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How Criminal Proceedings Impact the Thai Immigration Process

Transcript of the above video:

In this video today, we are going to be discussing how criminal proceedings, as the title suggests, can impact the immigration process or specifically one's immigration status here in the Kingdom.

What are we talking about? Well let's say an individual, or individuals for that matter, become charged with a crime here in Thailand. How does that impact them from an immigration standpoint? Can they leave the country? If they do leave the country, can they come back? What happens under those circumstances? Well again, and I am sure I sound like a broken record to some who have watched a fair few of these videos, but “every case is different”, so this is all going to be case-specific. But the short answer is a foreigner who has been accused of a crime here in Thailand and is formally charged and goes through criminal proceedings, that has an impact on their immigration status; it has an impact on their visa status. Depending on the charges at issue, it may have a fairly significant impact on their visa status, or you know, if relatively insignificant, it may be something that can be smoothed over relatively quickly and relatively efficiently. But that being said, it can have an impact. So what are we talking about? Well, let's say someone is accused of just, you know, what can be considered sort of a minor crime here in Thailand. They have been charged formally and they may or may not have yet to receive bail. If it's a fairly minor crime the police don't have to detain the individual but what happens to their immigration status? Well, this is where we get into the notion of two different kinds of Blacklists. So there is a blacklist for those who can't return to Thailand okay? And there is a blacklist for those who can't leave. So what we're talking about is, is once someone has been formally charged, that's going to be noted into their immigration file and once that's noted into their immigration file, they are going to be unable to leave the country in most cases until they are either granted some kind of reprieve from the court and are allowed to leave or they are, the case has been completed, it is dismissed or they pay a fine or restitution, they have served their time, whatever. That's basically the two scenarios you are looking at. So within a bail context, that's why bail is so important with respect to this issue, within a bail context, often times what you will see with respect to foreigners, especially those foreigners who live and work abroad, you may see a situation where it's requested that they be allowed to leave in order to return to work but in most cases, and this is pretty well always the case, they are going to be told that they have to return by a certain date lest they  face further censure further criminal penalty, loss of bail etc. So that being said, this is going to be very, very, very dependent again on the underlying circumstances and the circumstances of the individual in question; so even bail itself is not a forgone conclusion. If it's determined that an individual who's accused, poses a risk of flight, they are not going to be granted bail presumably. Again, and in major crime cases, I don't think you're going to see a situation where the Court's going to give an individual leave to depart the country to return, but in minor things like traffic offenses  for example or minor crimes associated, just general minor crimes, it may be possible to see a court say “look you work in the region for example, you need to leave but you need to come back” and they will specifically delineate the terms of that individual's liberty if you will and when they need to return to the court, when they need to check up etc. So again, it's going to be very case-specific, but immigration status has a substantial, is substantially impacted by one's criminal situation here in the Kingdom; if one is being charged with something.

Another thing to keep in mind is, that's the Blacklist side of whether or not one can leave or needs to remain in the Kingdom until adjudication is played out. And another thing to keep in mind with respect to one who remains in the Kingdom. What happens to their visa status? So let's say an individual is in Thailand for 30 days, they are in an altercation on day 29, they are charged formerly on day 30 and they are not going to have a court date for another 30 days. Well they are actually given a specific kind of visa extension which is an extension based on an order of the Court and that extension is just going to keep being extended until the matter is settled. So there is sort of a specific, like “criminal” visa if you will, for lack of a better term, or “criminal” status, perhaps that's a little bit too inflammatory, "undergoing proceedings" sort of status that's granted by the Immigration Authorities pursuant to notification from the court system that an individual is undertaking proceedings and needs to remain in the Kingdom while those proceedings are ongoing. So that's how an individual stays. On the back end of this,” yes criminal activity can have substantial impact on whether or not that individual can then turn around and return to the Kingdom”. For example, if that individual was apprehended and detained when they were in overstay, that can result in an immediate 5-year ban no matter how long the over stay was. If it's a day if it's two days whatever, if they were apprehended in-country, and it was in a criminal context, that can just result in just boom automatic 5 years. However let's say someone is actually in status and they committed a crime of a certain gravity as dictated by both the Justice ministry as well as the immigration apparatus here in Thailand of a certain gravity as dictated by both the Justice Ministry as well as the Immigration apparatus here in Thailand of a certain gravity that is considered to be such that some kind of blacklisting is warranted, in many cases where the crime is substantial enough, the criminal activity is considered substantial enough,  a lifetime Blacklist may be instituted and that individual may never be able to come back to the Kingdom again. So it's going to vary again case-by-case  but blacklisting is an important aspect and much in the same way that attorneys are now, for good reason, in the United States  required to provide information regarding the immigration implications of you know guilty pleadings or being found guilty in a  criminal context in the United States it's not a bad idea to perhaps contact an attorney or legal professional with respect to the immigration implications of criminal charges and the possibility of being found or pleading guilty to criminal charges here in the Kingdom as Thai Immigration may find one in inadmissible from further travel into the Kingdom after one has undergone the proceedings and been allowed to leave.