For Defense Attorneys

For Criminal Defense Attorneys

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Wouldn't you love an expert immigration opinion letter in your file for every non-citizen client you have? A letter which detailed the immigration consequences of the charges and possible dispositions to avoid or mitigate immigration consequences? Many attorneys throughout California make it their habit to have their non-citizen clients consult us prior to entering any plea.

If you have a client who is not a citizen of the United States, we can provide you with expert advice about the immigration consequences of any plea agreement. Michael K. Mehr is a nationally-recognized expert in the field of immigration consequences of criminal convictions. see more information about his experience and expertise in about page.

In most cases, for $500, we can provide you with an expert opinion letter, which you can use to (1) avoid harsh immigration consequences of a plea, if possible, (2) craft a plea so that it is immigration-safe, as required under People v. Bautista (2004) 115 Cal.Appt.4th 229, and/or (3) properly advise your client of the actual, specific immigration consequences of his or her plea, as is required for effective assistance under People v. Soriano (1987) 194 Cal. App. 3d 1470. We have developed a variety of strategies to prevent an offense from becoming deportable, and we would love to share them with you.

3 steps to receiving expert immigration advice

1) Have your client call or email our office for an appointment, or make the appointment for him or her. We will charge him or her $500 at the time of the appointment (unless, in the rare case, extra fees are appropriate).

2) Prior to the appointment, e-mail or fax (831-425-0515) to our office the following documents, if you have them:

  • the criminal complaint filed against your client

  • the police report relating to the offense

  • any other pertinent documents or information, such as whether any plea offer has been made by the DA.

3) Within one week (barring any unforeseen circumstance), our office will send you an expert opinion letter via mail and e-mail or fax with detailed advice on how to handle your case to avoid the harshest immigration consequences. If there is a hearing coming up or if you need the letter sooner, we can comply, but may need to charge an extra fee depending on the circumstances.

For Immigration Attorneys

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If you have a client who is facing removal or wants to apply for a visa and needs to vacate a conviction from his or her record in a way that is valid for immigration purposes, we may be able to help you. DO NOT LIMIT YOUR CLIENT TO SOLUTIONS AVAILABLE ONLY IN IMMIGRATION COURT!!! Your client may be able to get rid of his or her deportable conviction and terminate removal proceedings, qualify for relief, or file that visa application!

We will investigate your client’s criminal records and search for ways to attack the conviction for failure to advise of immigration consequences or ineffective assistance of counsel.

We will also help you strategize ways to win in immigration court. Michael K. Mehr is a nationally-recognized expert in the field of immigration consequences of criminal convictions and is very knowledgeable about emerging law and novel arguments to be made before immigration judges, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Helping Clients Avoid Deportation & Inadmissibility

Do you represent non-citizen clients in criminal cases? If you do, let me help you and your clients avoid deportation and inadmissibility. I have over 35 years of experienc e helping non-citizens avoid deportation and preserve eligibility for immigration relief.

It is not only our professional responsibility to adequately inform our clients of the specific immigration consequences of a conviction, but it is equally our duty to try to craft a plea and sentence which will defend our client from deportation and inadmissibility. Our clients will hardly thank us for a job well done if they end up getting deported.

As the Supreme Court recently stated, “The importance of accurate legal advice for noncitizens accused of crimes has never been more important.” Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 365 (2010).

I wanted to alert you to new developments which will affect your non-citizen client in criminal cases.

1) Santa Cruz and Monterey County Sheriffs will no longer honor ICE holds: Both of these Sheriffs will no longer honor any ICE hold because of a Federal District Court case out of Oregon which makes Sheriffs liable for honoring a “voluntary” request. Santa Clara County previously made this their policy. ICE holds can still be sent to the Sheriff, but a defendant should not be denied the right to post bail or obtain own recognizance release, even with an ICE hold. Criminal defense attorneys should still seek to obtain an immigration neutral plea since
ICE may go to the jail on the day of release and detain a noncitizen or arrest a noncitizen after release from custody at their home or workplace. If you have problems with ICE hold please contact us.

2) Trap for the unwary: Amendment to H&S §§11379 and 11352 defining “Transportation” as “Transportation for Sale”: Effective January 1st, these code sections are amended to define “transportation” as “transportation for sale.” The definition was not changed for H&S 11360(a). While these amendments generally help citizen clients, they do not help noncitizen clients because the amendments eliminate the use of “transportation” to avoid an aggravated felony for immigration. Never plead your noncitizen client to “transportation” for crimes committed after January 1st for H&S §§11379 and 11352. There are alternatives such as “offer to sell,” a plea to an unspecified drug, or accessory after the fact which will avoid an aggravated felony. Equally bad is “possession for sale” which is an aggravated felony. Many criminal attorneys still do not understand that they should never plead their noncitizen client to possession for sale without attempting alternatives first. Let me help you craft a plea which avoids an aggravated felony or even a deportable drug offense.

3) People v. Rodrigo Martinez Martinez (2013) 57 Cal.4th 555: The California Supreme Court

held that the standard for showing “prejudice” in motions to vacate per Pen. Code section 1016.5 is “what the defendant would have done” which can be based on a defendant’s hopes and expectations regarding negotiating an immigration-neutral plea. But, the Court still required evidence to show that the defendant’s assertion that he would have rejected a plea if he knew the true immigration consequences is credible. Many attorneys who file these motions lose because they fail to submit evidence corroborating their client’s assertion that they would have rejected a plea. I specialize in post-conviction relief and filed an amicus brief in this case for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Asian Law Caucus. Associate with me to help you draft and prepare a 1016.5 motion or refer your client to me to do the motion if you want to enhance the chance of success.

Do you know how to preserve your non-lawful permanent resident’s eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, 10 year Cancellation of Removal, and Temporary Protected Status? Do you know how to protect your lawful permanent resident from deportation?

Refer your noncitizen client to me for a “crimimm” consultation as soon as possible after your initial intake in a criminal case. Have your client pay me directly or pay me for your client’s consultation and a letter to you. My minimum fee is $350 for a consult with the client and an extra $150 for a letter to you explaining the immigration consequences and how best to avoid them. The best criminal attorneys don’t make any decisions regarding pleas without a prior consult. This is not only for your client’s best interests, it is for your best interests.

If your client is put in removal proceedings despite our best efforts, we do deportation defense. We aggressively defend noncitizens in removal proceedings and frequently use expert witnesses to provide the best defense.

We also do post-conviction relief including 1016.5 motions, habeas for ineffective assistance of counsel, P.C. 1018 motions for withdrawals of plea, P.C. 17 motions, and expungements for 1st time possession of drug cases for guilty pleas entered prior to July 11, 2014. Don’t guess at what your client needs. Let me help you do it the right way.