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Representing a Noncitizen in a Criminal Case
By Scott E. Bratton
Practice Points columns.
Over the past decade, the immigration laws in the United States have
become much more complex. Although immigration law has always set forth
consequences for aliens who have been convicted of criminal offenses,
1996 legislation greatly expanded the number and type of convictions
that render an alien deportable or inadmissible to the United States.
The law has also stripped many defenses for those facing removal based
on criminal convictions.
Due to the harsh consequences of convictions, an attorney
representing a noncitizen in a criminal case must be fully aware of the
potential immigration consequences of the criminal case to the client.
The potential immigration consequences are often the most important
factor for a client in determining the best course of action in his or
her criminal case. Many states, including California, New York, and
Ohio, have enacted statutes that require a judge to inform a noncitizen
criminal defendant of the potential conseque
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