Articles Posted in Immigration

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An F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa granted to people abroad who wish to enter the United States in order to attend academic institutions, training programs, or conservatories. As is the case with any non-citizen, an arrest and conviction for even the most petty offense can trigger serious consequences for an F1 visa holder, including revocation of the visa itself. While the stakes in every criminal case are high, things become even more complicated with F1 visa defendants. To be sure, a criminal attorney needs to be especially diligent when representing any non-citizen facing criminal prosecution for the simple reason that a drastic change in immigration status can potentially accompany any period of incarceration, probation, or even non-jail. As the lawyers at Galluzzo & Arnone have always urged, it is of utmost importance for non-citizens who are arrested to secure experienced counsel as early as possible in the case, and especially before any plea bargan is entrered into. Crafting pleas with an eye towards preserving citizenship/visa status is a delicate and nuanced process, which is why F1 Visa holders require experienced counsel to avoid all of the potential pitfalls.

Our lawyers have a great track record of representing F1 visa holders who are arrested in New York for charges including Petit Larceny, Assault, DWI, Theft of Service, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, Marijuana possession, Weapons possession and more. One of the advantages F1 visa holders do have is that they often have minimal criminal justice contacts, if any, as well as solid resumes since they have been granted access to attend one of New York’s many fine academic institutions (many of our clients have attended Columbia or New York University, to name a couple). As former prosecutors, we are able to marshall our clients’ strengths and put together an effective and targeted strategy in each case in order to secure the best possible outcome. Our goal is always to leave our clients’ records intact, as well as ensure that they are able to preserve their visas and continue their studies here with minimal distraction. Our lawyers have also secured countless dismissals in such cases, which provides the best outlook for any non-citizen facing criminal prosecution.

If you or a loved one are studying here in the US on an F1 visa and have been arrested and charged with a crime or violation offense, do not hesitate to contact our team of experienced criminal defense lawyers at Galluzzo & Arnone as soon as possible so as to avoid any negative consequences.

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O-1 visas are granted to individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (O-1A), as well as those with a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry, and who have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements (O-1B). O-2 visas are granted to those who accompany O-1’s for the purpose of assisting them in a specific event or performance. USCIC requires an O-2 play an “integral” role in the assistance of an O-1A’a activity, or provide “essential” assistance to the completion of an O-1B’s production. O-3 visas are granted to spouses or children of O-1 and O-2 holders. All three types of visas are usually granted for a period of up to three years, after which they may be extended in one-year increments, without limitation.

As in the case of any non-citizen, the stakes are higher for O-1, O-2 and O-3 visa holders who are arrested because they face the risk of visa revocation on top of any sentence which is authorized for the crime they’ve been arrested for. For this reason, our lawyers are extraordinarily diligent in their representation of visa holders (as well as non-citizens in general), where a great deal of effort must be placed on crafting dispositions with an eye towards preserving our clients' immigration status. In addition to being accomplished trial litigators, our attorneys are also top-notch negotiators who have secured many dismissals and non-criminal dispositions for our clients. Specifically, the attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone have represented countless visa-holders with an impeccable record of success. For all of these reasons, it is imperative for any non-citizen who has been arrested (even given a Desk Appearance Ticket) to contact us as early in the process as possible. Even those charged with seemingly “minor” misdemeanors need to be diligent, for example, those charged with: Theft of Services (PL 165.15), Petit Larceny (PL 155.25), Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree (PL 220.03), Criminal Mischief (PL 145.00), Unlawful Possession of Marijuana (PL 221.10), Assault in the Third Degree (PL 120.00), and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree (PL 265.01).

Keep in mind, U.S. visa posts routinely perform criminal background checks on visa applicants, which can lead to devastating consequences for those who don't navigate the system properly, including, but not limited to, initiation of removal proceedings. For a myriad of reasons, it is critical for any O-1, O-2 or O-3 visa holder to contact an experienced attorney who understands the delicate nuances and immigration consequences posed in each of these cases. To be sure, the lawyers at Galluzzo & Arnone have successfully represented O-1 visa holder with great success. If you or a loved are faced with a criminal prosecution, contact our attorneys without delay.

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New York City owes much of its energy and excellence to the foreign citizens living and working here. Unfortunately, a visa or green card holder's right to remain in the United States can be seriously jeopardized by a Desk Appearance Ticket, even when the charges are comparatively minor misdemeanors. Many visa holders fail to take these arrests sufficiently seriously because the charges seem minor (like marijuana or subway fare theft) or because the arresting officer tells them "it's no big deal." Truthfully, though, career, educational, and family plans can be completely devastated by even a minor case of walking through the subway gate without paying, so it is absolutely critical that a foreign person arrested and issued a Desk Appearance Ticket retain competent counsel immediately.

In many ways, a Desk Appearance Ticket does not feel like such a big deal. The arrested person is usually handcuffed and taken to a police station where they are fingerprinted. They typically wait a few hours in a holding cell until they are given a piece of paper telling them the date and location of their appearance in court. Before Desk Appearance Tickets became routine, criminal defendants could expect to get "sent downtown" and spend the night in jail before seeing a judge. Obviously, Desk Appearance Tickets are preferable for criminal defendants because they spend less time in custody and also have the opportunity to choose counsel for themselves prior to going to court.

Make no mistake, however: the issuance of a Desk Appearance Ticket is in fact an arrest – it is not "just a ticket". More importantly for visa holders, this event is not going to "fly under the radar" with the immigration agencies. If you were arrested and given a Desk Appearance Ticket, your fingerprints and the arrest charges have been sent to a New York state agency (the Division of Criminal Justice Services) and to the FBI, which maintains a federal nationwide law enforcement database of all arrest events across the United States (the Interstate Identification Index). Visa and green card holders should understand that the immigration agencies, in processing visa renewal requests, access this database to investigate whether the visa applicant has an arrest record. Indeed, some visa holders actually receive emails from Department of Homeland Security (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) agents after their arrests, because the agency was notified of the arrest via the fingerprint database.

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Arrests for shoplifting are incredibly common in New York City, and many of those individuals arrested for shoplifting are being arrested for the first time. Though arresting police officers typically assure people that the arrests are trivial and will not have any lasting consequences, the truth is that these cases need to be handled carefully because even seemingly small cases like these can have tremendous negative implications for hardworking people.

Most people arrested for shoplifting are held by store security guards until police arrive. During that time, store security guards typically force or trick the people they've detained to sign written confessions (by promising not to call the police if they sign) and trespass notices acknowledging that they are no longer allowed to shop at the store. Store security guards do not have to read people their Miranda rights because they are not police officers, but anything said to them can and will be used against them in courts of law.

Police officers then take these detained people to the local precinct, where the arrest process begins. Fingerprints are taken and paperwork is completed while the arrestees typically wait in a cell for about three to four hours. Then, the alleged shoplifter is usually given a Desk Appearance Ticket, which looks like this, which directs the shoplifter to appear in court at a later date. Failure to appear in court on that date results in a warrant being ordered for that person's arrest.

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Being falsely accused of rape or a sex crime is a nightmare for anyone, but it presents a particularly complex set of problems for foreign citizens living, working, or visiting New York. Not only are they facing deportation as a potential consequence of a conviction, they also generally have increased difficulty securing bail or being able to travel during the pendency of the case. Additionally, we find that foreign citizens frequently make mistakes in dealing with police officers during sex crimes investigations because they are unfamiliar with the American justice system and do not understand their rights. That is why it is absolutely critical that a foreign citizen suspected or accused of committing a rape or sex crime in New York immediately retain a lawyer to intervene and protect him before it is too late.

The ultimate immigration consequences for a non-citizen are sometimes difficult to predict and involve a multitude of factors, including the precise conviction, the immigration status of the defendant (e.g. green card, visa holder, illegal alien), the date of admission to the United States, and the length of the prison sentence, if any. Generally speaking, though, for a conviction to render the defendant deportable, the crime must fall under one or more of several classifications of crimes. Some of those classifications include “sex crimes against minors,” “crimes involving moral turpitude,” “aggravated felonies,” “crimes of domestic violence,” “crimes against a child,” and “prostitution and vice crimes”. Thus, it can often be necessary for a defense attorney to negotiate a plea bargain whereunder a deportable offense is reduced to a non-deportable offense (our offense has had success with this strategy in the past), or to use the fact of an impending and inevitable deportation as a way to persuade a judge to impose a non-jail sentence.

This resource published by the National Immigration Project pretty accurately summarizes some of the relevant charges, most of which are contained in chapter 130 of the Penal Law (Note: most rape and sexual assault charges in New York are pursued under New York state law, though the authors have experience defending foreign individuals in federal sex crimes cases as well). Some of those common charges include Sexual Abuse in the Third, Second and First Degrees, Rape in the Third, Second and First Degrees, Sexual Misconduct, Prostitution/Promoting Prostitution/Patronizing a Prostitute, and Criminal Sexual Act in the Third, Second and First Degrees. Click here and scroll to learn more about the elements of these charges and what they mean.

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Criminal assault charges for non-citizens in New York

As the go-to criminal defense firm for the New York City consulates of France, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Belgium, the attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP routinely represent foreign citizens charged with criminal assault (including, for example, Assault in the Third Degree [Penal Law 120.00], Assault in the Second Degree [Penal Law 120.05], and Assault in the First Degree [Penal Law 120.10]). These charges are especially problematic for non-citizens as they can result in deportation or future inadmissibility into the United States.

(Though this is a bit of an oversimplification, deportation is the process by which a person is forcibly removed from the United States and barred from returning, whereas a person determined to be "inadmissible" cannot enter or re-enter the United States after leaving).

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Though it is impossible to estimate their exact numbers, at any given moment there are tens of thousands of Canadian citizens living and working in New York City. In addition, thousands of Canadians from Québec take advantage of their geographic proximity to New York City to visit as tourists. Inevitably, though, every year a few unfortunate Canadians and Québecois find themselves facing criminal charges in New York City. Those individuals face additional obstacles within the criminal justice system that most Americans do not, including, among other things, language barriers and immigration consequences.

To begin, for Canadians there are many serious New York criminal convictions that can result in deportation from (or future inadmissibility to) the United States. Even seemingly minor or innocuous arrests can effectively result in deportation from (or inadmissibility to) the United States by blocking the obtaining of a visa or the renewing of a current one. It is absolutely critical that any Canadian citizen charged with a crime consider the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney that understands these potential immigration consequences, as well as the dizzying array of visas and work permits potentially available to Canadian citizens. Canadians are accustomed to passing through the American borders with ease, but those with pending criminal cases are often surprised to be detained or prevented from entering by U.S. Customs or immigration officials.

In addition, though most Canadian francophones are multilingual, many are more comfortable communicating in French than in English. Those individuals, understandably anxious about the criminal justice process, should strongly consider retaining a French-speaking attorney that is capable of explaining New York criminal procedure in their preferred language.

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Frequently, non-citizens seeking American visas or renewal of current ones make the mistake of accepting seemingly excellent criminal dispositions without understanding the immigration consequences. For example, people arrested in New York for misdemeanor charges such as possession of marijuana (PL 221.05 or PL 221.10), trespass (PL 140.05 or 140.10), theft of services (PL 165.15), petit larceny/shoplifting (PL 155.25), or possession of a controlled substance (PL 220.03) often receive adjournments in contemplation of dismissal (“ACDs”) at their first court appearances. Under those scenarios, the case is automatically dismissed after a period of six months, assuming certain conditions are met. However, many non-citizens make the mistake of accepting these otherwise favorable dispositions (typically upon the advice of counsel) without recognizing that an American visa cannot be obtained or renewed during the six months “probationary period” of an ACD.

The attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP regularly represent foreign citizens charged with misdemeanors in New York courts. As criminal counsel to the French Consulate and a regular representative of the nations of Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, and Saudi Arabia, their lawyers understand that a regular ACD cannot be accepted by some foreign citizens in cases in which it would be perfectly acceptable for citizens to accept them. The attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have been successful on many occasions in convincing prosecutors to dismiss charges early in the interest of justice, so that people that have encountered minor arrests in New York can stay in New York, get visas to attend university, or continue to work in New York. If you or a loved one are a non-citizen facing criminal charges in New York (or if you made the mistake of accepting an ACD that you shouldn’t have accepted), you should strongly consider contacting the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP. Their multilingual attorneys can help you navigate the confusing issues facing non-citizens attempting to live, study and/or work in the New York while confronting criminal charges.