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Can You Get Deported for Drugs?

For anyone in Ohio, being arrested is a scary situation to face, but this is even truer for those here on student visas or otherwise as legal residents. If you are convicted of a major crime in the United States, your visa can be revoked, and you will be deported after serving your sentence. Most people know that a felony conviction for serious violent crimes like murder will get you removed from the United States, but what about lesser crimes? Can you get deported for drugs?

The answer depends on the drug crime. Under U.S. law, any aggravated felony or crime of moral turpitude can lead to deportation. A crime of moral turpitude is simply any crime that is viewed as discreditable and was committed with some degree of intent, willfulness, or recklessness. For serious trafficking charges, you will face automatic deportation, as is also the case for any violent drug-related crime as these have been widely defined as crimes of moral turpitude. In general, what makes a felony “aggravated” is vague under immigration law, which means that almost any felony drug conviction may be able to apply. You should consult a lawyer about your specific case to see if it may qualify.

Unfortunately, in the case of drug crimes, even misdemeanor crimes can sometimes lead to deportation after conviction. Immigration law also specifies that people violating any law or regulation relating to controlled substances can be deported, with the exception of a conviction of a single marijuana offense for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana for one’s personal use. That means that any drug offense related to violations of federal drug law can potentially lead to your deportation.

Supreme Court Rules Deportation Unjustified for Minor Drug Crimes

This may seem grim for anyone arrested for drugs, but the Supreme Court has determined that this must be reined in. A series of Supreme Court decisions has demonstrated that minor drug crimes, such as possession of drug paraphernalia or “distribution” charges stemming from very small amounts of drugs. It is clear that the Court is recognizing the absurdity of deportation for drug crimes that would not require serious consequences for citizens.

Still, immigration law regarding drug convictions is widely undefined. Depending on the immigration judge you find yourself facing, you could end up deported even when you had thought that you should not be. That’s why U.S. visa-holders need an aggressive defense against any drug charges in the first place.

If you are arrested for a drug crime in Ohio while here on a visa or green card, a lot is at stake. You need to ensure that you have an experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyer by your side to help you navigate the best outcome possible, while taking into consideration all the immigration implications. At Luftman, Heck, & Associates, we have years of experience with difficult cases like these. Call Ohio drug lawyer Ben Luftman today for a free consultation on your case at to find out how we may be able to help.

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