If you are not a US citizen, one false move can place your ability to remain in this country in danger. Noncitizens can face deportation or inadmissibility if convicted of certain crimes. Unfortunately, even just an arrest can raise a red flag to authorities and could potentially affect your legal status in the US. You can help prevent that from happening by learning a little about your rights and the procedures for detaining and prosecuting noncitizens.
Know Your Rights
If you are arrested, you have a right to remain silent. Local law enforcement is permitted to ask about a lawfully arrested individual’s immigration status, but you have a right to refuse to answer. No matter the circumstances, it’s best to invoke your right to remain silent, decline answering questions about your legal status in the US and say you’d like to speak with an attorney.
Triggering Interest and Immigration Consequences
After an arrest, you may be booked into a county jail. During the booking process, your fingerprints will be taken, which then follow a chain of command to the US Department of Homeland Security. At that point, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can issue a detainer request to hold you in custody for up to 48 hours or ask to be notified when you are released. This most commonly occurs after the booking process and identify verification, but ICE can issue detainers at any point when you’re in custody.
Also please note that federal authorities are cracking down hard on specific criminal activities, such as drug and human trafficking. If you are arrested for one of these offenses, you could face swift action from the federal government. While many offenses can trigger deportation, high-watch ones like drug trafficking usher in more aggressive action.
Trouble in Custody
Facing criminal proceedings as a noncitizen can be fraught with complications, due in part to the involvement of both state and federal authorities. And it could become even more complicated when you’re released from jail. Paying your bond to the county court will secure your release from county jail. If ICE issued a detainer or was notified of your release, however, you could be picked up and taken to an immigration detention facility. In light of this fact, try to speak with an attorney before you are released.
When Removal Proceedings Can Start
Removal proceedings can be initiated at any point while you are facing criminal charges, even while you are still in local custody. And whether you are convicted or found not guilty, incarcerated or put on deferred adjudication, ICE can detain you. The interplay between state and federal authorities is problematic, as local law enforcement retain certain rights regarding their decision to cooperate with ICE. But those rights are under fire and are actively being fought against.
Get a Legal Advocate on Your Side
The bottom line is an arrest can trigger immigration consequences, potentially even if you have a green card or a visa. Don’t face criminal charges alone if you don’t have full citizenship. Contact a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney immediately if you’ve been arrested. Do not wait until charges are filed or you are released. Promptly involving a criminal defense attorney is the only way to ensure you have every possible chance of avoiding immigration consequences and preserving your legal status in the US.
If you are facing charges for a crime in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on how to defend your rights. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.