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NC immigration lawyerA criminal conviction in the U.S. can have serious consequences for the status of a lawful permanent resident, temporary visa holder, or undocumented immigrant. In many cases, it is grounds for removal or deportation. Immigrants are often unsure of their rights if they are arrested on criminal charges, and as a result, they fail to exercise them. If you are aware of your rights, you may be able to achieve a better outcome in your case.

Are Immigrants Protected by the U.S. Constitution?

Many of the rights afforded to criminal defendants in the U.S. are described in the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These rights apply not just to U.S. citizens, but anyone who is charged with a crime for which the U.S. has jurisdiction, including both lawful and undocumented immigrants.

For example, immigrants, like citizens, are protected from unreasonable search and seizure of their property and person by the Fourth Amendment, as well as from self-incrimination by the Fifth Amendment. This means you are not required to consent to a search by an officer without a warrant, and if the officer proceeds, any resulting evidence may be inadmissible in a criminal case. You are also not required to answer an officer’s questions, aside from identifying yourself, and in many cases, the officer will notify you of your right to remain silent upon your arrest.

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