As someone in the United States on a visa or who has not yet completed the naturalization process, it’s important to know that there are restrictions that impact your rights. If you wind up arrested for a criminal offense and eventually charged, you may worry about what that criminal charge will mean for your future.

Criminal offenses can impact your ability to seek citizenship and might even affect your right to remain in the U.S. If you wind up pleading guilty or getting convicted of certain offenses, you could lose your visa or face deportation proceedings. What criminal offenses could impact your immigration rights?

There isn’t a list of offenses that can lead to deportation

The federal government does not have a specific list of criminal acts that lead to deportation. However, there are certain types of crimes for which a person could face immigration consequences.

Immigrants convicted of crimes of moral turpitude could lose their visas. Moral turpitude is open to interpretation by judges. It means a crime that goes against basic moral values. Generally, traffic tickets probably won’t qualify under this rule, but violent offenses or drug crimes could.

Depending on the circumstances, as well as the judge hearing your case, a broad range of mistakes and criminal charges might constitute moral turpitude. Given how broad this rule is, it is generally in the best interest of those hoping to stay in this country to provide an aggressive defense against criminal charges. An experienced attorney can help you present your case, protect your rights and reduce the impact those charges will have on your future.