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Many types of criminal offenses subject a foreign national to possible removal from the United States.  When the government initially decides to pursue removal proceedings against a foreign national, a determination must be made whether to detain the individual in a detention center or allow the individual to remain at liberty while the removal case is pending.  Complex rules govern whether the individual is required to be detained.  In today's blog post, we'll review the common circumstances that require mandatory detention due to drug violations.

A conviction for drug trafficking (as opposed to possession) is grounds for mandatory detention.  For those who have not been lawfully admitted to the United States, conviction of a controlled substance offense (including for possession only) results in mandatory detention.  One exception to this rule is when only one crime was committed and the individual was a minor at the time of the offense.  Another exception is where the maximum possible penalty for the crime of conviction does not exceed a one year prison sentence, and the actual sentence is for six months or less.  Under U.S. immigration law, deferred adjudication, suspended committment, probation, pre-trial diversion and other such programs are equivalent to conviction.   For lawfully admitted foreign nationals, a conviction for violation of any drug law subjects the person to mandatory detention, unless the conviction is for marijuana possession only, for the person's own use, and if the quantity of marijuana does not exceed 30 grams.  

Numerous exceptions to these general rules apply.  If you're a foreign national facing removal proceedings, and have encountered any type of arrest for a drug offense, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.  Christiansen Law Firm can review the details of your case and provide you with information about mandatory detention and about the removal proceedings in general.  The immigration attorneys at Christiansen Law Firm have significant experience handling deportaion proceedings and can answer difficult questions about mandatory detention and the availability of detention bonds.  Contact Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio to schedule a free consultation about your case.

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