Houston Criminal Law Blog

EXPERIENCED. AGGRESSIVE. HOUSTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp

What if an Immigrant is Arrested?

Those who arrive in the United States must follow the laws of the land. An immigrant who is accused of committing a crime may face dire consequences such as deportation, imprisonment and fines.

Illegal aliens will most likely face deportation. When illegal persons are arrested, the state of Texas notifies U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE is a law enforcement agency that works under the Department of Homeland Security. Its agents interview the offenders, prepare deportation packets and report their findings to federal authorities. In most cases, the government simply expels the immigrants. It may, however, choose to incur criminal charges like illegal re-entry if a person has been deported before.

The Arrest of a Legal Immigrant

An immigrant who is in possession of a United States Permanent Resident Card, also known as a green card, can legally live and work in the U.S.

If a legal immigrant is arrested for a crime, the severity of the offense determines whether or not he will be deported. Misdemeanor crimes generally do not result in deportation. A legal immigrant will usually face fines or jail time if he has no previous criminal convictions. However, if he commits two or more misdemeanors within five years of receiving his green card, he may be removed from the U.S.

Crimes that are more serious in nature may end with deportation. If a legal immigrant commits a serious crime, he may have to serve time in prison before being deported.

A Person’s Rights in Criminal and Immigration Courts

In the United States, a person is afforded several rights and privileges when he is arrested. His status as an immigrant does not affect these conditions:

  • The right to be represented by an attorney. An illegal immigrant may qualify for a court-appointed attorney.
  • Prosecutors are required to prove that the crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • An illegal immigrant must be tried for his alleged crimes in the same manner as a United States citizen.

If an illegal immigrant is brought to the attention of federal authorities, ICE may proceed to investigate his citizenship status regardless of what happens in a criminal court. This means that a person may be deported even if he is not guilty of committing a crime.

Speak to The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp regarding any questions that you may have about immigrants who commit crimes.

For a free consultation call 713-868-6100.
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