Immigration Consequences of Certain Criminal Convictions

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

What Is A Conviction?

Convictions of certain criminal offenses can carry not just fine or imprisonment but also deportation and denial of future immigration benefits, if the convicted individual is not a U.S. citizen at the time.



In Nebraska, generally, if you face criminal charges, you have the right to plea not guilty, guilty, or no contest (sometimes called nolo contendere- is Latin for “I do not wish to contest”). If you are not a U.S. citizen and your plead guilty or no contest to certain criminal charges, you could be deportable under the immigration law. A no contest plea carries the same consequences as a guilty plea in criminal court.


The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) denies “Conviction” as: a formal judgment of guilty of the noncitizen entered by a court, or if adjudication of guilt has been withheld, where:

  1. A judge or jury has found the noncitizen guilty or the noncitizen has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt, and

  2. The judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or restraint on your liberty.

Different states may have various pleas. In Utah, courts in some cases allow pleas in abeyance. In Nebraska, courts in some cases allow pre-trial diversion. Each please could carry serious consequences as to your liberty and immigration status if you are not a U.S. citizen. It is the best you consult with your attorneys if you are facing criminal charges.

Juvenile Convictions


Generally speaking, in a juvenile court, a guilty verdict or judgment or please may not constitute a conviction for immigration purposes if the the convicted juvenile was not tried as an adult (See In Re Miguel Devison-Charles, 2000).


Criminal Convictions Render Inadmissibility

There are certain criminal convictions could render a non-U.S. citizen inadmissible under INA § 212(a)(2). Inadmissible under INA means that someone who is not eligible to receive visas or immigration benefits, or lawfully admitted into the U.S.


  1. Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude There is not statutory definition as to what offenses constitute to Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude. However, generally speaking, when the offenses involving willful or reckless intent to harm or defraud another person or property. For example, a conviction of Criminal Impersonation under Neb. Rev. Stat § 28-608 may be an inadmissible criminal conviction. Petty theft, forgery, robbery may be inadmissible criminal conviction as well. In some cases, spousal abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse may considered as inadmissible criminal offenses.

  2. Controlled Substance Offenses

  3. Multiple Criminal Convictions

  4. Drug Trafficking

  5. Prostitution

  6. Serious Criminal Activity (Felony, crime of violence or any crime of reckless driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or a prohibited substance in personal injury to another person. 8.USC §1101(h)).

  7. Human Trafficking

  8. Money Laundering

Criminal Convictions Render Deportation

Worse, there are certain criminal convictions could render a non-U.S. citizen removable under INA §237(a)(2).

  1. Crimes involving moral turpitude with a sentence of imprisonment for one year or longer.

  2. Multiple Criminal Convictions

  3. Aggravated Felonies

  4. High-speed Flight at an immigration checkpoint

  5. Failure to Register as a sex-offender

  6. Controlled Substance Offenses

  7. Certain firearm offenses

  8. Domestic violence offenses

  9. Violation of protective orders related to harassment or domestic violence

  10. Human trafficking offenses

If you are facing a criminal charge and you are not a U.S. citizen, you should consult with your attorney and inquire about potential consequences.

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