Immigration law and criminal law have been entangled for over three decades. And an immigrant accused of a crime has two things to worry about: whether jail is a possibility, or whether deportation is.
This makes the situation doubly stressful. Knowing what to do and what your rights are can improve your outcome.
You still have the right to an attorney.
In fact, when you come to the Law Offices of Lee Koch you have an advantage. Because this office handles both. And this is important, because a pure criminal lawyer doesn’t always understand the potential consequences of certain actions from an immigration standpoint.
There are strategic ways to protect you on both fronts.
For example, a case can be handled in criminal court specifically to keep it from becoming an immigration matter. Sometimes that’s not possible, but your exposure can nevertheless be limited.
Sometimes, the issue may be fixed directly in criminal court.
And because this office is not an immigration mill, each client gets direct access to an attorney, as well as a paralegal who is fluent in Spanish.
Do not speak to the cops.
You should never speak to law enforcement or immigration officials unless you have your attorney there. Law enforcement is never speaking to you in the hopes of finding a reason to let you go.
They’re speaking to you because they want to build a case against you. And while it is possible to negotiate a deal, that happens between your attorney and the DA.
You have the right to remain silent regardless of your immigration status. And you do not have to discuss your immigration status with any law enforcement officer. You are required to show your paperwork if you have it with you, when asked.
Both of these things are true at any point before or after your arrest.
Do not consent to a search.
Speaking of events that happen prior to an arrest: if an officer asks to search you have the right to deny consent. And they are only allowed to search with your consent, with a warrant, or with probable cause.
You should never consent, even if you think you have nothing to hide. Police officers have been known to use searches as a way to plant evidence. If you are dealing with a prejudiced police officer who does not like immigrants, giving them access to a search may be opening the door to a false accusation.
Understand that every case is different.
There is no one-size fits all way to handle a case, especially one that involves both criminal charges and immigration charges. It’s important to schedule a consultation as soon as you know you’re in trouble.
From there, we can develop a strategy that will often keep the worst from coming to pass.
Got questions? Contact the Law Offices of Lee Koch today.