Motion to Vacate Conviction and Reopen Criminal Case to avoid Immigration Problems
In 2006, our client “Manuel” was charged with operating a vehicle with a suspended license and waived his right to counsel with no idea how this charge could potentially impact his immigration status in the future. In 2010, Manuel was placed into removal/deportation proceedings before the Immigration Court and was ineligible to renew his Temporary Protected Status (TPS), as pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, this conviction made him ineligible for TPS. After reviewing the client’s criminal dockets, Attorney FitzGerald noticed that Manuel had waived his right to counsel in one of the cases, but there was no indication that the waiver had been interpreted to the client in his language to ascertain he understood his rights and the consequences of relinquishing such rights.
After collaborating with the client to recall the events, collect all the relevant evidence in the case, and reviewing the Massachusetts practice and waiver of counsel rules, attorney FitzGerald determined that it was clear that our client had not understood his rights and filed a motion to vacate the conviction and reopen the case, which was subsequently approved by the Judge. A new hearing was scheduled (five years after the original disposition date) and attorney FitzGerald obtained a favorable disposition of license suspension case (the charges were decriminalized) which did not negatively affect Manuel’s immigration status. He now is eligible to present a TPS claim before the Immigration Court.