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If I plead guilty to a crime, can that cause deportation?

Yes, it is possible. Sometime non-citizens of the United States who are lawfully visiting or living in Ohio experience the unfortunate event of being the subject of criminal charges. If this has happened to you, there are things you need to know about the effect of pleading guilty to a charge. As noted by the Ohio Revised Code, there are times when pleading guilty to a particular charge may cause deportation under the U.S. immigration rules.

Evaluate the crime level before pleading

When the authorities charge you with a crime, it is very important to determine if the particular charges you are dealing with, if resulting in a conviction, could cause you to be subject to deportation. Knowing that possible outcome will help you determine if you should not make a plea.

Fortunately, the law requires the courts in Ohio, under certain circumstances, to remind you of the risk of deportation if convicted of certain levels of crime. Convictions of a certain magnitude can also exclude an otherwise viable candidate for naturalization from being able to naturalize.

Court has obligation to notify you of deportation risk

Section 2943.031 of Ohio Revised code specifies that the court must notify you of the risk of deportation if you are going to plead guilty to any charges or if you will be considering a no contest plea. The statute notes that the notification must occur if you are pleading to a felony or a misdemeanor. The only excused misdemeanors are those that are minor misdemeanors and then, only if you have never been the subject of a conviction or pled guilty to a minor misdemeanor.

The court must enter the provision of the notice into the record and the court must receive assurances that you understand its notification. The court must also allow you further time to reconsider the contemplated plea after you receive the notice of the risk of deportation.

A major exception to this required court provided verbal advisement on the record is if you enter a plea on a written form that you already filled out and where asked, you answered that you were a citizen of the U.S. Likewise, if you state verbally on the record that you are a citizen, then the court can skip the notice.

If the court fails to provide the required notice, you may be able to file a motion to the court to set aside your plea and the resulting conviction and enter a different, not guilty plea. This option is available for non-citizens who can show that the conviction may implicate deportation proceedings against.

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