What the election means for Immigration Law

Since election day there was been buzz about what this means for immigration law. Donald Trump has made known what he plans to do with immigration law and for those who are not citizens or undocumented, the future may be unclear.

For anyone who has a green card and is eligible to naturalize and become a US citizen, apply for naturalization NOW! Please remember if you are NOT a US citizen, you can potentially be deported! People who have lived in the US their entire lives and have valid green cards can still be deported for certain criminal actions. Please be aware that if you are not a citizen and receive an OUI/DUI/DWI this could threaten your legal status in the US. Please contact an attorney if you would like to naturalize but have a criminal background!

If you have DACA please be aware that once Donald Trump is sworn in as president, in January, the DACA program may be terminated and many could face deportation as a result. Please do not forget that DACA does not give anyone legal status, it only provides an avenue for work authorization and to defer removal action. If you are eligible for a green card or another visa through another avenue other than DACA, please apply as soon as possible.

Also if you are planning to travel, after Donald Trump is sworn in, it may be more difficult to obtain travel visas to certain countries, such as China and India. Please continue to check the State Department’s travel website for any potential issues if you are going abroad.

Immigration law has always been complex, but with a new administration coming in January it is important to know what your rights are and what you can do now. Please contact our office at 508-438-1198, if you have any questions about your immigration status.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#immigrationlaw #donaldtrump #daca #naturalization

 

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Chris Brown & the Search Warrant

Most of you have undoubtedly heard that there was a standoff between the Los Angeles Police and Chris Brown, who was at home. Although this has been a bit sensationalized, the police were at his home after a phone call was made by a woman who claims she was threatened by Brown, but there was no “standoff.”

Instead Brown exercised his right to NOT allow the police into his home without a search warrant. Most people might think that if the police come knocking on your door that you have to let them in, but you DO NOT have to let them in. The home is one of the sacred things that the law protects and that is why we have laws about ‘breaking and entering’ and ‘trespassing.’ So if the police come to your home and ask to come in, you can do what Chris Brown did and ask to see a warrant! If they do not have a warrant and you don’t want them in your home, then they can’t come in! If they DO have a warrant, then you DO have to let them in, but until then it is your call. Chris Brown refused to let the police in without a warrant, but after the police obtained one, he let them in, was arrested and released on bail.

Of course there are always exceptions to this rule and we aren’t sure what is going to happen to Chris Brown just yet, but if you have any questions about your rights or there has been a police search at your home, please call our office at 508-438-1198.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#chrisbrown #searchwarrant #homesearch #criminallaw #yourrights

Padilla v. Kentucky: It’s impact on Criminal & Immigration Law

In 2010, the court held in Padilla v. Kentucky that counsel’s failure to advise a criminal defendant of the deportation consequences of a guilty plea constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel. Therefore if your defense attorney did not advise you of the immigration consequences of your plea, the disposition could be vacated. The problem is that the Supreme Court held that the new rule in Padilla should not apply retroactively to criminal convictions before March 2010.

The good news is that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court didn’t like that, so in Commonwealth v. Clarke, the court held that Padilla v. Kentucky applies retroactively to guilty pleas entered after April 1, 1997. If Padilla applies to you, you still have to prove ineffective assistance of counsel.

There is a two prong test to whether there was an ineffective assistance of counsel. The first prong is found in Commonwealth v. Saferian and states “whether there has been serious incompetency, inefficiency, or inattention of counsel — behavior of counsel falling measurably below that which might be expected from an ordinary fallible lawyer.”

The second prong is that the consequence of counsel’s serious incompetency must be prejudicial. In Clarke they define prejudice as “a ‘reasonable probability’ that ‘but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.”

Therefore in order to prove ineffective assistance of counsel you have to prove that your lawyer didn’t act or advise you as a normal lawyer should AND that your criminal proceeding results would have been different if you had received proper advice.

Padilla was significant, because now non-citizens must be advised of immigration consequences if they are in criminal proceedings, but in order to get your case vacated it may still be a long road ahead!

If you have any questions about whether Padilla applies to your current situation, please call our office at 508-438-1198.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#criminallaw #immigration #padilla #retroactive #clarke

CWOF? Pre-Trial Probation?

If you have a criminal matter and you are thinking about a plea, you have several options, including asking for a CWOF or Pre-Trial Probation, but what is a CWOF and what is Pre-Trial probation and what is the difference between the two terms? Read on.

A CWOF stands for “Continuance without a Finding.” A CWOF is a determination by the court that there is sufficient evidence against the defendant, but the court refrains from entering the ‘guilty’ finding. The CWOF is a final adjudication, but the defendant avoids having the ‘guilty’ on his/her record. The court will continue the case for a certain amount of time, and as long as the defendant adheres to certain conditions, the criminal matter is dismissed. If the defendant violates any of the conditions, the CWOF may be revoked and a guilty finding may be entered, which may include jail time.

Pre-Trial Probation is different than a CWOF because you do not have to admit that there is sufficient evidence against you, and if you violate pre-trial probation you are not found guilty, but your case returns to the court and goes through the process once again.

If you have any questions or find yourself in a criminal conundrum please call our office!

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

 

#cwof #pretrialprobation #criminal

Immigration Law + Criminal Law = ?

If you are NOT a US citizen, there is ALWAYS a chance that you can be deported! Being a legal permanent resident for 20 years or more does not protect you from deportation, IF you commit a crime!

Criminal law and immigration law are two distinct fields of law, but the problem is that committing certain crimes can lead to triggers in immigration law. The other problem is committing a crime in criminal law has a different name and different definition in immigration law. For instance, in immigration law you can be deported for committing an “aggravated felony” or committing two or more “crimes involving moral turpitude.” But if you look at the criminal statutes in Massachusetts there are no aggravated felonies or crimes involving moral turpitude.

What does “aggravated felony” and a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT) mean? The answer is tricky. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the term aggravated felony includes acts of murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, trafficking firearms or other destructive devices, theft or burglary where term of imprisonment is at least one year, child pornography, treason, and more. As you can see the list is pretty serious and extensive.

The term “crime involving moral turpitude” is even trickier. The Board of Immigration Appeals defined it as “conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man, either one’s fellow man or society in general.” Well what does that mean you ask? The immigration courts have determined that it generally includes: spousal abuse, child abuse, robbery, aggravated assault, animal fighting, theft, fraud, driving under the influence, and more. Crimes involving moral turpitude are much broader and can have serious consequences!

Those who are not US citizens should definitely hire an attorney if they are charged with ANY crime to ensure that it does NOT affect their immigration status!

Also if you are legal permanent resident and it is possible for you to naturalize, DO IT! You never know what can happen in the future and if for whatever reason you are charged with a crime, at least you will be assured that you cannot be deported if you are a citizen!

 

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime!

In Massachusetts, if you are involved in an accident and there is any evidence of property damage or personal injury, you are responsible for making your identity known to the other parties.

In most cases, what that involves is stopping, exhanging your telephone numbers, license information, and insurance information, then contacting your insurance company.  But what do you do if it is not a typical accident situation?

In many cases, a person will strike an object such as a telephone pole, a building, curbing, a fence, a parked car or something similar.  There isn’t any identifying markers saying “If you hit me please call.”  If it is a parked car, some people will leave a note with contact information.  That isn’t a viable option in cases of a pole or a fence.

If you are involved in an accident with an object, call 911 and immediately report the matter to the police.  They will come, fill out an accident report, and you will be on your way.  If you do not, you risk being cited with leaving the scene of property damage, which is a criminal matter.  You can expect to receive a summons from the police for an arraignment or show cause level hearing.

If you hit a car with passengers and you do not stop to exchange information, you are subject to being charged with leaving the scene of personal injury.  Because there are victims that are physically hurt, rather than property that was damaged, these cases are treated very seriously.  If you leave the scene of a person that was injured without exchanging information or calling the police, you can expect to be charged under this statute.

If you are charged with leaving the scene of property damage or personal injury, you should contact an attorney immediately.  Make sure your insurance company is aware so that any damage can be covered as soon as possible.

Contact Broadbent & Taylor if you have been charged with these crimes.  Broadbent & Taylor represents clients across Massachusetts in motor vehicle matters.

 

 

THIS BLOG IS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY KELLY BROADBENT.  IT IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE.

 

 

 

 

 

Naturalization

Naturalization is the process of a person becoming a United States Citizen. There are certain requirements that need to be met in order to naturalize:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENCY:  You will need to be a legal permanent resident or green card holder for at least five years. If you gained your legal permanent residency through marriage, there is an exception and it allows you to be a legal permanent resident for at least three years before applying to naturalize. If your spouse naturalized also then he/she must be a citizen for at least three years in order to use the 3-year exception. Also if you divorce or separate then you cannot use the 3-year exception. The date for the 3 or 5 years begins on the date on the green card.
    • During your legal permanent residency you must not have taken trips outside the United States for six months or longer.
  • GOOD MORAL CHARACTER: This part can be a little tricky. If you have any kind of criminal record, whether the charge was dismissed or it was only an arrest, it is important that you speak with an attorney before you file the application for naturalization. There are also certain crimes that if you were convicted will bar you from applying for naturalization.

After sending in your application, you will be asked to do biometric fingerprinting. Then there will be an interview. Next you will have to pass a basic English skills test and a basic civics exam. If you pass both exams, then you will become a citizen and take the oath at a ceremony!

There are many benefits in becoming a citizen, such as the right to vote or bring immediate relatives into the United States. You can apply for federal jobs and become an elected official. The application process can be rather lengthy, but definitely worth it!

If you have any questions or concerns about your naturalization application, feel free to contact us!

This post was written by Attorney Jamie Cosme. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is NOT legal advice.