Today a Minnesota District Court Judge, in rural Minnesota, granted Chaudhary Law Office's motion to withdraw a client's guilty plea that may have resulted in unexpected deportation or denial of his H1B. The client, an Indian foreign national student, originally appeared in court to pay a fine for speeding on an interstate. Unaware of the consequences, he was instead sentenced to a day in jail.
Chaudhary Law Office, PLLC, successfully argued that, under the 2010 Supreme Court decision Padilla v. Kentucky, the client had not been advised by the Court that his guilty plea may result in deportation and/or other adverse immigration consequences. Chaudhary also cited two Minnesota Court of Appeals cases on the subject just this year, one decided during preparation of the motion. Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure also require an advisory regarding adverse immigration consequences along with other waivers of individual rights, when pleading guilty.
In this matter, the client presumed his situation was innocent enough to avoid consulting an attorney before pleading guilty. However he was surprised with a separate reckless driving charge, an "over 100 mph" rule causing license suspension, and resulting incarceration. More importantly, he was unaware of his presumption of innocence, right to a public defender, and potential immigration consequences.
His case shows that temporary workers, visitors, or immigrants accused of any crime should not take chances with their status and at least consult an attorney. It is better to have attorney representation than chance deportation or denial of future admission or change of status.
Furthermore, courts are increasingly allowing withdrawal of guilty pleas even if people were represented by a lawyer and--even if the plea occurred before the Padilla decision! Those who have plead guilty to any crime in the past, and fear adverse immigration consequences, are advised to consult an attorney to consider their rights and options. In this situation, ignorance of the law (i.e. one's rights) may indeed be an excuse!
Satveer Chaudhary is the founding lawyer of Chaudhary Law Office, PLLC. In practice over 10 years, Chaudhary brings 14 years of legislative experience as a State Senator and Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives to each and every case.At Chaudhary Law Office, our clients come first. Every client is treated with courtesy and is guaranteed effective representation. Practicing in the areas of Immigration Law, Wills, Divorce, Family Law, Small Business and Criminal Law, we provide free intial consultations to all our clients.
In 2004 Satveer Chaudhary was named the University of Minnesota Law School Alumni of the Year. He was also awarded the Governor’s Certificate of Commendation for the Legal Aid Society of Minnesota, served as Special Assistant to Minnesota Attorney General Hubert H. Humphrey III, and was recognized by the worldwide Asian-Indian community for his dedicated work, Chaudhary was named to the top-50 non-resident Indians in the world (NRI World magazine).
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