As a U.S. immigrant, your visa represents one of the most important documents you have in your possession. As you likely already know, your visa must remain current the entire time you stay in the U.S. But what you may not know is that if Michigan law enforcement officers arrest you, whether they charge you with allegedly committing one or more specific crimes, this may very well result in the cancellation of your visa or otherwise negatively impact your immigration status.
Unfortunately, virtually any interaction you have with law enforcement officers could likewise lead to your getting a ticket and therefore an arrest record, regardless of whether the officers actually arrest you. For instance, you most likely will get a ticket in any of the following situations:
- You become involved in a fight that officers break up.
- You carry an open container of alcohol in public.
- You drink alcohol privately or publicly prior to your 21st birthday.
- You urinate in public.
- You enter a public park after closing hours.
- You graffiti a building or sidewalk.
Defending against alleged criminality
While none of the above infractions represents a serious offense, your ticket alone puts your visa in jeopardy. You would do well to immediately contact a criminal defense attorney who also has experience in immigration law any time that you have a run-in with law enforcement officers. The last thing you want or need is a criminal conviction in addition to an arrest record. Even expungement will not erase your conviction for immigration purposes.
Keep in mind that individual visa agents have the power to grant or deny a visa, as well as cancel the stamp on an existing one. Stamp cancellation could even occur without your knowledge. How? A visa agent at the U.S. Consulate in your country of origin could easily access your arrest record in one of the numerous databases available to him or her and cancel your stamp. Should stamp cancellation occur, you can still legally stay in the U.S., assuming that your visa remains current. However, if you travel outside of the U.S., you likely will find yourself unable to return.