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Possible Relief for Noncitizens Who Have Pled Guilty to Certain Crimes

Posted on Friday, October 8, 2010

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision potentially benefiting noncitizens who have pled guilty to certain crimes without knowing the immigration consequences for doing so. In Padilla v. Kentucky, the Court held that criminal defense attorneys must inform their clients whether a particular plea carries a risk of deportation. The Court found that the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel under the U.S. Constitution demands no less, because of the “seriousness of deportation as a consequence of a criminal plea and the concomitant impact of deportation on families living lawfully in this country.”

The Court also said that the importance of accurate legal advice for noncitizens accused of crimes has never been more important, because recent changes in immigration law have dramatically raised the stakes of a noncitizen’s criminal conviction. In particular, recent immigration reforms have expanded the class of deportable offenses and limited the authority of judges to alleviate the harsh consequences of deportation.

Thus, if you are a noncitizen who has pled guilty to a crime that makes you deportable, such as a drug offense, and were not advised about the risk of deportation in pleading guilty, you may be entitled to relief pursuant to this 2010 U.S. Supreme Court case. Should you want assistance in evaluating whether relief under Padilla v. Kentucky might be possible in your case, please contact us at 847-763-8500 to schedule a consultation.

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