J. Molina Law Firm

What is a Conviction for Immigration Court

One of the most important things you can do to fight deportation in immigration court is show that you are a good person. Most criminal offenses make it hard to tell if a person has a good moral character, and most criminal offenses or arrests require a conviction. When a judge or jury finds someone guilty it is a conviction. 

A conviction, for immigration purposes, can also exist without a judge or jury finding a person guilty if the following conditions are met: 

  1. The person has pleaded guilty or no contest or has admitted enough facts to warrant a finding of guilt.
  2. The judge has ordered the person to be punished in some way, fined, or restricted the person’s liberty.  

However, a conviction does not occur until the court issues a sentence. For immigration purposes a conviction implies that a court issues a penalty or punishment.  Similarly, there is no conviction if there is no formal finding of guilt.   

It’s not always clear if someone has been arrested and convicted of a crime. Several states have laws that reduce the severity of a conviction. In a few states, adjudication can be put off if a guilty verdict is reached or a guilty confession is made. Some states have pre-trial diversion programs to keep cases out of the criminal court system. In some cases, this allows a person to seek treatment and avoid harsh consequences of a criminal conviction. 

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