Domestic violence allegations can have a significant and lasting impact on everyone involved, even in some cases where the claims are never actually proved. A University at Albany student’s recent experience shows how these kinds of allegations can also raise immigration issues.
Omar Helatat was detained by federal immigration officials as he was trying to finish his final semester at the university. The Jordanian immigrant was first jailed after his ex-girlfriend accused him of assault. Although she later dropped the accusation, Helatat had already been transferred to an immigration detention center.
Helatat came to the Unites States with his family when he was four years old. They overstayed their visas, but Helatat was permitted to remain in the country as part of the federal deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program. Federal authorities moved to revoke Helatat’s protected status as a result of the criminal charges. He was ordered to be deported by a federal judge in a decision that’s currently on appeal.
Helatat’s case is a reminder of the serious consequences that can come with a domestic violence charge. That’s why it’s important to fight these cases head on, including before charges are officially filed when possible.
Domestic violence generally refers to a wide range of criminal offenses—like assault and battery, harassment, and rape—that occur between family members, people who live together, and/or those in a romantic relationship. They often come down to one person’s word against another person’s version of the events. Roughly one quarter (25 percent) of all divorces involve domestic violence accusations, but some 70 percent of those claims are eventually deemed unnecessary or false.
Even in the event that someone who accuses another person of domestic violence later takes it back or asks that the case be dropped, it’s prosecutors who have the final say in whether a case goes forward. In addition, prosecutors often immediately take steps to get an order of protection against a person accused of domestic violence. Those orders, which ban the person from coming within a certain radius of alleged victims and potentially other family members, can be granted without finding that the person actually committed the crime. They can also be tough to undo, even if the charges are dropped.
If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence or related crimes in the Capital District, it is vital to seek the advice of an experienced Albany domestic violence attorney. A lawyer can help you weigh your options and start building the strongest possible defense, in some cases before you’ve even been charged with a crime.
James E. Tyner is an experienced attorney who has been representing clients in domestic violence and other cases for more than a decade. Mr. Tyner has a strong track record of getting optimal results for the people that he represents. He is happy to serve clients in Albany, Schenectady, Latham and throughout the state. Contact us online or call 518-363-6303 to schedule a free consultation.
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