You have a legal right to know the immigration consequences if you enter a guilty plea. If you were deported because you pleaded guilty, and you were not informed that you could be deported, your criminal attorney may have been negligent. Because of this, you may be able to have your conviction overturned.

This rule came about from a case the Supreme Court decided on in 2010.In 2001, a man named José Padilla was arrested in Kentucky. The charges against him were for trafficking and possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and operating a truck without the proper requirements. At the time, Padilla had lived in the United States for more than 40 years. In that entire time, he was also a lawful permanent resident.

When he received counsel, his attorney advised him to plead guilty to avoid even worse charges. He complied. Padilla was not made aware that his immigration status could be revoked. When he was placed in removal proceedings, he launched an appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court.Kentucky declared that Padilla was given proper advice.

The court also held that his criminal defense attorney did not need to advise him of the immigration consequences because the deportation was merely a "collateral consequence" of Padilla's charges.The case escalated to the United States Supreme Court. There, the Court ruled that the attorney was negligent. The ruling created 2 requirements for how an attorney must inform their client of possible deportation:

  • If the law clearly states that a person will be deported as a result of their plea, the attorney must tell their client that they will be deported
  • If the law is not clear if a person will be deported as a result of their plea, the attorney must tell their client that they may be deported

Why is this important?

If your attorney did not correctly inform you of the immigration consequences of your plea, your rights have been violated. When this happens, it is crucial that you talk to an immigration attorney about your options. You need to know that these rulings do not apply to cases before 2010. This was also decided by the United States Supreme Court. Any cases that occurred after 2010 and led to deportation are in violation of the ruling. If you seek to overturn a plea from 2010, however, there may be other options to do so.

Padilla Letters

Criminal defense attorneys will sometimes ask their clients to obtain a “Padilla letter” from an immigration attorney, to advise the client of the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. Our firm has written many such letters for attorneys and clients. Please contact us if you need such a letter.

Do You Still Have Questions?

Contact the immigration attorneys at The Law Office of Salmón-Haas. We have dealt with many immigration-related cases and are capable of dealing with these kinds of issues. If you think your rights have been violated, contact us.

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