Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sometimes Immigration Law Requires Compromise

Client entered the U.S. legally but then overstayed his visa.  He's lived her for many years and is married to a U.S. citizen and he qualifies for Adjustment of Status.  The problem is that some years ago he was convicted for possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor in the state of Utah.  That conviction does not make him ineligible for Adjustment but it does require him to seek a waiver.  However, a second conviction for any drug related crimes would make him ineligible and would get him deported.

A few weeks ago he was arrested and charged with another count of possession of drug paraphernalia.  He was appointed a public defender but the public defender didn't understand the intricacies of immigration law when it comes to criminal convictions.  So, the client fired his public defender and asked me to step in.  I immediately approached the prosecutor and asked if he'd be willing to dismiss the drug paraphernalia charge in exchange for my client pleading guilty to two other crimes of equal gravity but without the adverse immigration consequences.  The prosecutor was amenable to that solution and the client plead guilty to two misdemeanors, neither of which affect his ability to adjust his status.