Recently, our office represented a criminal defendant who had been charged with prostitution in Baltimore City, MD. She was facing up to one year in jail and a $500.00 fine if she was found guilty. However, the possible immigration consequences were even more severe – deportation from the U.S.
Our client was originally from the Dominican Republic and had been in the U.S. for almost twenty years. She was a legal permanent resident (green card holder) and had never applied for her U.S. citizenship.
When she came to the office she was petrified about the possible immigration consequences she would face if she was convicted of prostitution. She also feared that because of this pending criminal charge, she would not be able to take a prescheduled trip to Dominican Republic this coming summer to visit with her extended family. The client came to our office specifically because she knew we handled both criminal and immigration matters and she understood that she needed help with both.
Just as we do for all of our clients, our criminal defense attorneys and immigration attorneys worked very closely together. By conducting thorough and complete legal research in to the possible immigration consequences, our office determined that if our client was convicted of prostitution, she would likely be placed in deportation proceedings before the Immigration Court. Our office also determined that if she took the prescheduled trip to the Dominican Republic she would be denied re-entry in to the U.S. when she tried to return.
After completing all of our research, we advised our client of the possible immigrations consequences she was facing. We then strongly recommended that prior to the trial date, we contact the State’s Attorney on our client’s behalf to see if he would allow the client to attend the Specialized Prostitution Diversion Program (SPD).
Because our defense attorneys are experienced in handling a wide variety of criminal and traffic matters throughout the state of Maryland, we know about the various diversion programs offered in different counties. For example, Montgomery County has the IPSA program which is for criminal defendants who have been charged with misdemeanor drug crimes in the District Court for Montgomery County, MD. Baltimore City’s Specialized Prostitution Diversion Program (SPD) is a 90 day program in which the defendant attends one-on-one counseling.
After giving this recommendation to our client, we immediately contacted the State’s Attorney. Initially, the State’s Attorney refused to even consider our client for SPD. The State’s Attorney informed our office that he was not only moving forward with our client’s case, but he was also considering seeking an indictment in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, MD.
However, after extensive negotiations with the State’s Attorney, which took all morning, he very reluctantly agreed to allow our client to meet with the SPD coordinator so the coordinator could determine if she was even eligible for SPD.
Once it was determined that she was eligible, our attorneys had to convince the State’s Attorney to allow our client to enroll in the program. Finally, after many conversations and emails, the State’s Attorney relented and placed our client’s case on the stet docket to allow her time to complete the SPD program.
Last week, our client received fantastic news – after successfully completing the SPD program, we appeared before the Judge and the State’s Attorney dismissed the charge against her.
It was only through the perseverance and dedication of our attorneys that our client had such a positive outcome. Not only did she receive no jail, no probation, and not have to pay a fine, but she would not face any immigration consequences due to this criminal charge. Our client is now happily preparing to travel to the Dominican Republic with her daughter just as she originally planned.