CRIMINAL HISTORY REVIEW FOR NON-CITIZENS
As part of the criminal history review, we will go through each of your prior criminal convictions with you to determine whether a conviction triggers an immigration consequence, and, if it does, whether you were aware of this consequence prior to the resolution of your criminal case. If you resolved your case by means of a plea, we will also review the court documents associated with your prior conviction to make sure that you were accurately advised of the potential immigration consequences of your actions by the judge prior to admitting to the charges as is required by Massachusetts General Law c. 278, § 29D. If we determine that you entered into a plea agreement or chose to take a case to trial based on incorrect or incomplete immigration advice, we will fight to vacate that conviction.
Frequently Asked Questions
What documents do I need to bring to a criminal history review appointment?
If your conviction is from a District Court or Boston Municipal Court case, you should bring a copy of the docket sheet, a copy of the police report, and a copy of the front and back of the tender of plea form (also called a “green sheet”) from your case. If your conviction is from a Superior Court, you can obtain a copy of your police report from the police department or from the clerk’s office in the courthouse where you were initially arraigned before your case was transferred to Superior Court. If your conviction is from a Superior Court or a Federal Court, you should notify us of the docket number so that we can pull electronic copies of the docket sheets prior to your appointment.
My case is really old; will the court still have the documents I need to bring to a criminal history review appointment?
The older the case, the fewer documents are left in the clerk’s office, but the clerk’s office will still have a copy of the docket sheet. The docket sheet is the official record of what happened in the case and very important for determining whether there is an immigration consequence.
How long is the process of moving to vacate a conviction?
Vacating a conviction can be a time-consuming process, but we have a great deal of experience putting these types of motions together and we understand the importance of having a motion heard quickly when there is a hearing date rapidly approaching in Immigration Court. In order to prepare a successful motion we need to make sure we have all of the relevant case documents, a copy of your criminal record, and an affidavit from the attorney who represented you in the case explaining what advice, if any, he or she gave you regarding the immigration consequences. Once we have all of the necessary components, we will file your motion and request a hearing date. Some courts schedule hearing dates within a few weeks, but some will review the motions before contacting our office to set up a date and others will give the Commonwealth a month to respond before contacting us to schedule a hearing date. Rest assured that we will do everything we can to move your motion through the system as quickly as possible.
What if the trial court denies my motion to vacate? Is that the end of my case?
Absolutely not. If you want to continue the fight of vacating your conviction, we will file a notice of appeal and ask the Massachusetts Appeals Court to review the judge’s denial. We have successfully had district court denials overturned by the Appeals Court in the matters of Commonwealth v. Lugo and Commonwealth v. Ovalles.