Understanding Your Rights as an Immigrant in Texas

As an immigrant, getting caught up in the criminal justice system can be overwhelming. Not only are you facing potential legal consequences like fines and jail, but you may also be facing immigration issues such as deportation. Fortunately, immigrants have rights just like everyone else, and an experienced Austin criminal defense lawyer can help you minimize the penalties you are facing and bring your case to the best resolution possible.

You Have Rights Under the Constitution

As an immigrant, you have certain constitutional rights. Some of the most important include the following:

4th Amendment Rights

The 4th Amendment prohibits the police from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. For example, if the police searched your vehicle without a warrant or probable cause, they likely violated your rights. In addition, any evidence that they obtained during the search could be suppressed, meaning that it cannot be used against you in court.

The 4th Amendment is very complicated, and there are special rules for searches that occur in border zones. As a result, if you believe you have been subjected to an unreasonable search or seizure, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can.

The Right to Counsel

Under Gideon v. Wainwright, people facing criminal prosecution have a right to an attorney, even if they cannot afford one. This protection extends to immigrants. Importantly, however, the right to counsel does not extend to immigrants facing deportation proceedings, which are civil rather than criminal in nature.

The Right to Remain Silent

As an immigrant, you also have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions posed by prosecutors or police without your lawyer present.

How a Lawyer Can Help You in a Criminal Proceeding

If you are an immigrant and have been charged with a crime, you may be feeling hopeless. Importantly, there may be ways a lawyer can help mitigate the consequences you are facing. In fact, the assistance of an attorney may even be able to result in the case against you being dropped by the prosecution or dismissed by the court. Some of the specific ways in which a lawyer may be able to help you include:

  • Determining whether the police violated your rights during your investigation or arrest and, if so, moving to have the evidence against you suppressed
  • Evaluating whether any legal defenses are available
  • Analyzing whether the criminal charges against you could have immigration consequences
  • Advising you regarding steps you can take to mitigate the consequences you are facing while your case is pending
  • Representing you in court
  • Attempting to negotiate a favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor handling your case
  • Determining if any pretrial diversion programs may be available to you

Call Us Today to Speak with an Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you are an immigrant facing criminal charges, it’s critical that you retain an attorney as soon as you can. Jorge Vela is a former prosecutor who understands how to protect immigrants’ rights and is committed to obtaining the best outcome in every case he takes. To schedule a case evaluation with Mr. Vela, call our office today at (512) 537-1237 or contact us online.

Jorge Vela

Jorge Vela

Jorge Vela is a seasoned attorney with experience in both prosecution and defense. A graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Texas School of Law, he has served as a felony prosecutor in Webb County and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Texas. In 2017, he worked as an Assistant District Attorney for Travis County. Since 2018, Jorge has been a criminal defense attorney, leveraging his extensive experience to protect the rights of individuals accused of a crime through his practice, the Law Office of Jorge Vela.

Talk to a Lawyer Today

Call now or send us a message to tell us what happened.


Quam viverra orci sagittis eu. Lacus vesti bulum sed arcu.