Unfortunately, being charged with a crime when an individual is a citizen can be very different from being charged with a crime when a charged individual is not a U.S. citizen. Those that have visas or green cards and are charged with crimes can face a more complex mix of court proceedings in Maryland.
This is because when an individual that is an immigrant in Maryland has criminal proceedings that are being carried out against them, deportation proceedings can also being at the same time. In some instances, the outcome of these simultaneous court proceedings can mean that an individual is made to leave the country before their criminal trial. In such situation, bondsmen can be financially liable where a bail bond has been issued.
One company that writes hundreds of bonds a year says, "We can't afford to be in business like that. It just won't be worth it." Maryland has an estimated 275,000 individuals that could be subjected to deportation if criminal charges were issued against them. The outcome of a present court case could dictate who is financially liable when an individual that is issued a bail bond is deported before a criminal trial. This decision could have a significant impact for a large population within our state.
If bondsmen are made to be financially liable in such situations, many say that they would be much more hesitant of accepting defendants that are wanted by immigration authorities. The director for Maryland's largest immigrant advocacy group says that this possible complication in obtaining bond for immigrants would be very troubling. This could mean many individuals would be forced to wait in jail.
While the outcome of this case remains to be seen, it can be extremely beneficial for non-citizens to consult with both an experienced immigration attorney and a criminal defense attorney if they are charged with a crime.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Bail for illegal immigrants in question before Md. high court," Andrea F. Siegel, Jan. 14, 2013
- For more information on matters related to inadmissibility and removal, please refer to our Maryland criminal charges and deportation page.