Which Drug Offenses Can Get You Deported?
Which Drug Offenses Can Get You Deported?


Navigating the intersection of immigration and drug laws in the United States can be daunting for non-citizens. At The Law Offices of Daniel Shanfield Immigration Defense, PC, located in the heart of San Jose, CA, we understand the complexities and consequences of drug-related offenses for immigrants. In this article, we’ll delve into the types of drug offenses that can lead to deportation and how our team can help protect your rights and status in the U.S.

What is Deportation?

Deportation is a formal removal process a country uses to expel a foreign national from its territory, typically for violating immigration laws or other related legal offenses. This process is carried out under the authority of the country’s government and involves the legal and administrative procedures necessary to enforce the departure of the non-citizen. The reasons for deportation can range widely but often include illegal entry or overstaying a visa, committing certain crimes, including some drug offenses, or posing a security threat.

The process usually begins with an arrest and a notification to the individual that deportation proceedings will start. It involves hearings before an immigration judge, where the individual can present a defense and apply for relief from removal if eligible. If the judge orders deportation, the individual is detained and then removed from the country, typically under the escort of immigration officials.

Deportation has significant consequences, including being barred from returning to the country for a certain period, or in some cases, permanently. It can also affect the deported individual’s ability to obtain visas or entry into other countries.

Which Drug Offenses Can Get You Deported?

Which Drug Offenses Can Get You Deported?

The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) specifies various grounds for deporting a non-citizen, including certain drug offenses. Immigrants must understand which drug-related activities can put their ability to stay in the U.S. at risk.

Controlled Substance Violations

Generally, any conviction for a violation of a law relating to controlled substances, except for a single offense involving possession for one’s own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana, can lead to deportation. This includes offenses involving the trafficking, manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances as defined by federal law.

Aggravated Felonies

Certain drug offenses are categorized as aggravated felonies, a category that significantly increases the risk of deportation. Examples include drug trafficking, which can be inferred from a conviction involving the illicit possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. An aggravated felony conviction can make an immigrant deportable and ineligible for most forms of relief from deportation.

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

While not all drug offenses are considered crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT), some can be, depending on the circumstances and the jurisdiction. A CIMT generally involves conduct contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals. A conviction for a CIMT can lead to deportation, especially if the conviction occurs within the first five years of admission to the U.S. or if there are multiple convictions.

The Importance of Getting an Attorney Early On

Securing legal representation early in any legal matter, especially in immigration and deportation cases, can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Here’s why getting an attorney early is crucial:

1. Preventing Mistakes

The immigration system is complex and fraught with pitfalls. An experienced attorney can help you avoid common mistakes that could jeopardize your case, such as missing deadlines, failing to provide necessary documentation, or inadvertently admitting something that could harm your case.

2. Strategic Planning

Early involvement of an attorney allows for developing a comprehensive legal strategy tailored to your situation. An attorney can assess the risks and opportunities in your case, guide you on the best course of action, and prepare a robust defense or application on your behalf.

3. Navigating Complex Laws

Immigration laws and policies change frequently. An attorney with expertise in immigration law can navigate these complexities and apply the most current legal standards to your benefit. Early legal guidance ensures that your case proceeds according to the latest regulations and precedents.

4. Exploring All Options

Many individuals are unaware of the various relief and defenses available in immigration law. An early consultation with an attorney can uncover potential paths to legal status, relief from deportation, or other benefits you might not have considered.

5. Preventing Delays

Engaging an attorney from the outset can help avoid delays in processing your case. Attorneys ensure that applications and documentation are complete and filed correctly, reducing the likelihood of bureaucratic delays due to errors or omissions.

6. Protection from Enforcement Actions

Early legal representation can protect from enforcement actions by immigration authorities. Attorneys can communicate on your behalf, ensuring your rights are protected during interactions with the government.

7. Emotional and Psychological Support

Dealing with immigration issues can be incredibly stressful. An attorney can offer not just legal support but also emotional reassurance. Knowing that you have a knowledgeable advocate can alleviate the anxiety associated with uncertainty and the complexity of legal processes.

The importance of securing an attorney early cannot be overstated, particularly in the context of immigration and deportation matters. At The Law Offices of Daniel Shanfield Immigration Defense, PC, we understand the stakes for you and your family. Our early intervention can make a critical difference, providing clarity, direction, and hope. If you’re facing immigration issues, don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us for a consultation, and let us guide you through your legal journey with confidence and expertise.

How a Deportation Defense Lawyer Can Help 

As a law firm specializing in immigration defense, we understand the profound impact deportation can have on individuals and their families. A deportation defense lawyer is crucial in navigating the complex and often daunting process of fighting deportation. Here’s how our legal team can assist:

1. Expert Legal Guidance

Our attorneys possess deep knowledge of immigration law and are up to date with the latest legal precedents and policy changes. We provide expert guidance on the best legal strategies tailored to your unique situation, helping you understand your rights and options.

2. Representation in Court

Facing an immigration judge can be intimidating. Our deportation defense lawyers offer robust representation in immigration court, ensuring your case is presented clearly and effectively. We argue on your behalf, challenge evidence, and cross-examine witnesses to strengthen your position.

3. Relief from Deportation

Various forms of relief are available to individuals facing deportation, such as asylum, removal cancellation, status adjustment, and waivers. Our team thoroughly evaluates your case to identify the most viable forms of relief and assists in preparing a compelling application to improve your chances of success.

4. Negotiating Plea Agreements

In cases where deportation proceedings are initiated due to criminal convictions, our attorneys work to negotiate plea agreements that minimize the immigration consequences. We strive to find solutions that serve both your immediate and long-term interests.

5. Post-Conviction Relief

If a past criminal conviction is the basis for deportation, our team explores options for post-conviction relief. This might include filing appeals, seeking a pardon, or pursuing legal motions to vacate or modify the conviction, which can potentially eliminate the grounds for deportation.

6. Detention and Bond Hearings

If immigration authorities detain you or a loved one, we represent you in bond hearings to argue for your release while your deportation case is pending. Our attorneys work diligently to secure a bond that is fair and affordable.

7. Comprehensive Support and Advocacy

Beyond legal representation, our team provides you and your family with comprehensive support. We understand the emotional toll of deportation proceedings and offer compassionate guidance. We aim to advocate for your rights and work tirelessly towards a positive outcome.

Defending Against Deportation for Drug Offenses

The intersection of immigration and drug laws requires a nuanced understanding of both federal and state statutes. Here’s how our team at The Law Offices of Daniel Shanfield Immigration Defense, PC, can help:

  • Legal Representation: We provide robust legal representation to challenge drug offense charges or the classification of a drug offense as an aggravated felony or CIMT.
  • Relief from Deportation: We explore all avenues of relief from deportation, including asylum, cancellation of removal, and waivers where applicable.
  • Advice on Plea Deals: We work with criminal defense attorneys to negotiate plea deals that minimize immigration consequences.
  • Post-Conviction Relief: In some cases, we may be able to pursue post-conviction relief to overturn a conviction or alter the sentence to mitigate immigration consequences.


If you or a loved one are facing drug charges or deportation proceedings in San Jose, CA, or the surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Daniel Shanfield Immigration Defense, PC. Our experienced team is dedicated to protecting the rights and futures of immigrants in our community.

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