You haven’t worried about your friend facing deportation because she has a green card. Unfortunately, if she gets charged or convicted of certain crimes, the green card won’t protect her from being sent out of the USA for good.
She’s Done It Right
When she came to the USA, she did it the legal way and obtained a permanent, lawful resident status. She was given a green card and has been able to work, live and enjoy all of the perks of living in the USA (except for voting).
It was great until she got arrested and charged with a crime. Now, she faces serious trouble in addition to the actual charge.
Protecting Her from Deportation
Convictions for violent/aggravated felonies typically get the immigrant deported. One way defense attorneys help a client avoid deportation is, instead of fighting a conviction, offering to have the immigrant plead to a reduced charge – a charge that does not qualify for deportation.
This allows her to remain in the country, but often the state will insist that she do some jail time in exchange for agreeing to the reduced charge.
Was she punished?
In immigration courts, some convictions carry automatic deportation if a punishment was involved. For example, probation, incarceration or a combination of both – though a fine or an order to perform community service — also qualify as punishment.
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Some Crimes Don’t Require Convictions
Many drug-related charges do not have to end in conviction for your friend to be deported. For example, if she is known to the court system as a drug addict, or if she is accused of using, manufacturing or selling drugs, the courts do not have to wait until she is convicted to begin the deportation process. These decisions are called “conduct-based” decisions.
Final thoughts: Having a green card doesn’t protect your friend from deportation when it comes to drug charges or conviction of violent crimes. An attorney experienced in immigration law can advise her about his specific case.