Domestic violence and Immigration Consequences

Domestic violence convictions have significant consequences on an individual’s immigration status in the U.S.  There are multiple grounds that result in deportation from a domestic violence conviction including those that qualify under the DV deportation law, DV “aggravated felonies,” or DV crimes of “moral turpitude.”   

Domestic violence deportation law 

Any non-citizen convicted of domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment, is deportable but not necessarily inadmissible.  It doesn’t matter how long the person has held the visa or green card.  It does not require the conviction to be a felony and requires no particular sentence.  A minor misdemeanor conviction will trigger removal even if no sentence to custody is imposed.  However, it may not trigger mandatory detention during removal proceedings and will not stop the clock on the 7 years continuous residence for eligibility for cancellation of removal for lawful permanent residents. 

Domestic Violence defined as a “crime of violence”   

Domestic violence are crimes committed by a current or former spouse, a co-parent of a child, a live-in or domestic partner or ex-spouse, or anyone else who acts against someone who is legally protected by local or federal domestic or family violence laws.  Domestic violence is designated a “crime of violence” when there is the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person or the person’s property, or any felony offense that involves a substantial risk that physical force may be used against a person or the person’s property (18 USC§16).

Domestic Violence “Aggravated Felony”

An immigrant can be deported for a an “aggravated felony” conviction.  Some domestic violence crimes are considered aggravated felonies.  An “aggravated felony” is any crime of violence punished with a sentence of 1 year or more.  If you are convicted of an aggravated felony, it will result in nearly automatic deportation, a permanent bar to returning to the U.S., a bar to almost all forms of relief from deportation, and mandatory detention.    

Domestic violence crime of “moral turpitude”

Domestic violence is a crime of “moral turpitude.”  An immigrant can be removed from the U.S. if they have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude that they committed within five years of being admitted to the U.S. and the crime carried a possible sentence of one year or more, or two or more crimes involving moral turpitude, which did not arise out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct, regardless of whether they served a sentence or whether the convictions occurred during a single court trial.

Violation of Protection order and Deportability

Violations of protection orders can also make an immigrant deportable.  A “protection order” is any court-issued temporary or final injunction issued to prevent domestic violence or threats.

How Immigration Authorities Find out about domestic violence

Pursuant to the Priority Enforcement Program, the fingerprints of those arrested are sent to the FBI for a criminal background check.  This information is then sent to ICE to determine deportation priority.   An offense of domestic violence is considered a “significant misdemeanor,” a second-level deportation priority.

Renewal of Green Card

Any application for a renewal of a green card or U.S. citizenship will require the person to submit fingerprints, which will reveal arrests or convictions for domestic violence related charges. 

You don’t have to plead guilty, contact our office today for a free same day consultation

We have successfully represented many individuals accused of domestic violence charges.  Even in tough cases, we are almost always able to get a better resolution in a case then if you handled it yourself, had the public defender, or other private attorney.  Our experienced and aggressive negotiating efforts usually result in dismissed or reduced charges and lesser punishment including less jail days, shorter classes, and smaller fines. Call out office today at (916) 939-3900 for a free consultation.