In United States v. Padilla, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), the United States Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment requires attorneys to inform their non-citizen clients of the immigration consequences of entering a guilty plea in criminal cases. In many situations, entering such a plea, even in a misdemeanor case, can result in deportation. An order of deportation can occur many years after the guilty plea, much to the surprise of the client. Padilla recognized that a lawyer who fails to advise their client of the potential for deportation is not competent, so that a plea entered without such advice is not a voluntary plea and therefore, can be vacated. A question left open by the Padilla decision was whether it was retroactive, meaning a person whose plea was entered before Padilla became final could also vacate their plea if not properly advised.
On February 22, 2013, Bill Sheppard will be lecturing at George Mason University School of Law discussing representation of veterans in state criminal proceedings at a day-long seminar entitled "Representation of Combat Veterans in the Criminal Justice System". This event is being presented by the Veterans Law Section and the Criminal Law Section of the Federal Bar Association and co-sponsored by the District of Columbia, Maryland, Northern Virginia and Pentagon Chapters of the Federal Bar Association.
If someone calls you claiming to work for a regulatory or law enforcement agency and inquiring as to past online pharmacy purchases or demanding you pay a fine because you made such purchases, please be aware that there is a good chance you are being scammed. Do not talk to this person, do not send them money and do not provide them banking information. Immediately hang up the phone and call an attorney.
We are frequently asked how to respond when a police officer asks for consent to search your vehicle. Our emphatic response is "Just Say No!" By consenting to the search of your vehicle, you forfeit your right to challenge the search of your vehicle, and anything found within it can be used against you if you are charged with a crime. In order to search your vehicle the police officer must have probable cause to search it, or exigent circumstances must exist to do so. Police cannot search your car just because you have been arrested. If an officer thinks he or she has the right to search your vehicle, there is no reason to request your consent. Asking to search your vehicle is an implicit admission that the officer does not have cause to do so.