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The Rights of Immigrants Charged with Criminal Offenses



As an immigrant to the United States, you should do everything possible to avoid being investigated or charged with a crime. That's because non-U.S. citizens face particularly harsh consequences—specifically, deportation—if they plead guilty or no-contest to certain crimes. Being found guilty at trial can also lead to the initiation of removal proceedings. However, during the criminal process, immigrants are entitled to the same rights as U.S. citizens.

Immigrant's Rights During the Criminal Process

Immigrants who are suspected of having committed a crime are entitled to the same rights as U.S. citizens. These include:

  • The right to remain silent when being questioned by law enforcement authorities
  • The right to be free of unreasonable searches
  • The right to have an attorney present

If you have any doubts as to your rights, tell law enforcement investigators that you want to have an attorney present and that you are exercising your right to remain silent. This will give you the opportunity to privately consult with a criminal defense lawyer, who can also be present while you are being questioned.

If you are subsequently charged with a crime, you still have the same rights as a U.S. citizen. These include:

  • The right to bail
  • The right to legal representation
  • The right to have a speedy, public trial in front of a jury
  • The right to confront witnesses during trial
  • The right to avoid double jeopardy, or being tried more than once for the same crime

Hire Criminal Defense & Immigration Attorneys

The U.S. government often takes a hard line on immigrants who are charged with crimes in the United States: Plead no-contest or guilty to certain crimes, or be found guilty at trial, and you face deportation from the country.

If you're not a U.S. citizen and you've been accused of a crime, you should immediately speak to a criminal defense attorney as well as an immigration attorney. Depending on the nature of the charges and the outcome of the case, you may face removal proceedings or may be denied citizenship.

Visit LawyerLocator for more information about criminal law or to hire a criminal defense or immigration attorney.

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