime or believe that you are being investigated for a crime. Do not speak to law enforcement or USCIS agents without first talking to an attorney. We are committed to helping you improve the outcome of your case so that you can avoid the potentially negative consequences.  

Strong & Reliable Representation   

If you are a non-citizen facing criminal charges in the United States, it is important to understand how your case could affect your immigration status—even if you have not yet been convicted or sentenced for your offense(s). At MC Criminal Law, we handle each case with personalized attention and resourceful counsel. If you fear that your criminal charges could lead to deportation, speak with our criminal defense lawyers in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your options. 


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