Immigration Issues: How can a Lawyer Help My Immigrant Family Member that was Arrested in New Orleans?

With the constantly changing immigration laws, many immigrants are feeling the stress and tension of what can happen to them during these confusing times. This is especially true for those immigrants that have been arrested for a crime. In these situations, it is crucial to understand what you and your family need to do and how a lawyer can help you when you encounter immigration enforcement, the police, or have to go through further legal proceedings.

What to Do After an Arrest

Getting arrested can be an incredibly stressful experience; however, as an immigrant, criminal activity can be even more worrisome as it can lead to the loss of your status and possible deportation. That’s why if you have been arrested for a crime and are a non-citizen immigrant, it is important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. What’s even more vital is finding an experienced lawyer that knows not only criminal defense law, but also has a clear understanding of the immigration process. This way, they will be able to come up with a strategy to tackle your criminal convictions as well as your immigration issues, including how to best help your immigration status.  Having a legal team that can handle both immigration and criminal law cases can be extremely beneficial to your needs. The firm of Stephenson, Chávarri & Dawson, LLC.  not only has many years of experience in both of these types of laws, but they also handle their cases with a unique approach. They provide their clients with solutions and strategies from specialized attorneys who work together to provide the most effective course of action to tackle a client’s criminal defense needs as well as their immigration needs.

Immigration Hold

In some instances, after you have been arrested for a crime, immigration officials can initiate an “immigration hold.”  If an immigration hold is put into place, the jail is notified to hold you for an additional 48 hours, even if you might have otherwise been released. At this point, federal officials can transfer you into federal custody for an alleged immigration violation, and removal proceedings may be initiated depending on the crime. Whether you are placed in immigration hold will be dependent on a lot of factors, including the area you are arrested in, how closely the local law enforcement works with ICE, and the degree of your crime. That is why if you have been arrested for any offense, it is imperative to hire an attorney who can help fight for your release, especially from immigration holds.

Crimes Resulting in Immigration Issues and Deportation

Immigrants need to know that certain crimes such as “aggravated felonies” can put the immigrant up against the harshest of penalties. As a result of these crimes, immigrants can face enhanced punishments, deportation without a removal hearing, permanent bar from future U.S. admission, and not be eligible for asylum, cancellation of removal, waivers of inadmissibility and voluntary departure.  What is even more critical is that an immigrant could still be deported if they serve no jail time or plead down to a misdemeanor from these crimes.  These type of crimes include:

  • Aggravated Felonies
    • Includes over thirty types of offenses including murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor (including statutory rape), theft, filing a false tax return, simple battery, and failing to appear in court.
    • It is important to remember that Congress does not subtract from the list of aggravated felonies for immigration purposes; instead, the federal government is continually making the list longer.
  • Firearms Offenses
  • Drug Offenses
  • Crimes of Moral Turpitude (CMT)
    • These crimes often involve individuals engaging in morally reprehensible conduct with a willful, reckless, or malicious intent. These offenses can include crimes against the government, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, crimes against property, and sexual and family crimes.

How Can an Attorney Help?

It is always essential to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who has handled both criminal defense cases as well as immigration issues when you have been arrested for a crime. They may help you not only dispute the allegations that are against you but also find and claim any of the available relief.  As immigration laws can be extremely complex, any detail of your arrest can affect the classification of the crime you committed, which in turn will affect your defense options.  That is why hiring  an attorney can help you with the following:

  • Help you prepare a defense against any upcoming removal proceedings.
  • Help you to understand how a conviction or a specific sentence will affect your immigration status before you enter any guilty plea, decide to leave the United States, or apply for any immigration benefits.
  • Help you deal with the immigration consequences that continue after an individual has already served their sentence. Unless the case is not outright dismissed or stricken, a criminal conviction will exist under immigration law and can affect your naturalization process.

Why Call Stephenson, Chávarri & Dawson, LLC?

The team at Stephenson, Chávarri, & Dawson LLC.,  understand how confusing and stressful this time may be in your life. That is why our primary goal is to help you get the best possible outcome, not only with your possible criminal conviction but with your immigration issues as well. Depending on the specific facts of your case, these outcomes can include:

  • Dismissal of the charges against you.
  • Getting a favorable plea agreement.
  • Receiving an acquittal at trial
  • Getting a reduction in your charges
  • Obtaining a reduced sentencing option.
  • Helping you understand how these crimes will affect your immigration status and choosing the strategy that can help both issues.
  • Help you dispute the allegations and fight for any immigration relief you may be entitled to.
  • Assist in obtaining permission for you to stay in the United States indefinitely or for some period of time.

Our New Orleans law firm is here to not only defend your rights but also to help minimize your confusion and worry. The attorneys at Stephenson, Chávarri & Dawson, LLC. will make sure to thoroughly investigate your case and develop the most appropriately suited strategy for your situation, while also explaining all of your options so that you feel confident with the course of action that you choose to proceed with. Finally, our team is here to ensure that your case gets the attention and dedication that it deserves. That is why if you or an immigrant family member has been arrested in New Orleans, don’t wait any longer, call our office at 504-523-6496 today.



Aggravated Felonies: An Overview. (2016). American Immigration Council. 

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. Immigrants’ Rights. (N.D). ACLU. 

How to Help a Detainee in an Immigration Hold. (N.D.). All Law. 

The Immigration Hold Process After Jail. (N.D.). All Law. 




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