Drug penalties can come with harsh penalties, even for first-time offenders. If you’re a non-U.S. citizen, the consequences may be more severe than if you were a citizen. Those who do not have citizenship status have fewer rights than citizens, and may face more challenges when fighting their charges.
If you’re a non-U.S. citizen and have been accused of a drug-related offense, the state of Louisiana will aggressively prosecute their case against you. Being aware of the consequences from the beginning of your case can help you make more informed choices. A strong drug offense attorney can defend you in court and answer any questions you have.
Potential Consequences of a Non-U.S. Citizen Being Convicted of a Drug Crime
Whether you’re an illegal immigrant or a permanent resident, you could be facing severe consequences if convicted. For example, you may face deportation and the inability to return to the United States. On the other hand, if a judge does not sentence you to deportation, they may impose other penalties, such as:
- Preventing you from legal reentry into the U.S. if you leave of your own will
- Inability to apply for a green card, permanent residence, or U.S. citizenship
- Inability to adjust immigration status from illegal to legal
All of these consequences can have a long-lasting impact on your future in the United States, so it’s important to immediately seek legal counsel. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the more helpful they can be.
Controlled Substances That May Lead to Deportation
There are a few offenses that may lead to mandatory removal from the United States. For instance, federal law categorizes drugs and controlled substances into five categories known as schedules. The drugs in each schedule range from heroin to marijuana; the schedule of the drug you’re accused of having on you will influence the nature of your charges and penalties upon your conviction, as will the amount of the drug in your possession.
For the prosecution to convict you of a drug charge, they must prove that your drug offense involved a controlled substance in the federal schedules. If they’re able to prove this, you may face immediate deportation and inability to return to the U.S.
Can I Face Mandatory Deportation If Convicted of a Drug Crime?
Some factors may lead to mandatory deportation if you are convicted of a drug crime. For instance, if you have been charged with two or more crimes with a combined prison sentence of more than five years, you may be deported with the inability to return.
Additionally, if you’re charged with an aggravated felony, you may face deportation. Aggravating factors vary but generally involve the use of a deadly weapon during the commission of a crime. Repeat offenders may also be charged with an aggravated felony.
It’s important to note that prior criminal history may be a factor in penalties.
How Drug Treatment Programs May Help Your Case
The United States typically does not deport those who are addicted to or abuse drugs, but you may have a better chance of staying in the country if you successfully complete a drug treatment program. In Louisiana, those charged with drug crimes may have the option to complete one of these programs, which you’d complete before seeing a judge. However, if you’re found guilty or accept a plea deal, you may risk deportation, even if you completed a substance abuse program.
Contact Expert Louisiana Drug Defense Attorneys
In Louisiana, expert drug defense attorneys can be found at The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm. With more than 25 years of experience, Attorney Eric Johnson has the skills necessary to craft a creative and effective defense. It’s our mission to help you get your life back on track and have your voice heard.
Call (318) 377-1555 or complete an online contact form to schedule your free consultation.