What are the Immigration Consequences of a Domestic Assault and Battery Charge in Massachusetts?
A Domestic assault and battery charge in Massachusetts can have serious consequences if you are not a citizen of the United States.
Under Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.), any noncitizen convicted after September 30, 1996 of domestic violence is deportable. It doesn’t matter how long the person has held the visa or green card committing the crime at any time after being admitted to the U.S is sufficient to make the person deportable.Should I accept a CWOF?
A noncitizen should not accept a CWOF on a Domestic Assault and Battery charge without understanding its immigration impact. A CWOF or a continuance without a finding IS considered to be a conviction for federal immigration purposes.A district attorney generally will NOT dismiss a domestic charge:
- The district attorney is bound by strict policies to not dismiss domestic assault and battery charges.
- The district attorney may proceed with the case even if the alleged victim does not want to testify.
It is crucial not to accept any type of plea without speaking to a criminal defense lawyer who understands the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction.
- For many noncitizens, taking a domestic assault and battery to trial in the only option to avoid immigration consequences.
- In cases where you wish to resolve the case without a trial, there may be a way to minimize immigration consequences to put you in a better position should you be brought to immigration court for a hearing.
What to do when charged with domestic assault and battery as a non-citizen?
As a noncitizen, you must obtain either a dismissal of the charge or a not guilty verdict. In some limited cases, the district attorney may agree to what is called pretrial probation. This is when the district attorney agrees to continue the case for a certain time if you abide by certain conditions, staying out of further trouble and sometimes attending counseling. You still should check if this disposition is acceptable given your immigration circumstances, but generally a pretrial probation is a safe resolution for non-citizens.
How do you get the charges dismissed?
You can get the domestic assault and battery charge dismissed by setting the case down for trial. In many cases, if the alleged victim does not wish to testify the case will get dismissed. If the Commonwealth is attempting to prosecute the case based on a 911 call, you can have an evidentiary motion to exclude the call from evidence to bring the case to a resolution.
If you are charged with domestic assault and battery, you need to consider these consequences in choosing your lawyer and before you resolve any case in court. As a practical matter, your citizenship status may preclude you from accepting a plea without incurring the risk of deportation from the United States.
If you have any questions about whether you should take a domestic assault and battery charge to trial, you can call or text Attorney DelSignore at 781-686-5924. It is never too late or too early to call; I am always here to help.Contesting Domestic Assault and Battery Charge in Massachusetts.
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