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Certain Crimes Could Have Unwanted Effects on Your Immigration Status; Defenses in Both Criminal and Immigration Courts Very Important

California Penal Code of 484 e(d) states every person who acquires or retains possession of access card account information with respect to an access card validly issued to another person, without the cardholders or issuers consent , with the intent to use it fraudulently is guilty of Grand Theft.

In California, Felony Grand Theft is codified under Penal Code Section 487, which states that Grand Theft is the “unlawful taking of another's property valued above $950.

Grand theft is a “wobbler” offense, which means that grand theft in California may either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony; depending on (1) the particular facts of the case and (2) the defendant's criminal history.

If convicted of California grand theft, the penalties is depending on what is stolen and the circumstances surrounding the act.
Grand theft carries sentences that include both fines and jail time. Grand theft in California is a “wobbler offense,” meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

If the grand theft is a misdemeanor, the defendant may be sentenced to up to one year in county jail. If convicted of a felony, the defendant may face up to three years in California State prison.

An LPR (lawful Permanent Resident) or Green Card Holder will be subject to removability by the Immigration Court if convicted of Grand Theft.

Why does removability mean? It means the person would be taken to Immigration Jail after he has served in Criminal Jail. But there are some defenses available. Defenses that may help with the removability of the defendant and his/her stay in Immigration detention.

Descamps v. U.S. is a US Supreme Court of 2012. The US Supreme Court in this case decided to take a case related to the issue of divisibility. Meaning The US Supreme Court decided to take a case to determine whether Ninth circuit was right to hold that where a criminal statue misses an element, the court may review the record of conviction to determine if the key element were charged, pled or prosecuted to final conviction.

“The Supreme Court then rejected the above rule adopted by BIA and other courts. The US Supreme Court rejected rulings that allowed judges to look behind an earlier criminal conviction and impose federal collateral consequences based on “facts” from the underlying court records. The records that the defendant in criminal court and later respondent in Immigration court were not convicted of.

When The Supreme Court reverted, the divided Ninth Circuit decision and reasoned majority of overbroad statues can be categorically statues of missing elements. An overbroad or missing element both have mismatch in elements. And the person convicted is not convicted of generic crime.

Whether 484 e(d) can be divisible is an argument that a Criminal Immigration Lawyer may be able to support in a Criminal Immigration, US Immigration Court Removal Proceedings.

Unless accompanied by crimes of conspiracy against US, Treason, Espionage or alike, Grand Theft Conviction would not affect you the same as you were a Green Card Holder. To help your case, you must contact a knowledgeable Immigration Lawyer.

This is a legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice. This blog does not create Attorney-Client Relationship. For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.

Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (Persian).

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