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Non-citizens: what to know if you are charged with sexual offense

Facing criminal charges of any nature can be frightening for any person. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you could be at risk of facing deportation if you are accused of criminal activity.

If you have been charged with a crime and are either in the U.S. without proper documentation or are a lawful permanent resident, you could be forced to leave the country if you are convicted of a crime. This could include misdemeanors, felonies, violent and non-violent crimes. However, if you are in this situation, you may be able to avoid deportation if the criminal activity of which you have been accused qualifies you for U non-immigrant visa eligibility.

In accordance with U.S. immigration laws, people who are victims of or involved in certain crimes can avoid deportation if they have information on criminal activity and are willing to help law enforcement agents in the investigation of the crime.

The qualifying criminal activities for which a person may be able to seek protection through a U visa include:

  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Trafficking
  • Abusive sexual contact
  • Rape
  • Prostitution

Essentially, this means that if you have been a victim of these charges or have information on this type of criminal activity and are not a U.S. citizen, you may be able to stay in this country by seeking a U visa in exchange for helping the authorities in the investigation or prosecution of other parties who may be involved. However, legal representation in this situation can be crucial.

Deportation is just one of the many different harsh penalties a person could face if convicted of serious sexual misconduct. People can also face lengthy prison sentences, the requirement to register as a sex offender and irreparable damage to their careers, family and reputation.

Anyone facing serious sexual offense allegations, U.S. citizen or not, would be wise to take the situation seriously and discuss their options with an attorney. Legal representation in these matters can be vital in protecting a person's freedom and future.

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