Practice Advisory on Representing Noncitizens Accused of Misdemeanor Assault Offenses – Both DV and Non-DV Cases – Under RCW 9A.36.041 [pdf]

A misdemeanor assault conviction under RCW 9A.36.041 can trigger removal (a.k.a. deportation) for a noncitizen under several different grounds of immigration law. Such a conviction can also prevent otherwise eligible noncitizens from obtaining immigration benefits such as lawful status, U.S. citizenship, asylum and relief from removal known as “cancellation of removal.” However, under current case law from the Ninth Circuit and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), many of these negative immigration consequences (especially deportation) can be avoided with careful pretrial analysis, clear plea negotiations and, most importantly, carefully crafted plea statements. This advisory provides defense counsel with strategies to avoid triggering removal (deportation) for noncitizen defendants charged with fourth degree assault and violations of a no-contact order.