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The Champion

January /February 2007 , Page 61 

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Representing a Noncitizen in a Criminal Case

By Scott E. Bratton

Read more 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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