Atlanta Immigration Attorney Helping with Vacating Criminal Convictions for Immigrants
If you have been convicted of certain crimes within a certain timeframe, your conviction can keep you from entering the United States if you are still abroad, or keep you from remaining if you are already in the U.S. In some cases, it is possible to vacate your previous criminal conviction, thus removing the barrier to your presence in the United States.
An immigration lawyer with skill and knowledge of the process for vacating criminal convictions for immigrants from Sessoms Law Office, LLC can help you to determine if your conviction can possibly be vacated and can guide you through the process if so. Call our Atlanta office today at 678-853-7402.
What if My Conviction Was Many Years Ago?
In order to enter or remain in the United States, an applicant must be able to prove that they have shown good moral character (GMC) for a prescribed length of time. In general, this time period is 5 years, but it can vary according to your circumstances. In some cases, the period for some spouses of U.S. citizens begins 3 years prior to the filing date. For certain veterans or service members, the time period can range from 1-3 years, depending on military provisions. In every situation, the applicant must show continuing GMC throughout the naturalization process. If a conviction occurred prior to the statutory time period, GMC may still be considered in terms of whether there is evidence of reformation since the conviction.
What Factors Are Considered in Determining Good Moral Character?
When determining whether an applicant has shown good moral character (GMC) during the required statutory period and or has reformed their character after a conviction prior to the statutory period, an immigration officer must consider all factors and weigh all information, positive and negative. Some of the factors that may be considered include employment history, family relationships, education, absence or presence of other criminal history, community involvement, law-abiding behavior such as reporting income and paying taxes, compliance with probation, and length of time in the United States.
How is a Conviction Defined for the Purposes of Immigration?
In general, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) considers a conviction to be a formal judgment of guilt entered by the court. USCIS also considers cases as convictions for immigration purposes where adjudication has been withheld if a judge or jury has found the person guilty, the person has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contender (no contest), or has admitted sufficient facts to establish guilt and the judge has imposed a punishment or penalty. Because different states have different programs to lessen the impact of a conviction, such as a pre-trial diversion program, each case must be considered individually.
There are other convictions that do not count as convictions in immigration cases, such as juvenile convictions, “purely political offenses” committed abroad that would not be illegal in the U.S, or cases in which there are certain other extenuating circumstances. Determining if your previous conviction will bar you from entry into the United States or prevent you from remaining in the country can be a complex and confusing process. Call Sessoms Law Group, LLC today at 678-853-7402 to get started on vacating your criminal conviction.
How Can an Immigration Lawyer Help Me in Vacating My Criminal Conviction?
Whenever a person is arrested, tried, and convicted for a crime, there are many procedural steps that must be followed at every step of the process. If any required step has been skipped, the conviction is unlawful. Because there are special steps that must be followed in convicting immigrants to the United States, it is sometimes possible to get a conviction vacated due to a procedural mistake in the process of reaching convicting the defendant. The laws governing arrests and convictions are complicated and vary from location to location, so the help and advice of a knowledgeable and experienced vacating criminal convictions attorney are crucial. The help of a skilled immigration attorney from Sessoms Law Group can be the determining factor in finding out if your conviction was lawful or unlawful, and how to have it vacated, if possible, in order to allow you to enter or remain in the United States.