Criminal Law

Criminal convictions can have serious consequences, such as jail sentences, fines, probation, loss of employment and Deportation if you are not a US citizen. If you have been charged with a crime, it is important that you act quickly in order to know what options and legal defense strategies are available to you.

Certain criminal convictions carry with them severe immigration consequences, particularly as deportation, regardless of how long you have lived in the United States. Certain other convictions can render you “inadmissible,” meaning you will not be permitted to: a) re-enter the country after leaving for a short vacation or trip abroad; (b) apply for permanent residence; or (c) become a U.S. citizen.

Many immigrants who face criminal charges are not represented by attorneys who understand the full immigration consequences of pleading guilty or “no contest.”

The Law Offices of Andres Bustamante has the expertise and experience to navigate the complexities involved in the connection between immigration and criminal law.

An example of the types of crimes that can make you deportable and/or inadmissible include:

  1. Domestic violence crimes.
  2. Child Abuse
  3. Certain drug offenses
  4. Theft offenses
  5.  Firearm offenses

If you have been charged or convicted of a deportable/inadmissible crime, contact the experienced staff at the Law Offices of Andres Bustamante to discuss your options, such as post-conviction relief and representation in immigration or criminal court.

Death of Rubén Salazar by Frank Romero

Your rights with the police

  • Have a respectful tone but be firm.
  • Do not physically resist.
  • “I do not want to speak to you without an attorney present.”
  • “I do not consent to my car, home, or person being searched.”
  • “Please let me call my attorney.”
A misdemeanor offense in California is characterized by how much potential jail time you could serve. A misdemeanor in California is defined as any crime with a punishment between one day and 364 days.

Although misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, if you are not a citizen misdemeanors can carry serious immigration consequences, such as deportation and denial of becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder). For example, two or more misdemeanor crimes of moral turpitude can be the basis for deportation.

Examples of misdemeanor crimes of moral turpitude in California include:

  • Disorderly Conduct- PC §647
  • Petty Theft- PC § 484
  • Shoplifting- PC §490
  • Sexual Battery- PC §243.4(a) and (E)
  • Prostitution- PC §647(b)
  • Receiving Stolen Property- PC §496(a)
  • Child Corporal Punishment- PC §273d
  • Spousal Injury- PC §273.5
  • Criminal Threats- PC §422
  • Forgery- PC §470

In California, a felony is an offense that can be punishable by a minimum prison sentence of 16 months.

Because of their seriousness, felonies typically carry the most severe immigration consequences such as deportation, inadmissibility, receiving permanent residence and becoming a citizen.

Examples of Felony crimes with immigration consequences in California include:

  • Controlled Substance Offenses
  • Domestic Violence Child Abuse
  • Sexual Offenses
  • Perjury
  • Robbery
  • Theft Offenses

Depending on the amount of drugs involved and other surrounding circumstances, drug offenses can be classified as either misdemeanors (such as possession of drug paraphernalia) or felonies (such as sales and trafficking). Regardless of the type of classification, if you are not a citizen, any drug conviction—from simple possession to trafficking—can carry serious immigration consequences.

A non-citizen is deportable and inadmissible if convicted of an offense “relating to” a controlled substance. Even if there is no conviction, a non-citizen is inadmissible if the government has “reason to believe” he or she has trafficked in drugs, and can be deportable and inadmissible for being a drug addict or abuser.

California has several options available to prevent you from going to jail, such as deferred entry of judgment or a drug diversion program. Your eligibility for these programs depends on various factors, including your criminal history, jurisdiction of the charges, and, of great importance, the experience of your criminal defense attorney. Attorney Bustamante can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your drug case and to help you avoid harsh immigration consequences.

Examples of drug-related offenses include:

  • Possession of a controlled substance—Health & Safety Code §11350 & §11377
  • Possession for sale—Health & Safety Code §11351 & §11378
  • Transport for sale—Health & Safety Code §11379(a)