One of the most common reasons immigrants get deported is because they are convicted of a crime. A criminal conviction can lead to the deportation even of someone who holds a green card and thus has permission to stay in the United States indefinitely.

Fortunately, not every criminal conviction can lead to deportation proceedings. For instance, most misdemeanor convictions will not cause deportation.

The most serious offenses in immigration law, and thus the ones most likely to lead to permanent expulsion from the United States, are called aggravated felonies. Not surprisingly, many of these offenses can also land a person in prison for years or even decades. However, this is not always the case.

For instance, certain domestic violence offenses may qualify as aggravated felonies, as can a so-called process crime like obstruction of justice or even a failure to appear in court. While any domestic violence offense is grounds for deportation, in some cases, a defense to deportation may be available

Another area where immigrants in the Modesto area may be at risk of deportation pertains to drug convictions.

Except for certain low-level marijuana offenses, just about any conviction for illegal drugs, including unlawfully procured prescription medication and common party drugs, can lead to a deportation. In fact, deportation is possible if one is a habitual drug abuser, even if he or she manages to avoid criminal conviction. Again, a defense to deportation may be available.

Finally, so-called crimes of moral turpitude, which can cover a range of criminal offenses, can also lead to deportation. What is or is not a crime of moral turpitude can be up for debate, but the crime must carry the possibility of a sentence of at least one year, although it need not be a felony. As with other types of deportable offenses, a defense to deportation may be available.

An immigrant facing deportation because of a criminal conviction should strongly consider speaking with an experienced immigration attorney.