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Knowing immigration status a key element to certain serious crime

As an immigrant, the idea of facing a criminal charge can hold much more serious implications than for other people. In some cases, individuals charged with a serious crime in Florida or other parts of the United States could find themselves at risk for deportation. Of course, just like anyone else in the country, these parties have the right to a criminal defense.

It was recently reported that a Supreme Court case resulted in a ruling that could affect these types of cases. The situation stemmed from one individual's arrest for possessing a firearm. Apparently, the man had come to the United States on a student visa but overstayed that visa. He was charged with possessing firearms as an alien unlawfully in the United States, and a key aspect to his case was whether he "knowingly" violated the law in regard to being aware that he no longer had a legal immigration status. His case resulted in a conviction after it was determined that the only proof needed was that the man knew he was holding a firearm.

The man appealed his case in the 11th Circuit, which upheld the decision, but the U.S. Supreme Courtgranted a writ of certiorari. The court recently ruled 7-2 that immigrants must know their unlawful status before being convicted of the unlawful possession of a firearm. The two dissenting justices have concerns that allowing this change would result in the release or retrial of numerous individuals convicted of this violation.

Charges for a serious crime can bring additional fears and stress for immigrants living in Florida or elsewhere in the country. It is always wise to obtain information about a legal predicament that could have lasting impacts on a person's life. Individuals facing criminal and immigration issues may wish to consult with experienced attorneys.

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