Student & exchange visitor CRIMINAL DEFENSE

 

If you are arrested for a crime—even a seemingly minor offense—it could have a major impact on your ability to remain in the US as a student or exchange visitor, and could affect long-term eligibility for lawful immigration status. If you are arrested while in a student or exchange visa status, you should consult a criminal defense and immigration lawyer to advise you as soon as possible.

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have a proven track record of handling thousands of criminal cases including felonies, misdemeanors and federal crimes. Our team knows how to balance criminal law defense with immigration consequences. A criminal charge does not have to mean you'll be convicted or deported. We have the knowledge and experience to aggressively defend your rights and reach the best outcome possible. There is hope no matter what the charge.

 

consequences 

oF aN arrest

While a student may be arrested for a violent felony, most commonly students are arrested for minor misdemeanors such as drunk driving (DUI), petty theft, using fake ids or drug possession. For students who are US citizens, these arrests can be inconvenient, and if convicted, the person may face fines and jail time. He or she may even be kicked out of school.

For the international student, the consequences of an arrest or conviction may be much more severe:

1) If you are expelled from school or your program, you will be in violation of your student visa.

2) You may be required to remain in the US pending the outcome of your case, meaning you will be unable to visit your friends and family back home until your case is resolved.

3) You must acknowledge your arrest record if you wish to re-enter or remain in the US when you apply for renewal of your visa or a green card. This applies even if your case is ultimately dismissed.

4) You may be found to be inadmissible to re-enter or remain in the US if you are convicted of certain crimes, including most drug crimes and other crimes involving moral turpitude.

5) You may be placed into removal proceedings before an immigration court and face deportation.

6) You may also be subject to mandatory detention in an immigration holding facility while your trial before the immigration court is pending in some instances, particularly when many drug offenses are involved.

Information for school administrators

you have the right to remain silent

US law provides you the 5th Amendment right to not self incriminate. If you are questioned by police or placed under arrest, you do not need to make any statements other than to request an attorney. You do not have to answer the questions police ask you, such as where you have been or how much you have had to drink. It is important to be polite and to provide identification to police, but you do not have to make any statements. Your words may be manipulated and used against you. Even native English-speakers are often confused by the legal jargon and semantics used by law enforcement officers. If English is your second language, you may find the officer’s questions confusing, and you may struggle to make yourself clear to investigators.

An arrest can cause visa problems, a conviction will cause even more difficulty

You need a legal advocate who can navigate the separate criminal and immigration judicial systems for you, explaining the nature of your case, guiding you through the process, and offering wise legal counsel. Our team is experienced in both criminal defense and immigration matters which is critical to avoid conviction and/or removal from the US.

If you are studying in the US on a student visa, a criminal arrest can complicate matters for you. Your arrest will be entered into NCIC National Crime Information Center database and could cause delays in re-entering the country if you leave, causing you to miss school. Your visa application or renewal could be denied, thus ending your educational opportunities in the US. You may be deported or “removed” from the US and barred from readmission.

STUDENT & EXCHANGE VISITOR CRIMINAL DEFENSE SERVICES

If you've been arrested for any criminal offense, the immigration and defense attorneys at Chudnovsky Law can help. We are skilled in fighting criminal charges of all kinds and managing the immigration consequences. Our attorneys have had great success in the courtroom and have a strong record of acquittals, reductions in charges, and dismissals. We are ready to defend you aggressively and achieve the best possible outcome to your case.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE

Our legal team understands that criminal charges can have a profound impact on your life, especially for international students and exchange scholars. Protecting clients against convictions, deportations and penalties is our top priority. Criminal charges can threaten your personal and professional well-being, your parental rights - and put your future on the line. Our experienced defense attorneys provide smart, aggressive defense for most types of criminal charges including:

  • Assault & Battery
  • Domestic Violence
  • Driving Crimes
  • Drug Crimes
  • Federal Crimes
  • Fraud and Embezzlement
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Sex Crimes
  • Theft Crimes
  • Violent Crimes
  • Weapon Possession
  • White Collar Crimes

Our criminal defense and immigration attorneys are experienced working with prosecutors, judges and the court systems to adjust charges, reduce sentencing or get cases dismissed to achieve the best possible outcome considering immigration consequences.

Info about crime immigration consequences

Expungement

While you may have moved on from a criminal conviction in your past, your criminal record has not. In fact, even if you were simply arrested and never charged with or convicted of a crime, that arrest report can remain on your record. Our firm may be able to remove your past criminal records through a process known as expungement. Expungement extracts and isolates criminal records, and prevents them from being disclosed under most circumstances. One of the main benefits of having your record expunged is that you can legally state you have no conviction for that particular criminal offense when asked about your criminal record.

From regaining more access to loans, federal assistance, and education to significantly increasing your chances of obtaining the employment you want, there are a range of benefits that you can enjoy with a clean and clear record. Perhaps most important is the peace of mind you will experience knowing that your past is finally put behind you for good. If you are seeking expungement or sealing a criminal record, contact us as early as possible.


OUR PROACTIVE APPROACH

Some California criminal defense lawyers take a wait-and-see approach. They stall until the first court date, or until they receive the police reports, before investigating and working up your case.

By contrast, we believe there's no time to waste, especially for international students and exchange visitors. The most critical window for defense work may be the first few days following an arrest, or even prior to formal charges being filed. By getting to work immediately, often we can locate favorable defense evidence and witnesses, and get a head start towards defeating the charges.

STOP CHARGES BEFORE THEY ARE Filed?

Sometimes it's possible to stop criminal charges from being filed. After making an arrest or investigating a suspected crime, police take their evidence to the district attorney. The D.A. evaluates the potential case and decides what, if any, criminal charges to file. Usually, the prosecutor makes this decision based solely on what police present. But often there's much more to the story.

Many times our criminal defense lawyers can also meet with the D.A. during this same time period. We can present our evidence and witness statements.

Knowing your side of the story may affect the D.A.'s calculations. When the prosecutors see the whole picture, not just what the police or alleged "victim" have to say, they may decide to file lesser charges such as a misdemeanor rather than a felony, for example. Or perhaps even reject the case and not file any criminal charges at all.


don't wait for prosecutors to make the first move

Contact us for a free, confidential initial consultation to start your defense!


WE OFFER SECOND OPINIONS

Perhaps you already have a California immigration or criminal defense lawyer. Your case has been pending for awhile. Your attorney advises you on a certain case strategy, such as accepting the D.A.'s offer, or taking the case to trial. Now you face a major life decision. And you're just not sure what to do.

We can evaluate your case and offer our independent judgment as to your various options and the merits of each. Much like a patient may see another doctor for a second opinion before making a major life decision, we can give you a legal second opinion.

In the end, we may agree with your current attorney's position. Or we may not. We may suggest a totally different approach. But our advice to you will be unbiased, look only to your best interests, and be based on a careful analysis of all the facts and law.

Contact us for help

We like to start every case by sitting down with you and your witnesses to hear exactly what happened. The police and the accusers will have their story. We will be presenting yours. So we start by listening and understanding your side of it. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to see if we're the right California immigration and criminal defense lawyers for you.


Languages spoken

English, French, Italian, Spanish and Amharic.