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On January 28, King, Campbell & Poretz Partner Emily Beckman testified before the Maryland House of Delegates’ Judiciary Committee in support of Maryland House Bill 213.  HB 213 would amend the Maryland Probation Before Judgement (“PBJ”) statute so that a person who successfully completes a Maryland PBJ would not be considered to have a conviction under either Maryland law or federal immigration law.

What is the Impact of Maryland Probation Before Judgement on Immigration?

As the Maryland PBJ law currently stands, even people who successfully complete their PBJ and have their case dismissed are considered to have a “conviction” under federal immigration law.  This means that legal immigrants who accept and successfully complete a Maryland PBJ can be detained and even deported by federal immigration authorities because of the PBJ.

What are the Proposed Changes to Maryland Probation Before Judgement?

HB 213 would add an alternative procedure where a person would not have to plead guilty or be found guilty in order to accept and participate in a PBJ disposition.  The program would be offered after a judge determines that the facts presented by the prosecution would support a finding of guilt.  This change would prevent the successfully completed PBJ from being considered a “conviction” under federal immigration law.

The procedure envisioned in HB 213 is already in use in Virginia and New York.

Need Counsel for a Criminal Case that Could Affect Your Immigration Status?

If you have been charged with a crime and are worried about whether a Maryland PBJ or other plea agreement could impact your immigration status, feel free to call us at (703) 468-8557 or email us at for a confidential consultation.

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