The legal system in Arizona can be incredibly confusing. This is especially true when it comes to citizenship and immigration services. Prosecutorial discretion can make this already complicated situation even more difficult. Prosecutorial discretion awards law enforcement and prosecutors power that they can use to preserve resources and seek justice. In this article, we’ll discuss what prosecutorial discretion is, how it relates to immigration law, and how it may help you. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. To speak with an experienced immigration lawyer at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, call or text (602) 910-4040.
Prosecutorial Discretion Definition
Prosecutorial discretion is an established practice of law. This lets law enforcement and prosecutors choose to not pursue criminal charges. With this power, prosecutors and law enforcement officers have the authority to preserve the already limited resources available to them. Minor violations of the law can be overlooked to pursue more serious crimes.
When Is Prosecutorial Discretion Used?
If you’ve ever been pulled over for some reason and ended up getting a warning instead of a ticket, you benefitted from prosecutorial discretion.
Another example of prosecutorial discretion is plea bargaining. Prosecutors can decide what charges to prosecute (if any) and offer a plea bargain. The prosecution team may offer a reduced sentence for a guilty plea to a lesser charge. In some cases, the prosecution team can suggest an alternative sentence. Prosecutors can offer rehabilitation or community service if you plead guilty to the original charge.
In theory, prosecutorial discretion should be used in cases where justice cannot be served if the charge is pursued to the fullest extent of the law. In actuality, there is no real rhyme or reason for when prosecutorial discretion is used. These decisions are made by humans who can sometimes operate with corrupt purposes or just make mistakes.
Benefits of Prosecutorial Discretion
Most law enforcement agencies simply don’t have the resources to pursue every single criminal charge. Pursuing every single law violation would result in an unimaginable caseload. Not to mention the cost of pursuing these crimes. Resources have to be spread between prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officers. Prosecutorial discretion allows the prosecuting attorney to dismiss charges, drop charges, and offer reduced sentences in plea bargains. This helps protect the finite resources of both the court system and law enforcement agencies.
Prosecutorial Discretion and Immigration Law
Prosecutorial discretion isn’t only used in criminal law. Prosecutorial discretion can help postpone or halt removal proceedings for undocumented persons. Being removed from a community that you have poured blood, sweat, and tears into can have devastating consequences for both you and your family. At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, our immigration attorneys fight to keep families together. If you and your family are struggling with removal proceedings, we can help. Contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group today.
How Can I Get Prosecutorial Discretion?
In immigration cases, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can grant PD in a few different ways. It can be as simple as not issuing a Notice to Appear in court to give you more time to apply for citizenship. If ICE has already started deportation proceedings, you can request prosecutorial discretion at any time. Generally, though, PD requests are more likely to be granted earlier in the process to conserve resources.
Make sure you establish an attorney-client relationship with an immigration attorney before speaking to ICE about obtaining prosecutorial discretion. If you are an undocumented citizen, ICE may use this opportunity and knowledge to deny PD and begin or continue the deportation process.
Who Can Get PD?
Any undocumented person with removal proceedings against them can apply for prosecutorial discretion. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that ICE will award it. A qualified immigration attorney like the ones at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group can determine if applying for a PD is the right step for you.
Can You Apply For PD?
The PD process involves paperwork, but there are no official forms to fill out to start the request. An experienced attorney can help draft your request to the appropriate departments. Ideally, your written request for prosecutorial discretion will include:
- A list of reasons explaining why you should receive PD
- A background check
- Proof of positive relationships in your community. This can include community involvement, places of worship, and employment history.
- A personal statement about your ties to the community and lack of criminal convictions
What Happens if PD Is Denied?
You can apply for PD any number of times, especially if you have new information to include in the request. Working with a skilled immigration attorney will help you in this process. If ICE denies your request for PD, you and your attorney can explore other options, such as a Cancellation of Removal.
How A Phoenix Immigration Attorney Can Help
Navigating the criminal justice system can be hard, especially in one of the most anti-immigrant states in the country. Contact the Ybarra Maldonado Law Group today if you or a loved one is at risk of being deported. We know the devastating impact deportation can have on a family. We make it our mission to reunite families and keep them together. If someone in your family has been charged with a crime and fears deportation, a criminal defense attorney from Ybarra Maldonado Law Group can help. An immigration attorney can help you apply for prosecutorial discretion and fight for your freedom. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Attorneys You Can Trust | Abogados de Confianza
“Trust” and “attorney” aren’t words you see together very often. Our attorneys want to change that. At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, our immigration attorneys provide proactive and aggressive legal counsel to those who need it. We are passionate about serving our community with integrity and honesty. We don’t serve clients; we serve members of our community–members of our family. Our attorneys understand what it takes to defend our oppressed communities. In addition to fighting deportations, our team is fighting to change the legislation that impacts our community. Let us help you. For a free consultation in your case, call us today at (602) 910-4040.