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Immigration Consequences of Criminal Charges Against Non-Citizens in NJ

What Happens if I’m Charged with a Crime in NJ and Not a Citizen?

Worried about being deported for criminal charge in NJ help near meIf you are charged with a crime in New Jersey and you are not a U.S. citizen, the potential immigration consequences of a conviction can be severe. The specific repercussions of the charge on your immigration status depend on what type of criminal offense you are convicted of and what your immigration status is. An explanation of the possible outcomes in your criminal case if you are undocumented, a visa holder, or a permanent resident, is provided below for your reference. If you are a non-U.S. citizen who has been charged with a crime in New Jersey, the first and most important step to take is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Depending on your immigration status, if you can avoid a conviction, you can avoid deportation and other negative outcomes. Attorney Leonard D. Biddison and the lawyers at our firm have handled many criminal cases involving potential immigration consequences in Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and throughout New Jersey. Contact us today at (856) 427-6888 for a free consultation and get answers regarding your unique situation.

I am undocumented and was arrested for a minor criminal offense. Can I be deported?

If you do not have any legal immigration status in the U.S., either because you entered without inspection or you overstayed on a visa, you are removable or deportable if you commit a minor crime, known in New Jersey as a disorderly persons offense, or even if you do not commit any crime at all. Once you are convicted or even if the criminal charges against you are dismissed, you can be referred to immigration enforcement officials.

Depending on what offense you committed, you may be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement while you wait for your hearing before an immigration judge or you may be released and issued a Notice to Appear at immigration court at a later date. If you fail to appear for your court date, you can be issued a removal order in absentia, which means the judge as issued an order for you to be deported, even though you were absent from the hearing and unable to defend yourself.

By attending your hearing, you can apply for some form of relief, like asylum, that may allow you to stay in the U.S. Note that asylum is only available to individuals who have been persecuted in their country based on a protected ground. The requirements to qualify for asylum are very specific and committed certain crimes could be a bar to receiving asylum. You should consult an immigration attorney about your eligibility.

I have a visa and was charged with crime. Will I lose my status?

When you are issued a visa to study, work, or travel in the U.S., your non-immigrant visa is contingent on you following the law. If you commit a crime that constitutes a ground for removability, you can be deported. These offenses include crimes of moral turpitude (CIMT)—a crime that shocks the public conscience, drug crimes, gun offenses, domestic violence, theft, failure to register as a sex offender, espionage, treason, and aggravated felonies. Whether you will actually be deported depends on the discretion of ICE attorneys to pursue your removal in immigration court and the decision of the immigration judge. The best way to avoid having your visa revoked is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can get your charges downgraded or dismissed.

I am a green card holder facing criminal charges. Could I be facing deportation?

Unfortunately, even if you made the U.S. your home years ago and are a valid green card holder, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you can be deported from the U.S., if you are convicted of a crime that constitutes a ground for removal. However, as a green card holder, you may be eligible for certain applications for relief like Cancellation of Removal for Certain Permanent Residents. To be eligible for cancellation of removal, you must demonstrate to the immigration judge that you have been continuously present in the U.S. for 10 years or more, you are a person of good moral character, you have not been convicted of certain crimes listed under the Immigration and Nationality Act, your removal would cause exceptional and extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen spouse, parent, or child, and you deserve the judge’s favorable discretion. The first step when dealing with criminal charges is to fight aggressively for your innocence. We are skilled at negotiations and trial, and will work tirelessly to prevent your residency from being jeopardized.

Get Help with Your Criminal Case

If you or a loved one find yourself facing criminal charges in NJ as an undocumented individual, visa holder, or permanent resident, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. Call our office in Collingswood for immediate assistance from an attorney who can help. We can be reached anytime at (856) 427-6888 to assist you.

Criminal Attempt in New Jersey

Charged with Attempt in NJ?

Local Burlington NJ Criminal Attempt Charges LawyerMany people do not realize that they can be charged for a crime that they attempted to commit, even if they did not complete the crime successfully or the crime did not move forward much at all. This is because New Jersey law criminalizes an individual’s attempt at criminal activity. So, if you tried to steal a car, but could not get the car door open, or you were in the process of shoplifting, but you were caught by an employee in the act of trying to place an item in your bag, you may be found guilty of attempt to commit the underlying offense. Remember that even if you did not complete the crime, you may still be facing penalties that are just as serious as if you had successfully completed the crime. If you have been charged with attempt to commit a crime in New Jersey, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Leonard D. Biddison immediately to understand your legal options. We can help explain the charges, associated penalties, and potential defense strategies that our lawyers can use to defend you in court. Call our local office at 856-427-6888 or send us a message to arrange a free consultation.

What is Attempt under New Jersey Criminal Law?

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1, you can be charged with attempt to commit a crime, if you purposely take action that could constitute a crime if the circumstances were as a reasonable person would believe them to be, purposely take action or omit to take action to cause a particular result that is an element of the crime, or purposely take action or omit to take action that would constitute a substantial step in a plan to commit the crime, if the circumstances were as a reasonable person would believe them to be.

What are the Penalties for Attempting to Commit a Crime in NJ?

Some people believe a charge for attempting to commit a crime is less serious than a charge for committing the underlying crime outright. However, if you are convicted of attempting a particular crime in New Jersey, the potential penalties you face are exactly the same as if you had committed the same crime successfully. For example, if you shoplift goods valued between $200 and $500, you may be convicted of a fourth degree offense, carrying penalties of up to 18 months in jail and fines of up to $10,000. If you attempt to shoplift the same goods, but fail to complete the crime, you can be convicted of attempt to shoplift and be sentenced to the same penalties of 18 months in jail and $10,000 in fines, as if you had successfully shoplifted the goods. This is also true in cases involving simple assault, burglary, robbery, theft, or any other criminal offense for that matter.

Defenses to NJ Attempt Charges

There are several potential defenses that your criminal defense attorney be able to argue for a charge of attempt, depending on the facts of your case. First, they might be able to argue that you simply did not take the alleged actions that you are accused of that give rise to the attempt charge. They might also argue that they have the wrong person, meaning someone else, is responsible for the conduct you are charged with.

Another defense that may be available to you, which is specific to an attempt charge, is renunciation of criminal purpose. This is an affirmative defense to an attempt charge that you abandoned your effort to commit the crime or prevented the commission of the crime in a way that demonstrates a complete and voluntary renunciation of your criminal purpose. Your lawyer must prove that you renounced your criminal purpose by a preponderance of the evidence.

Need a Criminal Lawyer for Attempt Charges in New Jersey

If you or a loved one have been charged with attempt to commit a crime in New Jersey, it is very important that you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend you against these charges. Defense arguments to attempt charges require a deep understanding of the law and are very fact intensive. The criminal attorneys at our firm are available to review your case and develop the best defense strategy for your criminal charges. Contact us today at 856-427-6888 to speak with a lawyer who can help. With offices in Collingswood, we defend clients in Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and courts throughout Southern New Jersey.

What it Means to be Indicted in NJ

Mount Holly Indictment Defense LawyersIn New Jersey, indictable offenses are similar to felonies in other states. An indictable criminal offense is a first degree, second degree, third degree, or fourth degree crime. All indictable crimes carry the potential of at least 18 months of imprisonment, with fourth degree crimes being the least and first degree crimes being the most severe. If you are charged with an indictable offense in New Jersey, you have a right to be indicted by a grand jury and a right to a trial by jury. The process of being indicted and what happens next can seem completely overwhelming. For more information about the indictment process in New Jersey, continue reading and feel free to contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers if you have additional questions.

Being Indicted in New Jersey

Indictable crime charges such as aggravated assault, heroin possession, intent to distribute marijuana, and unlawful possession of a weapon, are heard in the superior court of the county where you are charged. In other words, a felony charge in Camden County will be heard in the Camden County Superior Court. On the other hand, if you are charged with an indictable offense in Burlington County, your case will be adjudicated in the Burlington County Superior Court in Mount Holly, NJ.

The Indictment Process in NJ

After you are charged with an indictable offense, a pre-indictment conference will be scheduled. It is possible for the case to be resolved at this stage, without an indictment ever being obtained. Possible resolutions include waiving your right to a grand jury to participate in pre-trial intervention (PTI) or to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

If you do not waive your right to a grand jury indictment and the case is not otherwise resolved, then the evidence will be submitted to a grand jury, comprised of 23 citizens, to review the evidence and determine if there is probable cause to believe you committed the offense. Defendents and judges are not present at grand jury hearings, so it is only the prosecution presenting its evidence to the grand jury.

If a majority of the grand jury finds that there is probable cause to believe that you committed the offense, they will issue a “true bill” and you will be indicted, with your case continuing on to trial. If a majority of the grand jury finds the evidence insufficient to establish probable cause, they will issue a “no bill” and the charges against you will be dropped.

At a grand jury hearing, the defendant is not present and a judge is not present. This means that the burden of proof is fairly low, with no rebuttal or defense until the trial stage. In limited circumstances, you may be able to file a motion to dismiss the indictment, but the indictment will only be dismissed if you can show that there was an absence of any evidence to support the charges or that the prosecutor improperly influenced the grand jury.

What happens after I’m indicted in New Jersey?

After you are indicted, your case will be scheduled for trial. Remember that being indicted does not mean that you have been found guilty. It simply means that the grand jury found sufficient evidence to move forward with the prosecution of your case. The standard for being found guilty of a crime in New Jersey criminal court is much higher. The prosecution must convince the jury unanimously that you are guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if even one juror finds that there is some doubt to whether you committed the offense, you will be found innocent. An experienced criminal defense attorney can be invaluable throughout the legal process, from pre-indictment to indictment and trial. Often, choosing the right lawyer makes the difference between reasonable doubt and a guilty verdict.

Charged with an Indictable Crime? Call Criminal Defense Lawyer Leonard D. Biddison Serving Burlington, Gloucester, and Camden County, NJ

If you have been charged with an indictable offense in New Jersey, or if you have already been indicted, contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers The Law Offices of Leonard D. Biddison at 856-427-6888 to discuss your case. You are innocent until proven guilty and a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer can ensure you receive the best defense. You can reach us anytime for a free consultation with an attorney who can help.

Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement in New Jersey

New Jersey Search Warrant LawyerThe ability of the police to conduct a search of your home, property, or anywhere you have a reasonable expectation of privacy is subject to Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. This right is so important that if the police violate your Fourth Amendment rights when conducting a search, any evidence they find will not be admissible in court. If the evidence is obtained through actions that constitute an unreasonable search and seizure, that evidence will be considered “fruit of the poisonous tree”—which basically means that if the method of obtaining the evidence was tainted, the evidence itself is also tainted and cannot be used against you in court.

There are certain exceptions that apply to the warrant requirement including consent, search incident to lawful arrest, vehicle inventory search, automobile exception, plain view doctrine, hot pursuit, exigent circumstances, and investigatory stops. As a highly experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, Leonard D. Biddison is well-versed in New Jersey law on warrantless searches and exceptions to the warrant requirement. He uses unlawful search as an effective defense when representing clients facing drug possession, gun charges, and many other crimes in New Jersey. For a free consultation about your case, contact our Collingswood office at (856) 427-6888 and keep reading for more information about search warrant exceptions in NJ.

Did you Consent?

The police may conduct a warrantless search of your home, personal property, or anywhere you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, if you give them consent. Sometimes, people do not know they have the right to not give police consent for a search or they feel pressured to do so. That is why it is important to understand your rights ahead of time. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it could be argued that you did not give consent.

Generally speaking, it is usually not in your best interest to consent to a warrantless search. You are under no obligation to give police consent. The requirements to obtain a warrant exist for a reason and if the police cannot establish probable cause for the search, they will not be successful in obtaining a warrant. There is no reason to make the process easier for police by consenting to the search, if they otherwise would not be able to obtain a warrant.

Were you Being Arrested?

If you are placed under arrest, the police have a right to conduct a search of the immediate area around you without a warrant to protect their own safety and ensure against the destruction of evidence. In the same vein, the police may conduct a warrantless search of your vehicle if it is legally impounded. This is common in cases involving motor vehicle stops resulting in drug charges.

Were you Stopped in a Car?

Since a vehicle is highly mobile, another exception to the search warrant requirement is the automobile exception, which allows police to conduct a warrantless search of an automobile if they have probable cause to believe that a search of the vehicle would reveal evidence of a crime or illegal contraband. Remember, officers do need to show probable cause for any evidence obtained during a car search to be allowed in court.

Was the Evidence in Plain View?

In New Jersey, under the plain view doctrine, if the police are located in a place where they are legally entitled to be, they inadvertently view evidence of a crime or illegal contraband, and the criminal nature of the evidence is immediately apparent to them, no search has occurred and the police may seize the evidence. For instance, you may be charged with possession of heroin if there is a baggie of what appears to be heroin on the floor of your vehicle during a traffic stop.

Were You Being Pursued by Police?

If the police are chasing someone who is trying to escape and that person enters their home, a hotel room, or anywhere else the police would otherwise need to obtain a warrant to search, they may nonetheless enter the structure or dwelling under the hot pursuit exception to prevent the individual’s escape and protect public safety.

Was it an Emergency Situation?

Even without a warrant, the police may enter a home or anywhere an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy if the search is reasonably necessary to protect against a threat to the safety of the police or another person, destruction of evidence, or the escape of a suspect.

Was it an Investigatory Stop?

More popularly known as “stop and frisk”, a warrantless investigatory stop is permissible only when the police have reasonable suspicion that an individual has just committed a crime or is about to commit a crime to search for weapons. The police’s suspicion must not only be objective and reasonable, but also articulable. In other words, they need to be able to explain why the investigatory stop was reasonable and necessary. The way you look, are dressed, or other observable qualities related to your physical appearance are NOT a valid reason to search you.

New Jersey Search Warrant Attorney Leonard Biddison is Here for You

If you are facing criminal charges and you feel your rights have been violated, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Leonard D. Biddison immediately. He will explain the search warrant requirements and discuss the evidence in your case. If any evidence was obtained from an illegal search and seizure, he will fight to ensure it cannot be used against you. Call (856) 427-6888 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.

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If you or someone you love has been charged with a criminal or DUI offense in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, finding the answers you need to make informed decisions is critical. Complete our contact form to request your free consultation or contact our offices in New Jersey at (856) 427-6888, Philadelphia at (215) 235-5240, or Delaware County at (610) 853-9494.


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