Can you get deported for domestic violence? If you are an immigrant (either legally or illegally, and even if you have your green card), there are certain crimes you can be deported for. Domestic violence is one of them. In this blog, we tell you the facts about domestic violence and immigration law—and how domestic violence charges could result in the deportation of you or your loved one.
What is Domestic Violence?
Legally, domestic violence (DV) is abuse (or threats of abuse) against an intimate partner or family member (whether by blood or marriage). An “intimate partner” is:
- Your spouse..
- Your domestic partner
- Your current or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.
- Your current or ex-fiancé/fiancée
- A person who lives with you.
- The mother or father of your child.
Abuse, by law, is considered:
- Physically hurting someone, whether you meant to or not.
- Sexually assaulting someone.
- Threatening or promising to hurt someone.
- Harassing someone.
- Stalking someone.
- Destroying someone’s physical property.
What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse and child neglect are forms of domestic abuse, and they sometimes have even higher penalties than DV. You could face the child abuse penalty if you…
- Cause or threaten purposeful injury of a child.
- Cause or threaten purposeful injury of a child during the manufacture or sale of certain drugs.
- Neglect or refuse to provide for the child in your care. This includes clothes, food, shelter, health care, or emotional nurture.
- Abandon a child. This includes refusing or being unable to care for the child due to mental or physical incapacity.
- Are complicit in sexual abuse.
- Leave a child alone with a non-related registered violent sex offender.
It is not considered abuse if you are disciplining your child in a way that does not jeopardize their health or welfare. It is not abuse if you do not give them permission to do things that the law prohibits (like smoke, drink, or get a tattoo).
It is not abuse if you set a curfew for or open the mail of a child 18 years or younger.
What is the penalty of a misdemeanor Domestic Violence charge?
In Virginia, a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction could result in up to a year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine. You can be deported for a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, and you can also be deported if you accept Virginia’s “first offender status” even though it results in a dismissal of the criminal charge. Before pleading guilty or agreeing to “first offender status,” be sure to make sure your local defense attorney understands and explains the immigration consequences of that decision.
What is the penalty of a felony Domestic Violence charge?
A Virginia felony domestic assault conviction could result in up to five years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines. If you are an immigrant (legally or illegally, in any stage of the immigration process), you can be deported for a felony DV conviction.
What are the penalties for Child Abuse/Neglect in Virginia?
Child abuse/neglect is considered anywhere from a class 4 to a class 6 felony, which could result in up to 10 years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
It is also highly likely that the court will enter a Protective Order, which means you have to follow extra rules (like parenting classes, for example) and submit to state visits of your home while you are awaiting trial. You can be deported if you are convicted.
Is domestic violence a crime of moral turpitude?
An important term in immigration law is “Crime of Moral Turpitude,” which is defined as a crime that is done recklessly or with evil intent, and is inherently base, vile, depraved, and immoral. Domestic violence almost always falls under this category, and multiple DV convictions make it very likely that you will be deported.
How can I avoid deportation for Domestic Violence?
The best way to avoid deportation is to avoid activities that could even resemble DV or child abuse/neglect. But if you unfortunately find yourself accused of such a crime, a good lawyer can sometimes keep you from being convicted or keep you from being deported. The intersection of state criminal law and (federal) immigration law can be complicated, so it’s essential to hire a lawyer who understands both.
Cook Attorneys are skilled immigration and criminal defense attorneys. We are knowledgeable about domestic violence and immigration consequences. Let us help you learn what your options are and try to keep you from being deported. Contact us today to start your case off right!
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