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Defense Strategies for Immigrants Facing Criminal Charges (For 2024)


Being arrested and charged with a crime is scary for both U.S. citizens and non-citizens. However, for non-citizens, there is more to worry about. For example, depending on the crime in question, if an immigrant is convicted, they could be removed or deported from the U.S. Examples of convictions that can threaten an immigrant’s immigration status include aggravated felonies, crimes of moral turpitude, and firearms-related crimes. A criminal conviction can also result in an immigrant being barred from renewing their immigration status in the future. Even for immigrants who have been in the country for years, a criminal conviction can have devastating consequences. Fortunately, there are defense strategies that immigrants facing criminal charges can use to get a favorable outcome. If you are an immigrant facing criminal charges, it is in your best interest to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney who can help you. A skilled defense attorney can help you develop a suitable defense strategy.

How Immigrants Can Defend Against Criminal Charges

If you are an immigrant facing criminal charges in the United States, several defense strategies may be available for use in your case. The defense strategy you use in your case will depend on the specifics of your case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can assess your case and help you develop the best defense strategy. That said, the following are some of the key strategies immigrants can use to fight against criminal charges;

  1. Arguing a Violation of Constitutional Rights

Just like citizens, immigrants have legal rights under the United States Constitution. However, your rights as an immigrant may depend on your exact status. Regardless of your immigration status, you have, among others, the right to be free from illegal searches and seizures, the right to remain silent, and the right to due process. If your legal rights were violated, you can use the violation as a defense. For example, if the prosecution obtained evidence through an unlawful search and seizure, this could be grounds to have the evidence suppressed, which could result in a dismissal of your charges. If the exclusion of evidence does not result in your charges being dropped, it will most definitely weaken the prosecutor’s case.

  1. Presumption of Innocence

Another crucial right you have as an immigrant is the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Asserting this right can form the basis of a solid defense. Generally, you can only be convicted of a crime in the U.S. if the prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. It can be challenging to meet this evidentiary standard.

  1. Challenging the Credibility of Witnesses

You can challenge the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses. For example, you could impeach witnesses based on motives to lie and inconsistencies in their testimony.

  1. Having Exculpatory Evidence

One of the best ways to fight against criminal charges is to introduce evidence that demonstrates your innocence, also called exculpatory evidence. This can include witness testimonies and physical or documentary evidence supporting your version of events.

Contact Our NYC Criminal Attorney

If you are an immigrant facing criminal charges and need help developing a robust defense strategy, contact our skilled and dedicated NYC criminal Attorney at Mark I. Cohen, Esq.

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