How To Avoid Deportation on a Drug Conviction for Non US Citizen

Posted by Nafiz M. Ahmed | Jun 24, 2016 | 0 Comments


Let's assume a non-U.S. citizen was convicted of a simple drug possession (i.e., not for sale), transportation for personal use or under the influence of a controlled substance charge, and this individual was a first time drug offender.  Well, more likely than not, this individual was able to avoid jail by taking advantage of a program called Deferred Entry of Judgement "DEJ"(authorized under California Penal Code section 1000).  In order to accept DEJ, the individual had to plead guilty or no contest to the drug offense.  Under California law, the individual was told that his or her conviction was dismissed upon successful completion of the DEJ program.  

However, under federal law, the individual was convicted of a drug offense, regardless of whether it was later dismissed under the DEJ.  Under federal law, a non-U.S. citizen is deportable after being convicted of a controlled substance offense.  So, the individual who was told that his case was dismissed was actually deportable under federal law.  Unfair, right?  

California Penal Code section 1203.43 was added to the Penal Code on January 1, 2016.  This section allows anybody who has been successfully completed his/her DEJ to have his or her nolo contendre or guilty plea withdrawn, a not guilty plea entered instead, and then the charge and complaint against him/her dismissed.  This relief provided in section 1203.43 helps non-citizens avoid deportation because now the non-citizen has never been convicted of a controlled substance offense.

About the Author

Nafiz M. Ahmed

Owner / Attorney / Managing Partner Nafiz M. Ahmed was born in Mills Memorial Hospital in San Mateo, California. He grew up in Burlingame and attended Burlingame High School. While at Burlingame High School, Nafiz competed on the junior varsity and varsity football team. He was also the varsity wrestling team captain. After graduating Burlingame High School, Nafiz enrolled at the University of California at Davis. While at U.C. Davis, Nafiz served as a justice on the U.C. Davis Supreme Court for two years. He authored the majority opinion for all of the court's decisions during that time period. Nafiz loved being a U.C. Davis Aggie. However, he graduated early from U.C. Davis in three years in order to go to law school sooner. At Santa Clara University School of Law, Nafiz competed in Honors Moot Court and discovered his true passion for constitutional and criminal law. Nowadays, when he is not representing clients charge with crimes like domestic violence, theft, or drug possession, Nafiz likes to unwind by working out at his local boxing gym and surfing on the weekend. When Nafiz isn't trying to be the world's best dad and husband, he is hanging out with his American Bulldog, Chihuahua, and friends watching the U.F.C. or the San Francisco 49ers. FIREARMS AUTHORITY National Rifle Association – Northern California Attorney (N.R.A. referral list) KGO News Talk 810 – Gill Gross – Interview regarding Firearms ADVANCED DUI TRAINING DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing – Student Course DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing – Instructor Course Advanced Roadside Detection Impairment & Enforcement PUBLISHED WORKS Witness Preparation and Examination for DUI Proceedings The Impact of 2009 Case Decisions on DUI Prosecution and Defense Expert Witnesses A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Perspective on Common Firearms Issues in California HONORS AND AWARDS Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2012 Super Lawyers Rising Star , 2013 Top Lawyers in California, 2013 The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 Trial Lawyers, 2013 AVVO rated 10 out of 10 PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS California Attorneys for Criminal Justice California DUI Lawyers Association California Public Defenders Association San Mateo County Bar Association BAR ADMISSIONS California, 2005 U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 2006 U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit EDUCATION Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, California J.D. University of California, Davis, California Major: Economics


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