In Florida, nearly all criminal judges are now asking criminal defendants about their immigration status during their plea colloquies and whether they have had adequate time to consult with an immigration attorney if they have immigration concerns. This entire issue derives from a United States Supreme Court case titled, Padilla vs. Kentucky. In this case, a criminal defendant was deported due to a conviction in Kentucky state court. He alleged his criminal defense attorney failed to properly advised them of the potential immigration collateral consequences of their plea. Ultimately, the matter was taken up before the Supreme Court.
This case law has put the responsibility and burden on criminal defense attorneys to either: a) learn immigration law, or b) nearly constantly refer their clients’ immigration issues to immigration attorneys. In our experience, the safest and most effective way for us to ensure our clients’ rights are protected is to simply refer them to an immigration attorney. We work with an experienced team of immigration attorneys to ensure your immigration issues and rights are properly protected. As anyone that’s gone through immigration is aware, immigration law is confusing, filled with lengthy forms and issues with various bureaucratic offices of the United States of America.
In short, the judge is simply exploring whether you have any immigration issues, and/or whether you’ve had an opportunity to consult about those immigration issues. The judge is simply trying to avoid another issue on appeal, if you are unfortunately deported due to your criminal conviction before that court. Our criminal defense attorneys will do everything possible to discuss these issues with you prior to resolving your case.
In response to this line of cases, Florida judges now nearly always ask the defendant during their plea colloquy regarding their immigration status. This is intended to both protect the Defendant’s rights by ensuring they have been made aware of the immigration issues and to properly preserve the issue for appeal.
If you, or someone you know has questions concerning their Tampa criminal defense case and/or the immigration implications of a criminal case, contact the Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We have handled thousands of cases across the entire Tampa Bay area. If you would like to contact one of our Tampa criminal defense attorneys immediately, please us the “Contact Us Now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website. We appreciate you taking the time to check out our Tampa blog and look forward to working with you.