In Nevada, undocumented immigrants became eligible for driver authorization cards in January of 2014 after Governor Brian Sandoval signed SB 303 into law. Undocumented immigrants can present foreign passports or birth certificates as proof of name and age when applying for a driver authorization card. These authorization cards look similar to driver’s licenses issued to citizens but are issued to people who cannot meet the citizenship requirements necessary to obtain a standard Nevada license. The law also made clear the Department of Motor Vehicles cannot use or share information obtain by applicants for immigration enforcement purposes.
While undocumented immigrants may now obtain authorization to drive so they do not risk arrest for operating a vehicle with no license, there are still many other aspects of living an as undocumented individual that could result in criminal prosecution.
An illegal immigration criminal lawyer at LV Criminal Defense can help you to understand how U.S. criminal laws apply to you and can provide assistance in fighting criminal charges.
18 U.S. Code Section 1325 makes it a criminal offense to enter the United States outside of an area designated for entry by immigration officials. The same federal statute prohibits evading examination or inspection by immigration officials and forbids attempts to enter the United States under false or misleading pretenses. Conviction for a first violation of this law can result in a fine and six month of imprisonment. A repeat violation can result in fines, as well as two years in prison.
Bringing someone into the United States who is undocumented is also a criminal offense under 18 U.S. Code Section 1323, while trying to flee from an immigration checkpoint can result in five years imprisonment under 18 U.S. Code Section 758.
Crimes related to illegal bordering crossing are not the only offenses an undocumented immigration may commit by virtue of living in the United States without lawful status. Failure to register yourself or your children, which is required of all aliens in the United States, is a criminal offense under 18 U.S. Code Section 1302. Failure to register can result in up to six months in jail.
Many undocumented individuals are also forced to make false statements and cover up material facts; falsely represent themselves as a United States citizen; and engage in Social Security fraud when dealing with authorities or trying to work in the United States. Each of these things are criminal offenses as well under 18 U.S. Code Sections 408, 911, and 1001.
When just living your daily life is a crime, it is imperative you know your rights and are represented by an experienced Nevada illegal immigration lawyer you can trust. If you are accused of any offenses related to unlawful entry or undocumented immigration status, LV Criminal Defense is here to help.
If you are an immigrant (legal or undocumented) who is accused of any other crimes, your immigration status can also affect the outcome of your criminal case. Our attorneys have represented many undocumented immigrants facing a wide variety of charges for petty crimes and for serious offenses.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
Being arrested even for minor offenses can be frightening for someone who is undocumented because any interaction with law enforcement can bring you to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
When an undocumented immigrant is arrested and taken into state or federal custody, ICE or Customs and Border Protection (CPB) may ask authorities to hold the individual until ICE can assume custody. This is called an “immigration detainer” or an immigration hold. When ICE submits Form I-247, law enforcement is supposed to keep the affected individual in custody for 48 hours, even if the individual would otherwise be required to be released. If ICE does not come to retrieve the individual being held within 48 hours, law enforcement is required to let the undocumented person go.
In 2014, the Sheriff of Clark County announced his department would no longer honor these ICE detainer requests and would not hold illegal immigrations at the request of ICE unless ICE had a warrant for the individual’s arrest. Upon this announcement, Las Vegas became a so-called “sanctuary city.” This does not mean, however, that an undocumented individual will never be held by law enforcement pending ICE action. If ICE has a warrant or if an arrest takes place outside of Clark County, it is possible law enforcement will keep someone behind bars until ICE comes, even for a minor crime.
When you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent and not to incriminate yourself. Exercise that right. You do not have to admit you are undocumented. You should also ask for a lawyer as soon as possible.
A Nevada illegal immigration criminal lawyer can try to prevent detainer on an ICE hold and can try to keep your case from progressing and coming to the attention of immigration officials.
While an arrest can draw ICE’s attention to your case, a conviction can cause even more serious problems. Certain crimes are considered “deportable,” and certain crimes will result in inadmissibility
If you are convicted of a deportable crime, you can be made to leave the country. This is true even if you have legal status in the United States. This means even if you have a green card or an immigration visa, you can still be deported! Conviction for deportable offenses can make you ineligible for programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows young people brought to the United States as children to become eligible for work authorization and which provides protection from removal actions.
If you are convicted of a crime that makes you inadmissible, you will not be allowed to re-enter the United States from a foreign country and will not be allowed to go through an immigration process to become a United States.
Crimes that can lead to deportation and inadmissibility are generally classified as crimes of moral turpitude. Offenses including fraud, theft, homicide, and other serious or violent crimes could result in deportation and/or refusal of re-entry into the United States.
Interesting: Will Nevada Become Ground Zero in LGBTQ Fight
Regardless of your immigration status, however, you are considered innocent until proven guilty in the U.S. justice system. This means you can fight to get charges dropped or get a not guilty verdict so you can avoid the serious consequences of being convicted of a crime. A Nevada criminal defense lawyer will help.