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What are the Immigration Consequences if a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) is Charged With or Convicted Of Theft?

If a Lawful Permanent Resident is charged with theft, the charge itself has no immigration consequences in and of itself.  What could cause a problem is if the person is arrested for and/or later convicted of theft.  If the person is arrested for theft, the arrest may be reported to the Department of Homeland Security, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency may put an ICE hold on the person, to hold them in jail until a hearing or trial can be held.

If the Lawful Permanent Resident is later convicted of the Member Logo_3x3_Decal2016theft, and if the conviction includes a sentence of 180 days or more, the theft conviction is considered to be a conviction of a “Crime Involving Moral Turpitude” (CIMT).  If the sentence is for 365 days or more, the theft conviction is considered to be an “aggravated felony”.

Generally, if a Lawful Permanent Resident is convicted of a CIMT, and if the crime was committed less than 5 years after they were admitted to the U.S., they are considered to be deportable.  If  a Lawful Permanent Resident is convicted of an “Aggravated Felony”, the Lawful Permanent Resident is deportable and they lose the right to ask for certain forms of immigration relief, including Cancellation of Removal, certain Waivers of Inadmissibility, Asylum, and  Voluntary Departure, and if deported they are permanently barred from re-entering the United States.

Generally if a Lawful Permanent Resident person is arrested and held under an ICE hold, they can request a bond hearing to allow them to go free from jail until their removal hearing.  However, if the person is arrested on charges involving an aggravated felony, the court is less likely to grant bond and allow them to go free pending hearing or trial.

In some situations it may be advisable to seek a plea agreement on the theft charge that would limit the sentence to less than 180 days to avoid being convicted of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude, or less than 365 days to avoid being convicted an Aggravated Felony, and thus reduce the risk of the consequences described above.

This post is designed for general information only, and does not constitute legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship.