Why You Might Need a Criminal Defense Attorney if You Have a Green Card

Like any of the nearly 13 million individuals arrested each year in the United States, those who are arrested and are lawful permanent residents (i.e. green card holders) of the U.S. should seek the counsel of an experienced green card criminal defense attorney.  Often times green card holders can face additional punishment compared to citizens of the United States.  In certain circumstances, green card holders who have been arrested may lose their immigration status and potentially face deportation.  Federal officials can place an immigration hold on a green card holder in order that the person is transferred to federal immigration custody if the person is ordered released or pays a bond for the criminal case.  These punishments can be levied regardless of whether or not the individual has been criminally convicted.

What Should You Do?

In the event that you are a permanent resident of the United States and are facing criminal charges, it is critical that you speak with a knowledgeable immigration attorney who also has a background in criminal defense.  In most cases, your criminal defense attorney will not be aware of the implications of your charges on your immigration status, so it is necessary to obtain the advice of both types of attorney.  There are often numerous courses of action for your criminal and immigration defense.  It is important to evaluate all possible outcomes and circumstances and determine what is best for you.

What Does a Conviction Mean?

Whether or not you will be deported largely depends on whether or not you were convicted of a crime.  For immigration law, in most instances, this means that you must have been found guilty of a crime and had a punishment handed down to you.  It is also important to know that you are not necessarily convicted of a crime unless your case is final, this means that if you are going through appeal, it is likely that your conviction is not final.

There are numerous ways that you can be found guilty and there are various avenues that are considered punishment.  In order to be found guilty, it generally means that you pled guilty or were convicted by a jury or judge.  Punishment generally comes in the form of a fine, jail, or community service.  In Iowa, for the person that receives a deferred judgment, successfully completes probation, and the case is ultimately dismissed, that person will still have a conviction in the view of the immigration officials.   Any of these types of sentences are considered punishment and subject a green card holder to possible removal from the U.S.

Need Help?

If you are a green card holder who has been charged with a crime it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible.  For effective, efficient representation contact the Law Office of Raphael M. Scheetz.  You will have the unique opportunity to be represented by a firm that handles many immigration and criminal law cases.  Therefore, your attorney will be able to fully understand the implications of a complex permanent resident arrest and ensure that your case is being dealt with properly.


I was so lucky that Mr. Scheetz was my Immigration Lawyer. Everything seemed to turn from black to white after meeting with him. His immediate attention and action were extremely impressive. Thank you!

– Gina B.

I am so grateful for what Mr. Scheetz did for my cousin William J., he saved his life. And also he proved me wrong. My family and I are eternally thankful for all his efforts.

– Mike N.