Criminal Defense For Immigrants
With Jorge Vela
"El Show Sin Fronteras"
Spanish Video Above Translated In English Below
Today's broadcast of El Show Sin Fronteras features a special guest, Jorge Vela, a Texas criminal attorney who was a federal prosecutor and state prosecutor for about seven years, now devotes his own firm to defending criminal defendants.
We take this opportunity to discuss how a criminal conviction or a simple traffic ticket can affect your immigration process, as well as name the benefits of having experienced legal counsel and in what situations we need their services.
How Do You Know When You Need A Criminal Lawyer?
Usually, when people are being arrested for allegedly committing a crime, they go into a state of shock and uncertainty about what their next steps should be, some make the mistake of not calling a criminal defense for immigrants lawyer right away and can seriously jeopardize their future.
One of the main reasons to contact a criminal lawyer is obviously to accomplish the main goal of getting out of jail, a lawyer can facilitate your release through a personal bond, without the need to hire bonding companies, which for an undocumented person can be complicated because these companies do not accept people without social security.
Steps To Take If You Are Arrested For A Crime While Undocumented
You may have been pulled over for running a red light, parking in an improper place, and not being clear on the best course of action, so we advise you to focus on resolving the criminal matter first, an immigration attorney can't do anything if you are incarcerated on state charges.
Appearing in immigration court with pending criminal convictions or a criminal record will create a barrier to getting your proper visa, asylum application, DACA, or any immigration process you may be.
Sometimes, people prioritize obtaining papers to be able to work in the U.S. without taking into account their criminal record, so we advise you to contact a Texas lawyer with experience in criminal defense for immigrants before formally initiating your immigration process. Once your record is clean, your chances of success in immigration court will increase significantly.
Risks In Obtaining Legal Advice From A Public Defender
One of the disadvantages of having a court-appointed attorney is that you cannot choose which attorney you will have, so there is a risk to your case because court-appointed attorneys are usually overwhelmed with different cases at the same time and may not have the same dedication as a private criminal attorney where you know exactly what type of service you are going to receive.
However, we want to mention a few tips when having the first conversation with your attorney, whether it is a court-appointed or private attorney:
- How much experience do you have?
- Do you have experience with similar cases?
- Do you have experience with federal cases?
Differences Between Defense Lawyer And Criminal Defense Lawyer
According to Jorge Vela, a criminal lawyer exercises more general functions, for example, we can refer to a prosecutor as a criminal lawyer, for his part, a defense lawyer is purely private, has not had work with the State or government, so it can be devoted immediately and only to defend people accused of crimes.
Important Aspects When Looking For A Criminal Lawyer
It is important to emphasize that anyone who is here in the United States, regardless of whether they are undocumented or citizens, all people who are in the country have the same protection of the constitution, they have the same rights as a citizen.
So we encourage you not to be afraid to exercise your rights, not to remain silent, to seek immediate legal advice to protect your future.
In turn, we advise you to always seek quality criminal defense, because legal malpractice can seriously harm your rights, your future, and your immigration case in the country, stopping you from requesting an Adjustment of Status.
To find a reputable lawyer you should research and possibly talk to friends or family, ask other lawyers for referrals, and thoroughly investigate the lawyer you want to hire to avoid future problems.
Consequences Of Having A Bad Defense
The consequences of bad criminal defense are innumerable, from extensive jail time to a lifetime criminal record that will prevent you from accessing entitlements, housing, driver's licenses, and skilled jobs.
Not only do you have to worry about the criminal conviction you may face, because if you are undocumented, but it will also be a barrier to getting your papers in order in the country and even deportation.
Relying on the services of an inexperienced lawyer can have lifelong consequences, so you should ask yourself how much your freedom, your rights, your family union, and above all how much the years of your life you could spend behind bars because of legal inefficiency are worth.
If an undocumented person enters jail there is a risk that immigration officials will place a detainer on him or her, in which case it will be almost impossible to get out on bond, so he or she should do everything possible to avoid spending time in jail.
How Being Deported With An Unresolved Criminal Case Affects You
Usually, during a criminal trial, you will be required to come to court every month or two. If you are deported, this will become impossible, and the court will likely issue a warrant for your arrest that will prevent you from entering the country in the future.
In this case, the attorney will have to appear for you in court and justify your absence due to deportation, however, this scenario should be avoided at all costs so as not to aggravate the judicial problem.
What It Means To Be On Probation
A person can receive Probation or Parole if they do not have a criminal history on their criminal record. If you plead guilty to a crime, it is possible for the court to issue probation for about a year, as well as different conditions until your case is resolved and adjudicated.
These conditions may include attending classes or community service, or a fine that must be paid monthly. It should be noted that these conditions must be respected because a violation may result in an immediate arrest warrant.
Difference Between State And Federal Cases
Federal cases are always going to be more serious and serious, usually involving a violation of federal law, so your case will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the federal government, who have the time and monetary resources, as well as sufficient capacity to develop a structured and strict criminal charge against you.
While the severity of a federal case will severely affect your immigration case, leaving you with virtually no options to legalize your status in the U.S., at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law, we can discuss your specific case to determine the best immigration options for you. Remember that this information is general in nature and does not represent a relationship to any specific case.
Regardless of the type of criminal charge you face, we do not recommend going to court without legal counsel because of the complexity of the criminal justice system in this country, where any action you may take, or word you may say, can seriously damage your future.
How Did Covid Affect Criminal Cases?
Due to the health contingency that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the criminal cases were suspended, resulting in a large number of clients who are still in jail awaiting court dates and hearings.
It also affected the inability to assemble enough people to form a jury due to state regulations that prevent a backlog of people in court, so all criminal defense attorneys are trying to convince our local judges to agree on dates for pending hearings, however, due to a breakdown in the legal system, this has not been able to happen.
If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding this or any other immigration-related issue, please do not hesitate to contact us for free legal advice at (855) 502-0555. You can also follow us on our social networks Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.