Monday, July 25, 2011

New Changes Help Immigrants

A one-day reduction in the state's maximum sentence for a gross misdemeanor is expected to reduce the number of legal immigrants who face deportation, as new immigration laws went in to effect in Washington State.

The new state law, which came into effect Friday, reduces the maximum penalty from 365 to 364 days in jail for crimes such as drunken driving, harassment and low-level thefts and assaults.

Legal residents convicted of gross misdemeanors can still be arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and face a deportation hearing, but by changing the maximum sentence by one day judges will now have a chance to review the person's case, their life and hear about them. Any time a legal resident is sentenced to serve 365 days or more behind bars an immigration judge must sign off on deportation.

City Attorney Pete Holmes stated that legal residents have been punished too harshly for gross misdemeanors. For nearly a year, he has instructed lawyers in his office to handle the gross misdemeanor-sentencing structure with the top of the range being 364 days, to keep defendants from being deported.

Legal residents convicted of felonies and sentenced to less than 365 days in jail can face deportation depending on the crimes they committed. The sentencing change will not protect illegal immigrants.

If you or a loved one is cited, arrested, charged or being investigated for a crime, it is imperative that a Seattle criminal attorney be retained as soon as possible to ensure all personal, professional and financial interests are protected. Seattle criminal lawyers Greg Schwesinger and Saad Qadri of SQ Attorneys represent defendants and petitioners through all phases of their Washington State criminal case, including the investigatory stage. The Seattle criminal attorneys of SQ Attorneys are experienced and proven negotiators that make a world of difference for those accused of committing a crime. SQ Attorneys is a team of seasoned Seattle criminal lawyers that work tireless to achieve the best possible outcome for each and every client they have the honor of representing. Arrested in Western Washington? Call The Criminal Defense Team of SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900 or (425) 998-8384 for an initial free consultation.

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