Over the years, our firm has represented many international students, perhaps more than a hundred of them. Most of these cases involve criminal defense, defense in school disciplinary action, immigration issue and business venture.
Marjory of our student cases involve criminal defense. Because of differences in cultures and background, some students found themselves being criminal prosecuted for the actions that normally would not be a problem in their home countries. For example, in the United States, fight, slap boyfriend/girlfriend’s face, push another, or email threating another could have serious consequences, such as criminal charges of assault, domestic violence, menacing, aggravated menacing, etc.
Not only ignorance of US law could get an international student into a big trouble, but also it makes defense very difficult. We have discerned certain phenomena. For example, international students, especially those from Asia, after being asked by a police officer about an incident, would tell the police every things, often the most damaging things to themselves, without waiting for Maranda warning or requesting an attorney’s presence. Many of them would readily admit slightest wrong even though they did not understand English well.
In these cases, motion to suppress is of paramount importance. If defense loses the suppress hearing, the choice is very limited. Most clients would take plea bargains.
School disciplinary action is the next heavy area. Disciplinary action could be based on variety of violations, from violation of student codes, academic dishonesty, to Title IX action. Hearings conducted by schools are less formal and allow more evidence to be considered.
Immigration cases have remained steady over the years. Most of them were related to change of status, issues related to OPT and H1B.
Last but not least, we see more and more students seeking our service on their business ventures. These normally involve designing corporate structure, incorporating business, preparing various legal documents and contracts, and advising potential immigration consequences for different options.
We believe that as a group, international students have been underrepresented in the legal system. This could be due to language and cultural differences. We are very proud that we could help so many young people who were away from their home and family, to stay on course and to stay out of trouble in US.
Please feel free to contact us. Initial consultation is free.