By Atty. James G. Beirne

If you are a legal immigrant, it is important to know that some offenses may cause you to be deported. If you have been convicted of a deportable offense, the Department of Homeland Security can prosecute you in court. The judge can take back your green card and disqualify you for U.S. citizenship. The term “legal alien” includes legal permanent residents (green card holders), visa holders and asylees.

What Types of Crimes Could Get Me Deported?

However, not every offense will get you deported. Matters involving minor misdemeanors or parking tickets for instance, will not affect your resident status. Contrary to what many people believe, a deportable crime does not have to be a major crime, felony, or punishable by jail.

It is also important to know that there are also deportable offenses that are not criminal law violations. Things like sham marriages, or other types of fraud can be cause for deportation. Also, things like failure to report an address change within ten days of moving is considered a deportable offense.

There is no predetermined list of crimes that can get you deported. If you are arrested for any crime, it is important to speak with a lawyer right away. You may need to contact both a criminal lawyer to defend your alleged offense, and an immigration lawyer to help you avoid deportation. Crimes that could potentially get you deported include:

Aggravated felonies; Drug crimes; Crimes involving firearms; Crimes involving domestic violence; Crimes involving moral turpitude.

Aggravated Felonies

In order for your crime to be considered an aggravated felony, the jail sentence usually needs to be for longer than 365 days. In most instances, it will be necessary for the prosecution to prove that you intended to commit the crime.

Drug Crimes

Legal aliens can be deported for drug crimes. Also, it is important to know that an actual conviction for a drug crime is not necessary to be deported. Admitting to drug abuse or being a drug dealer can cause a deportation as well, even if you were never convicted of a drug crime. There are exceptions to this rule however, so it is important to consult with your attorney.

Firearm Charges

Legal aliens that are convicted of a firearm offense can be deported. Firearm offenses can include things like selling, purchasing, possessing or carrying a firearm, or any crime committed with a firearm.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence involves violent encounters between family members, in-laws or romantic partners. Legal aliens can be deported for crimes such as battery, child abuse, child neglect or stalking for instance. A domestic violence charge can be difficult to contend with, because it is also considered a crime involving moral turpitude.

Crimes involving Moral Turpitude

Crimes that involve moral turpitude are considered particularly serious. Legal aliens that are convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude can face deportation if the crime carries a sentence of one year and the crime was committed within 5 years of the alien being admitted into the U.S. Examples of crimes involving moral turpitude would include things like murder, manslaughter, prostitution, perjury, rape and sexual assault.

If you have committed a deportable offense, it is very important to contact the offices of James G. Beirne. A skilled immigration lawyer can provide the legal support you need to maintain your immigration status. We provide immigration services including family, fiancé and employment petitions, student and investor visas, visa extensions, naturalization and much more. Come in today and speak with an immigration lawyer from our team. We will provide you with sound legal guidance as well as a free consultation. We have three locations to serve you, Glendale (818) 552-4500, Cerritos (562) 865-4480 and West Covina (626) 262-4446. With your first appointment, you will receive legal guidance and a free consultation, so call today.


An active member of the State Bar of California and the State Bar of Nevada, James G. Beirne is also a member of the highly respected American Immigration Lawyers Association and Los Angeles County Bar Association Immigration Section. He is admitted to practice before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, all federal district courts in California and Nevada, California state courts, and Nevada state courts. Mr. Beirne has represented clients in numerous immigration cases. His offices are located at 520 E. Wilson Ave., Suite 110, Glendale, CA 91206, and 17215 Studebaker Rd., Suite 380, Cerritos, CA 90703, with telephone numbers (818) 552-4500; (562) 865-4480; and (866) 903-4522. He also has offices at 2640 E. Garvey Ave., Suite 104, West Covina 91791, with tel. no. (626) 262-4446.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Results may vary depending on the facts of a particular case. We make no prediction, warranty or guarantee about the results of any case, nor do we assume any legal liability for the completeness of any information and its impact on the results of any case. Each case is different and results depend on the facts of each case. Consult with and retain counsel of your own choice if you need legal advice.