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Immigrants may face harsher criminal punishments than citizens

Being an immigrant can come with many challenges. You and your loved ones may have come to New Jersey in hopes of finding a fresh start and building your new lives here. Of course, you may not have found many aspects of your journey as easy as you had hoped, and you may now face an even more difficult predicament.

If an officer recently arrested you or a loved one, you may understandably worry about what effects a criminal conviction could have on your or your loved one's immigration status. Unfortunately, the impacts of an arrest and conviction can be far-reaching for individuals who are not American citizens.

What could happen after an accusation of criminal activity?

If you or a loved one faces arrest, it is important to remember that you have legal rights, even as an immigrant. However, it is also important to keep in mind that some criminal activity can be considered more serious for immigrants than it would be for citizens, such as DUI or drug use. If you do stand accused of a crime, any of the following repercussions could affect you or your family member:

  • Denial of a visa
  • Deportation from the United States
  • Denial of entry into the United States
  • Delays in obtaining visas
  • Denial of immigration benefits, such as visa extensions or adjustment of status

Any of these outcomes could have serious effects on you and your family, so you undoubtedly want to effectively handle any type of criminal case in which you may find yourself involved.

Avoiding hardships

Of course, one of the best ways to avoid having to deal with such issues is to avoid any activities that could break the law. As an immigrant, you may need to be more conscientious of your actions because the consequences of even seemingly minor crimes could put you at risk of removal, so always avoid drinking alcohol and driving, and never have illegal substances in your possession, for example.

If you or a loved one are currently facing criminal issues, you may want to remember that you have the right to an attorney, even as an immigrant. Reaching out to a New Jersey attorney who has experience in criminal and immigration law may help you address your case as best as possible and allow you to understand the potential consequences of dealing with such a predicament.

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