Criminal Defense Attorney Helps With Unauthorized Practice Of Immigration Law (N.J.S.A. 2C:21-31) Charges
In New Jersey, only licensed attorneys or counselors at law are entitled to act as immigration counselors and accept money to help individuals with matters relating to immigration and naturalization in the United States.
Immigration consultants who are not attorneys or counselors at law who engage in the practice of law in New Jersey will be charged with a fourth degree crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-31, Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law, and face an 18 month sentence if convicted.
Holding yourself out as a qualified immigration consultant when you are not a licensed attorney is a crime of the third degree, and can carry a 3-5 year sentence if convicted.
Advertising yourself as a lawyer when you are not one is also crime of the third degree.
Finally, if you possess another person’s immigration documentation for longer than a reasonable period of time after it has been requested to be returned, you can be charged with a crime of the fourth degree and face 18 months.
These are very specific activities, and the statute itself is meant to protect vulnerable populations who may experience linguistic, financial, and cultural barriers to getting the help they need.
These same linguistic and cultural barriers can be helpful to your defense, because witnesses are often shy about testifying and their statements are often unclear.
If you’ve been charged with Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law, call attorney Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9661 for a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.