The new directive has made it even more important for undocumented immigrants to ensure that they are aware of any immigration consequences when charged in criminal court. This includes a withdrawing a plea in abeyance to avoid a conviction under immigration law.
A plea in abeyance (PIA) is an agreement that allows the court to dismiss a violation upon completion of certain criteria. The Defendant pleads "guilty" or "no contest" to the charges. This plea is held for a specific amount of time (referred to as a period of probation), and if the Defendant has complied with the conditions, the case will be dismissed after probation has ended.
Under Utah Law, the Defendant has no conviction. However, for immigration purposes the withdrawal of the plea and the dismissal of the charges are still convictions and can have severe immigration consequences, including deportation.
Under current immigration law, a plea that was vacated due to “rehabilitative" measures like attending classes, doing community service, paying a fine and behaving for a period of time, is not recognized. However, if there was an error in the proceedings, such as a Constitutional rights violation- the Defendant's right to an attorney was violated. Then based on that defect, if the Defendant withdrew the guilty plea, then the withdrawal of the plea would have to be recognized by the immigration authorities, because it was on a Constitutional basis.
If you or someone you know needs representation, contact ADM Legal Defense immediately to help you navigate the process and ensure that your rights are protected.