Can I Be Deported if I Am on a Student Visa and Committed a Crime?

Foreign nationals that commit crimes in the United States while on a student visa can suffer multiple penalties for the actions if charged or convicted with the illegal activity. Deportation is often one of the options that could occur to punish the person, and it is imperative to hire a lawyer to defend against the charges and immigration authorities.

The Responsibility of the Student

When a person from another country enters the United States on a visa, it is his or her responsibility to know what is legal and what violates the local, state or federal laws. Additionally, those on a student visa may have a more stringent focus on keeping within the legal boundaries of the country because they are students only in the country to receive an education from the college or university. There are even college specific crimes that the person can commit. It is up to the foreign national to ensure he or she remains within the confines of the law and not follow the examples of other students.

Crimes with Penalties

For any person, there are various violations of the law that can place him or her in prison or jail. However, for the foreign national, the penalties can include deportation. The possible crimes can involve the use of drugs, driving while under the influence, selling or possessing illegal drugs and handling a firearm that is not legal. Additional more aggravated crimes can also incur the penalty of deportation depending on the decision of the judge involved in the case. An arrest is sometimes enough to start the process to revoke the student visa. The individual will need a lawyer with experience in these matters.

United States Criminal Court Penalties

For any person that commits a crime in the country that does not have diplomatic immunity, he or she can face an arrest, arraignment and possible imprisonment as punishment for crimes convicted of no matter if a citizen or not. These include fines, time in a local jail or a state or federal prison. It is possible to reduce the sentencing through plea bargains. However, the extra punishment for a foreign national may also include deportation immediately or after serving the sentence incurred by the court.

Another problem is that the conviction will remain on the criminal record of the person and cause long-lasting consequences for the foreign national’s immigration record.

The Decision of the Case

For a person that is staying in the United States on a student visa and only has the time to remain in the country until earning the degree, he or she cannot leave the country until the court reaches a decision about the case. Charges will render the ability to leave the American country null until the matter resolves one way or another. This could take anywhere between days and years without any vacations with family in the home nation or leaving the country for any other reason. The case often ties up the life of the individual and could even lead to the school revoking scholarships and grants.

Consequences to the Foreign Student

When the foreign national is on a student visa in the United States, he or she usually will face two significant consequences when facing charges, arrest or a conviction for a crime in the country. The school could look unfavorably on the arrest itself and not even look into the matter to consider if the person is guilty or not. The first action is usually suspension for a connection to the criminal activity or because of the arrest. Then, the college could expel the foreign national. The absence from the school will require contact with immigration services and could lead to termination to the student visa.

The other significant consequence to the charges, arrest or conviction is removal from the United States. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS can place the person in a status violation, can start the removal of the student if he or she no longer has a valid student visa and can eject the foreign national from the country for the violation. Aggravated felonies, criminal moral turpitude and drug-related crimes all can cause deportation.

Immigration Legal Support

When the foreign national faces possible consequences for an arrest, charge or conviction for a crime, he or she will need a lawyer to help and support his situation through the potential for deportation and a conviction in the United States criminal court system.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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