Domestic Violence and Immigration

Last Modified: January 27, 2023
January 27, 2023 | Rabin Nabizadeh | Domestic Violence

Domestic violence and immigrationAre you an immigrant accused of domestic violence? If so, you might be concerned that you will get deported. You might also worry that you could face significant fines and jail time.

Even though there are many moving parts involved, this is something you can avoid facing on your own. You need to reach out to an expert who can help you understand your options. That way, you can make sure that your rights are protected.

What do you need to know about being an immigrant and facing domestic violence charges? Take a look at a few important points below, and ensure you reach out to an expert who can help you.

Understanding Domestic Violence Crimes

Understanding domestic violence crimes

First, understand that domestic violence crimes come in many shapes and forms. Even though this could include intimate partner violence and physical violence, this also contains abusive behavior that might encompass emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. It could even involve stalking and harassing.

If you find yourself charged with domestic violence, you are innocent until proven guilty. If you are convicted, it may subject you to optional removal. However, this is not required. Whether the crime is considered an aggravated felony, or a crime involving moral turpitude, it may not require deportation.

Suppose you get convicted of an aggravated felony. In that case, you might not be able to re-enter the United States, obtain lawful permanent residence, change your legal status, or become a U.S. citizen. Therefore, it is vital to work with a criminal defense and immigration lawyer who can ensure a possible domestic violence conviction does not fall under the category of an aggravated felony.

Different Types of Domestic Violence Crimes That Could Affect Your Immigration Status

There are different types of domestic violence crimes that could have an impact on your immigration status. The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) dictates which non-US citizens may be subject to deportation following a criminal conviction. Under this act, you might also not be allowed to re-enter the United States.

There are several categories of crimes that fall under this category. They include:

Child Abuse

Child abuse

If you get convicted of child abuse, you could be subject to deportation. Notably, the child in the case does not necessarily need to have a special relationship with you. It does not need to be a child that you have, and it does not need to be a child that you know.

Suppose you get convicted of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or any other abuse involving a child. In that case, there is a possibility that authorities could revoke your immigration status and get you deported. You need to work with a lawyer who can provide a strong defense, and you need to work with an attorney who may be able to strike a plea agreement that can reduce the charges against you.

Child Endangerment and Abandonment

Being convicted of child endangerment and abandonment, you may also be subject to deportation. There are different ways that you may endanger a child, but neglect is one of the most common examples. For example, you could face these charges if you do not take care of the child or seek to abandon the child on the street.

There are different elements involved in a conviction in this case, and you need to work with a lawyer who can review the evidence against you and ensure you have a strong defense.



Under Federal immigration law, there is no specific definition of stalking. However, there is a particular definition of stalking in the California Penal Code, 646.9. Furthermore, if you get convicted of stalking, it is an offense for which you can get deported.

Under this law, you are guilty of stalking if you repeatedly follow or harass another person to the point where that person fears for his and his family’s safety. Fortunately, this charge is not an aggravated felony, meaning you won’t automatically get deported. However, you could be guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude, which means that you could get deported regardless.

It will be best if you work with an attorney who understands the consequences of this charge and can minimize the chances of deportation.

Violation of a Domestic Violence Protective Order

Finally, you could also be deported if you are guilty of violating a domestic violence protective order. Following a conviction for domestic violence, or while the charges are playing out, you could put a protective order. It means that you might not be allowed to contact the individual, and you might not be allowed to come within a certain distance of them.

Notably, violating a protective order does not necessarily need to be violent for you to get deported. As long as the violation of the protective order took place after September 30, 1996, and after you set foot on U.S. soil, you could be guilty of violating your protective order and be deported.

These are just a few of the most critical points you should keep in mind regarding the INA. It will help if you work with an attorney who understands the implications of this act and can maximize your chances of being allowed to remain in the United States.

The Correlation Between the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act and Domestic Violence

There is a correlation between the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act and Domestic Violence because many domestic violence cases are included under the INA. For example, you could be charged with domestic violence formally, or you could find yourself accused of battery. You might even get charged with stalking. All of these crimes are included under the INA, and they could impact your immigration status. That is why you need to work with a lawyer who understands the implications of these charges.

When Is Domestic Violence a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude?

If you get convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, or CIMT, you might face deportation from the United States. There are also some situations where you might not be allowed back into the United States.

There are some cases involving domestic violence that fall under this category. They include sexual battery, felony false imprisonment, child abuse, child pornography, rape, and lewd acts involving a child under 18. If you get convicted of these crimes, you could be facing deportation.

How Does a Domestic Violence Charge Affect Your Immigration Status?

How does a domestic violence charge affect your immigration status

It may not necessarily impact your immigration status if you are charged with domestic violence but not convicted. In the United States, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, even if you are facing a felony charge, you may not be deported immediately.

On the other hand, if you get sentenced to these charges, you could face deportation. Your lawyer may advise you to plead guilty to a lesser amount to avoid a conviction for a charge that carries mandatory deportation.

Your lawyer may advise you to fight the charges if he feels you can win your case. It is also why working with an attorney with experience in this area is essential.

Do Immigrant Victims Receive Immigration Benefits From a Domestic Violence Case?

On the other hand, if you are a victim of domestic violence, you may be able to receive immigration benefits. According to the Department of Homeland Security, you may be able to file for I-360, which may allow you to seek immigration and asylum in the United States if you can show that you face domestic violence back home. It is a complicated situation, which is why you need to work with a lawyer who can work with victims of domestic violence and help them become lawful permanent residents.

Domestic violence victims could be victims of sexual assault, and there might be an immigration benefit that makes it easier for a victim of domestic violence and an immigrant spouse to become a lawful permanent resident.

When Is a Domestic Violence Crime an Aggravated Felony?

When is a domestic violence crime an aggravated felony

If the crime imposes a sentence of one year or more, it is considered an aggravated felony. Being convicted of an aggravated felony, you may be regarded as ineligible for various forms of immigration relief.

For example, if you find yourself convicted of an aggravated felony:

  • You might be considered inadmissible to the United States;
  • You might not be eligible for asylum;
  • Authorities might cancel your immigration status, and you may face deportation;
  • You might not be allowed to become a U.S. citizen; or
  • You might not be permitted to obtain a green card.

Because these consequences are serious, you need to work with an attorney with experience in this area. That way, you understand the options available to you, and you can minimize your chances of being deported.

How Can You Avoid Being Deported for Domestic Violence?

If you get accused of domestic violence, there are ways you can minimize your chances of being deported. First, understand that just because you get charged with domestic violence doesn’t mean you will be deported. You are innocent until you are proven guilty.

Your lawyer may recommend you take a plea deal for a lesser charge. That way, you can avoid a conviction for domestic violence that would result in your immediate removal.

If the lawyer believes you can win the case, he may put forth a defense that can raise reasonable doubt. That way, you may be able to avoid a criminal conviction altogether.

Legal Defenses Against Domestic Violence Accusations

Your attorney might raise several legal defenses if you have been accused of domestic violence. They include:

Wrongful Accusation

Your attorney may seek to prove that it was a wrongful accusation. For example, the immigrant victim may have been a victim of domestic violence, but you are not the perpetrator. On the other hand, the attorney may prove that the victim was lying or that he is not credible. The goal is to raise reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury.

The “Attack” Was an Accident

To prove domestic violence in California, the prosecutor has to show that there was intent. It means that you must have intentionally caused harm to someone else. You might not be convicted if the attorney proves the attack was an accident.

Lack of Feasible Proof To Prove the Attack

The attorney may also target the evidence. It means he might seek to show insufficient evidence to earn a criminal conviction. An accusation is not enough. With enough proof, it will be easier to make a conviction.


Finally, your attorney may seek to show that your actions were in self-defense. For example, the other person might have been attacking you, and you were trying to defend yourself. If you were acting in self-defense, there could not be a criminal conviction.

Get the Experienced and Reliable Legal Representation You Need

Get the experienced and reliable legal representation you need

If you are an immigrant facing domestic violence charges, you need to work with an experienced attorney who can help you. At Summit Defense, we can review your case, explore all options, and maximize your chances of being allowed to remain on U.S. soil. Give us a call today to speak to our team, and let us provide you with a thorough case consultation. We are here to defend your rights.

latest news

February 25, 2024
What Happens When You Get a DUI?
Getting a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) can be a stressful and life-changing event. It starts the moment a law enforcement officer suspects you've been drinking and driving. This can lead to being pulled over, undergoing a field sobriety test, and possibly being arrested. The consequences of a DUI arrest include legal action, potential jail [...]
May 18, 2023
How To Beat a DUI in California

Being charged with a DUI in California is a serious matter. If you get convicted of a DUI, you spend time in jail, have your license suspended or revoked, and face significant fines and other penalties. A DUI conviction will also appear on your records, which might make it hard for you to secure housing […]

May 15, 2023
Is It Illegal to Date a Minor?

Dating is a normal part of growing up. Some people even decide to get married. At the same time, some laws need to be followed, and some might wonder, is it illegal to date a minor? In the United States, a minor is someone who is under the age of 18. While the age of […]