NJ Criminal conviction and its immigration consequences

By Maynard & Sumner, LLC of Maynard & Sumner, LLC posted in Immigration on Monday, October 22, 2012.

In the Mercer County Superior Court, a Mexican citizen, residing in New Jersey, was convicted of child endangerment after being found guilty of excessively spanking an 11-year-old girl. The man, residing in Lawrenceville, NJ, faces possible deportation. In both the Superior and municipal courts, defendants who are not US citizens need to be informed that certain criminal convictions can result in deportation. If a defendant is not informed of the possible immigration consequences, he or she may contest his or her conviction, for instance via PCR (Post-Conviction Relief).

In New Jersey, the defendant’s criminal defense lawyer is required to inform his client of that a criminal conviction can have a negative effect on his or her immigration status. Even in the NJ municipal courts, the judges are directed to do the following:

  • Inform the defendant that a guilty plea or a finding of guilt may result in negative immigration consequences, such as deportation; and
  • Inform the defendant that he or she should consult a criminal defense attorney regarding the potential negative effects.

These directives resulted from a case in 2009, State v. Nunez, 200 N.J. 129 (2009), in which a man pled guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, however, was misinformed that a guilty plea would not result in deportation. After he was convicted and sentenced, he learned that he was going to be deported. As a result, he filed for PCR. The Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled in his favor, allowing him to rescind his plea and have the matter go to trial.

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