WHEN IS DETENTION MANDATORY FOR ALIENS WITH CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS FOR DRUG OFFENSES?
When Immigration and Customs Enforcement pursues deportation against an individual, an initial decision is made whether to detain the individual in a detention center. Complex immigration laws govern whether the individual is eligible to be released on bond, or whether the law requires mandatory detention while the removal proceedings are pending. A common reason for detaining someone is a past criminal record due to drug violations. In today's blog post, we'll look at some of the more common circumstances that require mandatory detention due to drug violations.
A conviction for trafficking in controlled substances is grounds for mandatory detention. Additionally, for aliens that have not been admitted to the United States, a conviction for a violation of any law relating to controlled substances (including mere possession) can result in mandatory detention unless only one crime was committed and the person was under the age of 18 or the maximum penalty possible does not exceed imprisonment of more than one year and the person was not actually sentenced for more than six months. Deferred adjudication is considered a conviction, and a term of probation counts as part of the sentence. For aliens that have been admitted, a conviction for violating any controlled substance law, other than possession of marijuana for one's own use of 30 grams or less, is subject to mandatory detention.
Additionally, a very broad statute states that mandatory detention applies to "any alien who is, or at any time after admission has been, a drug abuser or addict". Because this statute is very broad and very vague, and often difficult to prove, the government typically does not pursue this ground for mandatory detention, focusing instead on actual criminal court convictions as described above.
Several exceptions apply to these general rules. If you're faced with deportation proceedings and have a criminal record for any drug offense, it is important to consult with an attorney to determine whether a bond is available. Christiansen Law Firm can analyze your case and provide sound legal advice regarding your eligibililty for a detention bond. The Immigration Law attorneys at Christiansen Law Firm have experience in deportation proceedings and can answer difficult questions about bond eligibility. Contact Christiansen Law Firm's offices in Houston or San Antonio to schedule a free consultation.