South Carolina hockey fans may have heard that defenseman Slava Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings has been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities. The agency is trying to determine whether or not he can stay in the country or whether he will be deported.
The detention comes after Voynov pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence through a plea agreement. The case resulted from a dispute he had with his wife in October 2014. After completing a short jail sentence, he was taken into custody by ICE on Sept. 2.
Mr. Voynov came into the U.S. in September 2013 on a temporary employment visa that is granted for people who are internationally-recognized athletes. His deportation case may last months. If he was not properly advised by his criminal defense lawyer regarding the immigration consequences of pleading to a domestic violence charge, he may be able to have that case reopened and to fight it as well. Under immigration laws, crimes of moral turpitude can result in a person's being removed from the U.S., and domestic violence cases are considered to be one of those, even if it is a misdemeanor offense.
Someone who is legally in the U.S. on a visa and who is charged with a crime may need to seek the help of an immigration law attorney. Certain convictions may have negative impacts on the person's ability to remain in the country after the sentence is served. An immigration attorney may work together with a criminal defense attorney to try to secure a plea that is relatively safe for immigration purposes. In some cases, a person may be better off taking a criminal matter to trial.
Source: USA Today, "Kings' Slava Voynov taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement," Kevin Allen, Sept. 5, 2015.