A fifty-five year old woman is currently in a New Jersey jail waiting to find out exactly what the consequences will be for a misdemeanor drug conviction that that is a decade old. The woman has had a green card and been a permanent United States resident since before she was a year old. She came to America from Italy with her family when she was only a baby. Now she faces possible deportation as a ‘criminal alien.’
Sometimes it may seem like agreeing to a plea agreement for a drug conviction may be the easiest way out of a scary situation. Prosecutors may reduce a sentence or drop some charges in exchange for a guilty plea. But what some people may not realize is that even beyond whatever fine or sentence is incurred a conviction may have other consequences as well. For non-citizens like this woman it may mean deportation. But even for citizens it can have a negative impact on the ability to obtain student loans or future employment opportunities.
Her brothers have tried to bail her out of the prison but as an immigration detainee she is subject to mandatory detention. Almost any drug conviction may expose a non-citizen to a risk of deportation. When arresting the 55-year-old woman the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency cited a 2001 drug conviction.
There certainly may be instances when a plea agreement is in everyone’s best interest to resolve a drug charge. But it is important that you are fully aware of all of the potential implications of a conviction before agreeing to a deal.
Source: LoHud.com “New Rochelle woman, in U.S. 54 years, fights deportation over old drug case” Leah Rae, June 14, 2011