While no overseas company would expect an employee to encounter legal trouble on business in the United States, it occasionally happens. Swift and sure action is needed to resolve the employee’s U.S. legal problem and to minimize the damage the matter might cause to the employee’s ability to travel to the United States to conduct the company’s business. This article is the first of a three-part series discussing possible scenarios and outlining the basic steps a company should take when an employee is arrested on a minor criminal offense in the United States. Part 1 addresses the company’s need to understand the nature of the employee’s criminal problem. Part 2 will provide insights into how the company may help the employee resolve the problem in the U.S. courts. Part 3 will discuss approaches to minimize the possible negative effects of the event upon the employee’s ability to travel to the United States in the future.
Getting a handle on the problem
The company’s legal department, then, should instruct the employee to stay in the United States at least until the company and the employee can consult with a qualified U.S. criminal practitioner who will handle the matter and consider the question of how quickly and easily the matter can be resolved. If the employee already has left the United States, the issue of re-entry will be one that the U.S. practitioner, with the necessary help of a U.S. immigration lawyer, will be left to manage.
In rarer, more serious cases, the company will learn that the employee is detained at a U.S. police station or jail facility pending the posting of bond. In these cases, the company can devote its attention to securing counsel to aid in the employee’s release on bond, if possible, and can ensure that counsel consults with the employee about the issue of re-entry.