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What Crimes Can Lead to Deportation in California?


The federal Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets forth certain criminal offenses that may result in the deportation of any non-citizen living in the United States.

So no matter how long you lived in the country, how well-established your life is here, or whether you have a dependent child who is a U.S. citizen, you can still be subject to deportation if you are convicted of any of the crimes listed in the INA. Additionally, those who are green card holders, visa holders, or refugees who have been granted asylum are still subject to the deportation sections of the INA.

If you are not a citizen of the U.S., the following are the crimes for which you can be deported:

  • Crimes of moral turpitude – Although the INA doesn’t define what is considered a “crime of moral turpitude,” California has defined it as a corruption of the social basic duties which every citizen owes to other people and to society as a whole. According to the California courts, crimes of moral turpitude include murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, grand theft, receiving stolen property, possession for sale of a controlled substance, cultivation of cannabis, and repeated felony convictions for DUI.
  • Aggravated felonies – Conviction of specific felonies under California law can result in deportation. Some of these crimes overlap between the list of crimes of moral turpitude and the list of aggravated felonies (e.g. murder or rape). Some of the aggravated felonies listed in the INA include drug trafficking, illicit trafficking in firearms, sexual abuse of a minor, running a prostitution business, theft crimes with a prison sentence of more than one year, and fraud crimes involving at least $10,000.
  • Drug crimes – According to the INA, nearly all drug crimes in California can lead to deportation. This includes both serious and not-so-serious drug crimes, such as simple possession. However, you may not be deported if your drug crime conviction stemmed from a simple possession of cannabis of less than 40 grams.
  • Firearm offenses – You can be deported if you are convicted of illegally possessing, buying, selling, exchanging, using, or carrying any fire arm.
  • Domestic violence – One conviction of a domestic violence crime is considered a deplorable offense. Domestic violence offense not only includes abuse inflicted on a spouse or partner, but also on children. Violating a restraining order is consider a domestic violence crime that is subject to deportation.

If you have been charged with one of these crimes in Ventura County, request a free criminal consultation with our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney at Appel & Morse today.

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