Mendieta-Robles v. Gonzales: "Offer To Sell" Not Considered An Aggravated Felony. Why It Pays To Pay An Attorney For Advice.
I receive many calls daily requesting recommendations on immigration related matters. Like most lawyers, I am reluctant to provide legal advice based on general information over the phone. My response to most calls is that I will need to review the case records in details before I can give you an informed opinion. There is a very good reason why attorneys don't like to give phone advice. In most cases an attorney's advice over the phone is incomplete and could be flat out wrong because the attorney does not have all the information. What appears to be a simple question can be easily answered in a misleading way inadvertently.
One example of such situation is a phone call I received from a lady in 2005 who was calling on behalf of her husband, and the father of her two children. She wanted to know if a conviction of Trafficking in Cocaine is a deportable offense. As a first impression, most readers will believe that you don't need an attorney to answer this question. In fact most attorneys will probably respond by saying, obviously: yes it is a deportable offense and it probably is. Of course it does not answer the question the lady really wanted answered which is whether her husband's conviction of Trafficking in Cocaine is a deportable offense. I politely explained to her that the conviction does not appear encouraging but a quick response to a question as such over the phone cannot do justice to deciding if her husband has any chance of staying in the US. I informed her that I would need to know more to be able to answer the question and I asked her to send the conviction records and also informed her that I would need to charge a fee to provide sound legal advice.
Upon reviewing the records of convictions and analyzing the Ohio Revised Code definition of "Trafficking in Cocaine" as the conviction was in Columbus, Ohio, I found a deficiency in Ohio law in its definitions. This told me that her husband had a chance to remain in the US. I met the husband and the family and I was convinced that he has been rehabilitated and felt that I would do good if I can help keep the father with his family in the US. In addition the facts of the case were stunning. This person who is convicted of Trafficking in Cocaine in Ohio never in fact sold, or possessed drugs ever. Ohio's harsh law that convicts people with such crime without the person ever selling or possessing drugs must not be used to separate this family.