When you're made out to be the enemy
we protect you
from costly felonies.
When you're made out to be the enemy
we protect you
from costly felonies.

San Diego, Criminal Immigration Attorneys, Helping Noncitizens Understand Their Rights

Coming to a new country can be an exciting experience. You get to learn about a new culture, practice a new language, and see its most famous attractions and landmarks. But it’s not all positive. Living in a different country can be confusing, and it can take some time to become familiar with the laws and customs. And it’s not uncommon for noncitizens to find themselves having a negative interaction with police at some point. While it’s normal to be scared if you’re arrested — and you should take the charges seriously — it’s also important not to panic and to immediately get in contact with a criminal defense attorney. Below you can find information about what happens when you’re arrested, whether you could be deported, and other common questions.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, it’s important to talk with a criminal defense attorney who has experience helping non-citizens navigate the American criminal justice system. You need to know your rights and find out what to expect from the criminal proceedings, including whether your arrest or conviction could trigger removal proceedings. At Kersey Law, our team understands how scary it can be to be charged with a crime in an unfamiliar country, and we’re here to help. Call us today to schedule your free consultation to find out more.

What Happens If I’m Arrested in the United States?

The criminal justice system is different in every country, and noncitizens may not have a solid understanding of what happens when they are arrested and charged with a crime in the United States. In America, once you are arrested and officially charged with a crime, you will be booked into jail. This includes taking your name and other information and may include getting your fingerprints and a picture taken.

You will have an arraignment hearing, which is where you will enter your plea of either guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, the judge will decide whether you will be taken into custody to await trial or if you will be granted bail. You don’t usually have to pay the full amount of bail if you can use a bondsman.

The case will then proceed through the trial courts, where both sides will have the chance to present evidence and witnesses that support their case. Criminal trials in the United States are decided by either a jury or a judge depending on the case and whether the person waives their right to a jury trial.

Can I Be Deported If I’m Arrested or Convicted?

In general, you will not face removal proceedings until you are convicted of a crime. This means that being arrested is usually not enough to trigger deportation proceedings because the prosecution still has to prove that you committed the crime. It’s also important to note that not all criminal convictions result in removal proceedings. Deportable offenses are usually those that involve some kind of violence, such as aggravated assault or rape, crimes against the country, or crimes of moral turpitude, such as child abuse or domestic violence.

As soon as you are aware that you are being charged with a crime, it’s important to speak with a criminal defense attorney who has experience working with noncitizens. The attorney can explain to you what’s happening and whether this offense could result in you being deported. A criminal defense lawyer can also ensure that you understand your rights and don’t further incriminate yourself unknowingly while talking with police or cooperating with the investigation.

What Are My Rights?

As a noncitizen, you don’t have all the same rights that a U.S. citizen does, but you do still have some rights, and being aware of those can help you make decisions in your best interests if you are ever arrested or charged with a crime. These rights include:

  •  The right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions from police or other investigators, and you cannot face punishment for doing so.
  •  The right to have an attorney. One of the most important things you can do for your defense is immediately ask for an attorney when you are arrested. In the United States, this means that the police cannot question you until an attorney is present. If you don’t have your own attorney, an attorney will be appointed to represent you.

In America, anything you say to officers can and will be used against you in court proceedings, so the best course of action is to request an attorney and then refuse to answer any other questions until a lawyer can talk with you and be present to provide counsel.

How Can Working With a Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me?

When you work with a criminal defense attorney, you can rest assured that you have someone who has an in-depth understanding of the U.S. laws and is there to represent your interests. An attorney will be able to talk with you confidentially about the circumstances of your case and inform you of your options so that you know what might happen in the future and what you can do about it.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, you need support and guidance as you go through the court system, and at Kersey Law, that’s exactly what we offer. When you call our office at 619-432-3712 and schedule your free consultation, you can talk to an attorney about your case and get the information you need to understand what’s happening and what your options are. You don’t have to go through this process alone, and you shouldn’t. Reach out to our team today to learn more.