A Break For Legal Immigrants Convicted of Marijuana Possession

A Break For Legal Immigrants Convicted of Marijuana Possession Banner Image

The United States Supreme Court has given legal immigrants a break when it comes to convictions for possessing a small amount of marijuana.  The Court has ruled that a conviction for this offense is no longer an “aggravated felony” that leads to deportation or removal from the country.  The Justices said that the government must show that the defendant either sold the drugs or possessed a “significant quantity” for the crime to be considered an “aggravated felony.”

The term “aggravated felony” as used in this context is a classification used in immigration proceedings and does not always correspond to an aggravated felony in criminal court, as possession of a small amount of marijuana in California is a misdemeanor.

Under current immigration law, any non-citizen who is convicted of an “aggravated felony” is eligible, and most often proceedings are brought against them, for deportation.  This occurs regardless of how long this person has lived legally in the country or how productive they have been.  The problems started when legal immigrants were being deported for, what many consider to be, minor non-serious drug possession offenses and long-time residents and families were being broken up.

One of the biggest problems that we see is when a suspect has been in custody for a couple days, are transferred to Los Angeles County Jail and an immigration hold is placed on them.  Thus, even if the criminal charges get dismissed, the person is still being held in custody by immigration officials and facing deportation proceedings.  The best course of action is to contact attorney Ross Erlich while your friend or family member is at the local jail and get them out as soon as possible.

If you are a non-citizen, regardless of your current status, it is crucial for your future to consult attorney Ross Erlich if you have been arrested and charged with a crime, any crime.  With the firm’s criminal defense experience, as well as the expert immigration resources, attorney Ross Erlich is in the best position possible to prevent the harsh immigration consequences that are so often a result of being arrested.  Whether you have been charged with a DUI, petty theft, shoplifting, domestic violence, assault or hit-and-run in the Metro court, Airport Court, Downtown Criminal Court or Burbank court, these may have potential immigration implications.

Contact attorney Ross Erlich today for a free consultation on the criminal and immigration consequences of your arrest!