Many people don't realize the difference between an individual who holds a green card and a
United States citizen. However, one similarity is that if a crime is alleged against either, they are
both subject to the same process in a criminal proceeding.
A green card holder is a lawful United States permanent resident but is not a citizen. To become
one, a green card holder must first go through the process of Naturalization.
If you, a friend, or a family member is a green card holder and has been arrested or accused of a
crime, your chances of being able to move forward through the naturalization process may be
significantly impacted and greatly hindered. Even in the event that there is a finding of not guilty
by a jury, or even if a judge dismisses all charges, while going through the process, certain
charges previously brought against you can bring your moral character into question, even
without a conviction. These alleged charges can also put you in a situation where the possibility
of deportation can likewise be put on the table.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) can deny citizenship if it even
has "reason to believe" that you are, or have been a drug addict, an abuser of alcohol as well as
having the belief that you've engaged in crimes such as the trafficking of narcotics or even a
simple accusation of shoplifting. These types of allegations as well as many others may of their
own accord, give a USCIS examiner grounds to question your moral character, which is a major
factor required for naturalization and can impede the desired outcome for full citizenship.
If an undocumented immigrant is involved in this case, in addition to an experienced criminal
defense attorney, to fight any charges brought forward, a lawyer who is a specialist in
immigration law will be needed to achieve the best possible outcome by formulating a strong
joint strategy. Call Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki at (904) 398-1992 or fill out a fast and
convenient form to schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced and aggressive
immigration and criminal law attorneys!
At Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki, we aware of the effects that a criminal case can have on
a noncitizen whether that noncitizen is merely a green card holder a person who is here illegally
without any status or a nonimmigrant visa holder who is here legally but for a limited time based
upon permission to reside in the United States granted to them by certain types of visas issued by
When a client is charged with a crime, we always try to not only avoid a conviction but even a
withholding of adjudication under Florida law. A withhold of adjudication which is not a
conviction under Florida law may still be a conviction for federal purposes leading to the
deportation of the client.
In the case of certain third-degree felonies in Florida, we have found it imperative to enroll our
clients in a pre-trial diversion program after which the charges against them will be dismissed
after completion of the program thereby avoiding any type of disposition that could lead to our
client's deportation. It is best in such situations to have the client avoid any admission of guilt in
the diversion papers submitted so that this admission cannot be used against them in the future.
Thereafter if possible, the client's arrest should be sealed to best protect them from adverse
immigration consequences where there is neither a conviction nor a withholding of adjudication
In structuring the plea agreements, we believe it is a good idea to take advantage of the Federal
First Offender program set forth in Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 3607. Keeping the
case in juvenile court is also a beneficial result for the client in the right cases as well as
structuring a plea to a petty offense which may also avoid deportation.
Drug trafficking crimes can be lethal for a client who is a noncitizen and in serious cases do not
permit a waiver in immigration court. We try to avoid a plea to these charges if possible. For this
reason, our legal professionals apply for any available waivers from certain types of convictions.
Finally, it is sometimes possible in rare cases to obtain visas for cooperating witnesses and this
possibility should always be discussed in this case with the prosecutor. It can avoid deportation
in the otherwise impossible case where large amounts of drugs are involved and crimes of moral
turpitude or aggravated felonies have been committed by the client
It is important to have a skilled criminal defense lawyer, like the ones at Nooney, Roberts,
Hewett & Nowicki, who are aware of these pitfalls and others like them if you are a noncitizen
faced with criminal charges. What we do in this area of the law can have a crucial effect on how
you spend your life in this country long after a sentence is imposed and unfortunately many
lawyers are not aware of the adverse immigration consequences which can arise after conviction
of certain crimes.
So, if you or someone close to you is facing any issues involving charges while being a green
card holder or an undocumented immigrant or refugee don't delay and Call Nooney, Roberts,
Hewett & Nowicki at (904) 398-1992 or fill out a fast and convenient form to schedule a free
initial consultation with our experienced and aggressive immigration and criminal law attorneys!