Foreign Students Charged With Crimes in the United States

Many foreign exchange students find that their time living in the United States is an invaluable opportunity to learn how people in our country operate. Students are able to experience life, culture, and American society in an unprecedented way. Foreign students, however, are subject to the same laws as anyone else living in the United States. Because there is no special immunity, foreign students in the country who are faced with criminal charges often find it essential to contact a skilled attorney.

The Consequences of an Arrest or Conviction

Foreign students who are arrested or convicted of a crime can end up facing some serious penalties, which include the following:

  • Being expelled from their school or program, which will likely also result in a violation of their student visas.
  • Being required to remain in the country based on the outcome of their case, which will leave them unable to visit friends and family in their home country.
  • An F1 visa might be automatically revoked, which would leave the student unable to enter the United States without first appearing before a consular office and re-establishing visa eligibility.
  • The student must acknowledge the arrest record if he or she wants to re-enter or remain in the United States while applying for a renewal of a visa or green card.
  • A student might be found inadmissible to enter the United States again if convicted of certain crimes.
  • A student might be placed into removal proceedings before an immigration judge.
  • The student might be subject to mandatory detention in an immigration holding facility.

How Foreign Students End Up Facing Charges

Foreign students are subject to the same laws as any other citizen in the United States. These students can be arrested, charged with a crime, and held in custody by law enforcement until there is a trial or they are released on bail pending a sentence. While some foreign students decide to make plea deals in exchange for reduced sentences, doing so can seriously affect their immigration record. After being charged with a crime, a foreign student is unable to leave the country until his or her case is resolved. No matter whether a student is found guilty or not, schools might suspend or expel the student, which would require that student to return to his or her home country immediately.

What Crimes Result in Deportation? 

Foreign students who commit a crime “of moral turpitude” that can result in the student facing up to one year or more in jail are at risk of being deported from the country. Defining what crimes are of “moral turpitude” is not an exact art. Instead, “moral turpitude” is often used to encompass crimes that involve either danger or fraud to others. Other examples of “moral turpitude” crimes include fleeing from law enforcement, minors consuming alcohol, and public intoxication. Crimes that involve substance control possession can also lead to a foreign student being deported based on the amount and type of drug involved. Some of the other crimes that can result in a foreign student being deported include forgery, theft, some serious traffic offenses, and violence.

Speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are a foreign student who is charged with committing a crime, it is a wise idea to speak to a talented criminal defense attorney who knows how to help with your case. By speaking to the legal counsel at the Federal Criminal Law Center today, you can begin to take steps to make sure that your case has a positive resolution.