Supreme Court Considers Deportation for Drug Crimes Conviction
Being charged with a crime can be a nerve-wracking time for someone who has never been facing jail time. These individuals may not know what to do in these situations, and could try to bargain with the prosecution in an effort to get a reduced sentence.
Certain offenses, especially drug crimes, are considered to be non-violent, meaning that the prosecution may not seek extensive jail or prison time for those convicted. However, there may be some additional penalties that may arise, and offenders need to be aware of some of the dangers that may accompany a guilty plea. This is especially true for immigrants, as certain criminal convictions may lead to deportation. A recent United States Supreme Court case examined this issue in greater detail.
The case concerned an individual in the country legally who was arrested in Georgia for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The person had roughly 1.3 grams of the drug in an automobile that was stopped by police. The motorist stated that he was going to share the marijuana with others, and was not expected to receive any compensation for doing so.
The individual pleaded guilty, and received a sentence of five years of probation. Because officials believed that the man had pleaded guilty to an aggravated felony, they felt he should be deported, despite not being sentenced to any prison time. This required the Court to analyze the state laws that applied to the crime in question, and compare them to the federal laws that would govern similar offenses.
When comparing these two provisions, the Court believed that there was some uncertainty as to whether the man could have been charged with a felony under the Controlled Substances Act. The decision stated that the review must only examine the laws themselves, and not the particular facts of the crime. The Court held that since the crime that was alleged did not necessarily rise to the level of trafficking, the man should not automatically be deported because of the conviction.
If you are facing drug charges, it is important that you understand the consequences that may accompany a conviction. Many of these crimes will carry a jail or prison sentence, and can also make it more difficult for an individual to find work after being released.
Speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn more about what you can do to protect yourself at this time. It is important to review the actions of the police officers involved in your case to ensure that your rights were not violated during the process. If you plead guilty to these charges, any future offenses could result in a more severe punishment.