Supreme Court: Paraphernalia Conviction Does Not Trigger Deportation

On June 1, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a conviction for the possession of drug paraphernalia does not trigger removal (deportation) under §1227(a)(2)(B)(i).

§1227(a)(2)(B)(i) reads: “Any alien who at any time after admission has been convicted of a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance (as defined in section 802 of title 21), other than a single offense involving possession for one’s own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana, is deportable.”

Defendant Mellouli pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor paraphernalia offense in Kansas for possessing four unidentified pills in a sock. Afterwards, an Immigration Judge ordered that Mr. Mellouli be deported.

However, the Supreme Court reasoned that the state conviction did not fall within a category that would make Mr. Mellouli deportable under federal law. Therefore, deportation should not be triggered in this situation.

It is important to note than a conviction for even a minor offense can cause problems for non-U.S. citizens.

If you are accused of a crime or disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, it is important to talk to an attorney who is familiar with the interplay between New Jersey law and federal law.

Call Jason T. Komninos, Esq. at (201) 343-4622 to schedule a consultation.