From the Committee for Public Counsel Services – The Public Defender Agency of Massachusetts
“We stand with the voiceless. We demand justice. We defend the accused. We fight for the rights of children and families.”
If you are not a United States citizen, you may face immigration consequences (including deportation, denial of entry into the U.S., denial of a green card, and denial of citizenship) because of criminal charges. This may be true . . .
- Even if you have a green card
- Even if you have been in the United States for many years
- Even if you are afraid to return to the country where you come from
- Even if you are only charged with a misdemeanor
- Even if you only get probation
- Even if you take a continuance without a finding (“CWOF”), complete probation, and the charge is dismissed. A CWOF is the same as a guilty under immigration law.
For these reasons, it is very important that you get correct advice regarding the immigration consequences of any potential resolution to your criminal case. You have a constitutional right to have your criminal defense attorney explain the immigration consequences to you in a way that you can understand. If your defense attorney was appointed by the court, that attorney can contact the Immigration Impact Unit for advice. It is best if your attorney fills out our IIU Intake Form.
Know Your Rights!
With the new presidential administration, it’s even more important to know your rights. Everyone, including people without legal immigration status, have certain rights. For more information see:
http://www.immdefense.org/ice-home-and-community-arrests/ (Know Your Rights Flyers)
For persons in criminal custody:
If you need a free immigration attorney . . .
There is no right to a free lawyer in immigration court. There are very limited resources for free immigration attorneys in Massachusetts. For some potential resources, see –
If you are eligible for U.S. citizenship (among other things, you must have had a green card for five years or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen), this organization is a resource for assistance in applying for citizenship (and some other immigration benefits) –
If you need a court-appointed attorney to try to vacate a criminal conviction . . .
If you are indigent, you may qualify for a court-appointed attorney to attempt to vacate an old criminal conviction. To request appointed counsel, you may submit this Standard Inquiry Form to the address listed on the form –
CPCS post conviction screening request
If you or your family member has already been deported . . .
For information and resources, see –
If you are looking for more information . . .
For general information and self-help materials, try these resources:
Photo Credit: Immigration & Citizenship Assistance