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Criminal Law Finally, in a significant deviation from the categorical

approach used by judges, the Board of Immigration Appeals and other courts to determine whether a crime is one involving moral turpitude, the Attorney General has established that in certain circumstances, an Immigration Judge, may look into the record of conviction to determine whether the individual was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. If the record of conviction is inconclusive, the Immigration Judge may also consider any additional evidence deemed necessary to determine whether the crime is one involving moral turpitude.

Tis means that not

only is it important to review the record in its entirety, but practitioners must make it a priority to keep the record clear of any reference of moral turpitude.14

Developing Defense Strategies and Priorities

Once the criminal record and statute under which your

client has been charged have been reviewed, the defense strategies and priorities must be developed. If possible, a disposition that does not constitute a conviction would be the desired result for immigration purposes. Note, however, under immigration law, Probation before Judgment in Maryland is considered a conviction.15

If a conviction is

unavoidable, a practitioner must work with his client to establish priorities. Te client must be advised as to the potential

outcomes associated with both the criminal

charges and the resulting immigration consequences. Te client will then make his own informed decision with respect to the direction in which he would like to proceed. Tere may be situations where the client would be willing to sacrifice up a better criminal outcome and salvage his immigration status; and there may be cases where there client is completely prepared to return to his home country to avoid spending any time in jail. While a practitioner may be confident that they will obtain a great result for their client in the criminal context, the result may not be the most desirous outcome for the client and his family. Once the defense strategy and priorities have been developed, and the practitioner is confident that the client fully understands and is comfortable with the collateral consequences associated with the resolution of his case, the practitioner should document his file that he has not only advised his client of the collateral consequences associated with the criminal case, but also that all of the steps detailed above were fully explored, explained and realized. 

14 Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I & N Dec. 687 (AG 2008). 15 8 USC § 1101(a)(48)(A).

Injury Centers of Maryland 1.866.995.7694

" We care about your clients "

Biography Cheryl Geiser is an associate at the law office of

Michael A. Zwaig, PA in Baltimore, Maryland where she focuses her practice on immigration law. She has practiced exclusively in the field of immigration and nationality law since her admission to the State Bar of Illinois in 2001. She has a breadth of experience in private practice assisting clients with complex immigration issues.


Geiser advises domestic and international companies, start- up companies, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and individuals and their family members on all aspects of immigration law. Her experience includes corporate and family based immigration, nonimmigrant and immigrant waivers, asylum, removal (deportation) defense, and naturalization. Ms. Geiser graduated from DePaul University College

of Law in 2001 and the University of Cincinnati in 1998. She studied abroad in both Spain and Costa Rica. Ms. Geiser frequently speaks on immigration law at events sponsored by professional and community based organizations, and is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

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Personal Injury, Auto Injury, Worker's Comp 1.866.995.7694 WWW.INJURYCENTERSOFMD.COM Trial Reporter / Summer 2011 21

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