When a citizen is accused of a drug crime, he or she can seek the help of an attorney to fight the charges. If the person is found not guilty, he or she can move forward. If that person is found guilty, he or she may have to serve time in jail or prison. For immigrants, however, the future can be less clear cut, because even being accused of a drug crime might be enough to have them removed (deported) from the U.S.
What are considered drug crimes?
In Tennessee, you can be charged with a drug crime even if you are not holding or using any controlled substances at the time you are arrested. The most common drug charges include:
- Possession (of drugs or drug paraphernalia)
Drug charges are not limited to illegal drugs. Prescription medications are also considered controlled substances, and if you are charged with selling or distributing substances, like OxyContin, you may also face deportation even if you are not convicted. If ICE agents find a small set of scales and small plastic baggies, you might face drug crime charges – even if there are no drugs present.
If you are charged with a drug crime, you may become inadmissible for citizenship, too. Lawful permanent residents (“green card” holders), immigrants here on visas, or refugees or asylum petitioners may be removed. If you are awaiting a change in your status and are charged with a drug crime, you may find your petition denied and face deportation.
Protect yourself from removal
If you are charged with a drug crime, remember this:
- You have the right to speak with an immigration attorney.
- You have the right not to answer any questions ICE or law enforcement might ask without a lawyer present.
- You have the right to refuse a home search if enforcement officials do not have a warrant.
- You have the right to request a bond hearing.
- You have the right not to sign any paperwork without reviewing it with your attorney first.
Sometimes, ICE officials will try to convince an immigrant charged with a drug crime to agree to a lesser charge or a voluntary departure. DO NOT agree to anything without first asking an immigration lawyer.
The Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC fights on behalf of immigrants accused of drugs crimes. If you are facing charges in state court or immigration officials, contact Nashville immigration attorney Perry Craft by calling 615-953-3808 or by filling out our contact form.