How Domestic Violence Affects Green Card Holders in CA
Domestic violence refers to abusive behavior in a relationship where one person seeks power and control over their partner. It can take many forms, including physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, or financial abuse. In California, domestic violence laws cover various offenses, such as assault, battery, stalking, criminal threats, and more.
While domestic violence charges carry severe consequences for anyone in California, a domestic violence conviction can result in particularly harsh consequences for foreign-born citizens and immigrants, including green card holders (individuals who are considered to be lawful permanent residents in the U.S.).
Keep reading to learn more about the crucial steps that lawful permanent residents (LPRs) should take to defend against domestic violence allegations in California and avoid deportation.
Implications of a Domestic Violence Conviction on Immigration Status
Domestic violence convictions carry severe penalties in California, including imprisonment, fines, probation, mandatory participation in a batterer's intervention program, and/or restraining orders. Moreover, a domestic violence conviction can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s personal and professional life, often leading to limited job opportunities and impaired relationships with family and loved ones.
For green card holders (lawful permanent residents) in the U.S., charges for domestic violence or other criminal offense can have especially severe consequences, as a criminal conviction will inevitably impact the defendant’s immigration status. In this blog, we’ll break down key details regarding the potential and life-altering impacts of a domestic violence conviction for lawful permanent residents in California.
Domestic Violence: A Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)
According to U.S. immigration laws, domestic violence is considered a crime of moral turpitude. Under USCIS regulations, “crimes involving moral turpitude” (CIMTs) fall under a specific category of criminal offenses that are considered morally reprehensible or inherently wrong, including (but not limited to):
- Theft offenses, such as burglary, robbery, grand theft, petty theft, receiving stolen property, and shoplifting
- Fraud, such as forgery, embezzlement, fraud, perjury, identity theft, and obtaining property under false pretenses
- Assault offenses, such as aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and domestic violence
- Sex crimes, such as rape, statutory rape, child molestation, lewd acts with a minor, indecent exposure, certain prostitution-related offenses, and possession of child sexual abuse materials (also known as CSAM or child pornography)
- Homicide, such as murder, voluntary manslaughter, and attempted murder
- Kidnapping, including kidnapping for ransom, extortion, or robbery
- Arson, such as willful and malicious arson
- Drug crimes, including drug trafficking, possession for sale, and sale of controlled substances
- Child abuse or endangerment, including willful cruelty to a child or causing or permitting injury to a child
- Animal cruelty, including intentional and malicious harm to animals
Penalties for Green Card Holders Convicted of Domestic Violence
A conviction for domestic violence or other CIMT can render green card holders deportable and ineligible for naturalization under state and federal law in California. If a green card holder is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, they may be placed in removal proceedings and face deportation, depending on the nature and severity of the crime. They may also be barred from applying for U.S. citizenship and may have difficulties re-entering the United States after traveling abroad.
Navigating Domestic Violence Charges as a Green Card Holder
For immigrants and green card holders facing domestic violence cases in court, it’s crucial to establish a strong defense and explore all available legal options to protect your immigration status. This may involve challenging the prosecution's evidence, presenting mitigating factors, negotiating a plea agreement to a lesser offense, or seeking alternative resolutions, such as diversion programs.
The importance of hiring experienced legal counsel to defend your rights cannot be overstated, as a qualified criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between being deported and walking away with your U.S. immigration status intact. Your legal representative can use their in-depth knowledge of state-specific criminal and immigration laws to help you navigate the complexities of criminal court and fight to obtain a favorable outcome on your behalf, in addition to guiding your legal steps with wisdom and integrity.
Domestic violence charges can have significant consequences for U.S. citizens and green card holders alike, with potential impacts like deportation and loss of immigration benefits. No matter what, it’s imperative to seek experienced legal counsel to understand the legal options available to you and protect your rights and immigration status when facing domestic violence charges in California.
Relentlessly Defending the Accused in the East Bay Area
If you've been charged with a crime in California, it's crucial to secure a strong defense from a qualified lawyer as soon as possible to avoid life-changing criminal penalties. Regardless of the criminal charges against you, failure to seek reliable legal counsel can result in serious consequences and even jeopardize your freedom and future. Fortunately, the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed has over a decade of experience advocating for the accused throughout the Bay Area. From sex crimes to internet and cybercrimes, our skilled criminal defense lawyer has successfully handled thousands of criminal cases, making him well-equipped to fiercely defend your rights while keeping your best interests at heart.
As the Bay Area’s top criminal defense law firm, you can trust us to fiercely defend your rights. Call (510) 907-6600 to schedule a consultation.