SARPA LAW has experience in cases where an immigrant is charged with a criminal offense in local state court. The entire issue for the client becomes whether they can be deported, found to be inadmissible, or be disqualified from citizenship due to a criminal charge or conviction.


This field of law is fairly cutting edge and called “crimmigration” or “crimigration” and refers to the intersection of criminal law and immigration law. The laws in this field are highly nuanced, complex, and ever-changing. It requires an attorney who has the energy and dedication to understand how both criminal and immigration law works, while keeping up to date on new developments. Your criminal defense attorney will often need to refer you to an immigration attorney in this field who can work with you and your criminal attorney on developing a strategy to best avoid negative consequences. There are no general rules, every case is completely different and requires a complete analysis of many factors, including the following factors: your immigration history, dates of entry, dates of departure, method of reentry, prior deportations, ties to the United States, family in the United States, criminal history and the facts of your current charge.


Due to Mr. Sarparast’s prior experience as a criminal prosecutor, now other criminal attorneys or public defenders often consult or collaborate with him on these issues. In fact, it was as a prosecutor where he received hands on experience with the immigration consequences of certain criminal convictions. An immigrant can sometimes rush to a plea deal and face the harsh consequences of a conviction years later. It is critical to see an immigration attorney as soon as possible if you have been arrested or cited by the police. While some clients are forced to hire two lawyers (one criminal defense attorney and one immigration attorney), that is not necessary at SARPA LAW. Mr. Sarparast has successfully represented immigrants in criminal cases and been able to advise them about their immigration case at the same time.


Over the past years there has been a dramatic change in how non-citizens with prior criminal convictions are treated. This is often seen in discussions with older clients with prior records and newer clients with only one conviction. In other words, in the past a non-citizen with a criminal record could live their lives normally, even travel and reenter the country, without giving up their legal status in the US. That has changed, now such an individual is much more likely to be deported whether they have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. They will also be detained if they exit and attempt to reenter through a port of entry. Immigration authorities are increasing their presence even in smaller cities and are rapidly expanding efforts to monitor those arrested in local jails.

On March 31, 2010, the United States Supreme Court issued the seminal case of Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), finding that criminal defense attorneys have a duty under the 6th Amendment to provide affirmative, competent advice to non-citizen defendants about the immigration consequences of their criminal conviction. The failure to do so allows a non-citizen to later raise a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Below is what the Supreme Court said:

“Changes to immigration law have dramatically raised the stakes of a noncitizen’s criminal conviction. While once there was only a narrow class of deportable offenses and judges wielded broad discretionary authority to prevent deportation, immigration reforms have expanded the class of deportable offenses and limited judges’ authority to alleviate deportation’s harsh consequences. Because the drastic measure of deportation or removal is now virtually inevitable for a vast number of noncitizens convicted of crimes, the importance of accurate legal advice for noncitizens accused of crimes has never been more important. Thus, as a matter of federal law, deportation is an integral part of the penalty that may be imposed on noncitizen defendants who plead guilty to specified crimes.”


At SARPA LAW, the attorney can be part of your case at the earliest stage within the criminal system so he can make sure the most is done to prevent immigration problems:

  • The attorney can ensure no admissions are made to law enforcement that can trigger immigration consequences. Under certain circumstances, admitting to something is enough to cause immigration problems, even if that admission is something that is not a crime in state courts.
  • If you are charged, the attorney can analyze the strengths and weakness in your immigration case so that you can anticipate and prepare your criminal case in light of those issues.
  • If there is an immigration hold/detainer while you are in local jail, the attorney can analyze and advise you about posting immigration bond.
  • Prior to release from jail, the attorney may be able to meet with you and your family and negotiate with immigration authorities about allowing you to remain out of immigration custody.
  • The attorney can determine if it is in your best interest to challenge the District Attorney’s evidence in your criminal case, go to trial, or accept a creative plea that will minimize or avoid the possibility of immigration consequences (deportability, inadmissibility, bar to citizenship).

For more information on how SARPA LAW defends immigrants being charged with crimes, follow the link to the criminal section of the website: Immigration Defense.

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©2012 Sarpa Law