Personal Profiles

 
 

Stephen Eckdish, Esq.

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Ben Hall, Esq.

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I am a San Francisco criminal defense attorney and U.S. immigration lawyer who has successfully defended clients in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1980. For more than 30 years our clients have placed their futures in our hands. We have taken those responsibilities very seriously. 
 
As a California criminal attorney and a San Francisco lawyer, I have handled thousands of criminal cases defending both citizens and non-citizens in all types of serious felony crimes, including drug, domestic violence, assault, three strikes and DUI cases. I am also a San Francisco U.S. immigration lawyer, defending aliens in immigration court removal (deportation) hearings and representing clients seeking adjustment of status and asylum relief before the U.S.C.I.S. (C.I.S.) throughout northern California. As a criminal lawyer and immigration attorney, I defend clients charged with aggravated felonies, three strikes crimes, and crimes involving moral turpitude. As an experienced trial attorney, I also handle appeals from denials of adjustment(s) of status by the C.I.S. (formerly B.C.I.S. and I.N.S.), appeals from orders of removal issued by the immigration courts, and appeals from criminal court convictions.

I practice in all of the San Francisco Bay counties including, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Marin County, Alameda County and throughout northern California. As both a criminal lawyer and a U.S. immigration attorney, I am ever mindful of the immigration consequences when defending non-citizen clients. I am skilled in the art of avoiding criminal convictions and jail time. Retaining an experienced criminal defense and immigration lawyer can make the difference as to whether or not you are deported.
 
If you are looking for an affordable California defense lawyer and a San Francisco immigration attorney, then look no further. As a seasoned criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, I have extensive courtroom experience and resources. By providing aggressive defenses using all of the resources and remedies available such as filing for adjustment(s) of status and obtaining waivers, applying for cancellation of removal, applying for asylum and withholding of removal, and obtaining post conviction relief, we have established a proven track record with winning results in both the U.S. immigration and the California criminal courts. 
 
Practicing as both a criminal lawyer and U.S. immigration attorney in San Francisco, I have been able to avoid the problems other lawyers have who are not experienced in both immigration and criminal law and procedure. As a criminal defense attorney, I am able to avoid convictions which have immigration consequences. As an immigration lawyer, I emphasize obtaining post conviction relief for my clients by filing motions to modify, reduce, dismiss and expunge their convictions. By doing this, I eliminate the basis upon which removal proceedings are based. If you are a non-citizen facing criminal prosecution in federal or state court, or removal in the U.S. Immigration Court, then you will want to retain an experienced San Francisco criminal attorney and U.S. immigration lawyer to handle your case.

Finally, when I do find the time to take a break from my busy law practice, sea kayaking has become my first choice. I have discovered that being on the water not only allows me to relax, but also sharpens mental skills and enhances self-confidence. This photograph was taken of me during a outing on Lake Tahoe's remote west shore.

I look forward to the opportunity to represent you.

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Inspired by the great diversity within my family, I attended law school with the intent of becoming an immigration lawyer.  Through my family, I have witnessed firsthand how difficult it is for people to navigate through the complex immigration system.  The more I learned about the system, the more I wanted to assist those going through it.  While learning about immigration, I discovered that traversing the immigration system is particularly complex for those immigrants with criminal issues.

The crossroads between immigration and criminal law can be one of the important junctures in a person’s life.  Handling an immigrant’s criminal case incorrectly can and will lead to families being split up forever. Unfortunately, there are few attorneys equipped to competently contend with both issues. 

I started practicing immigration law prior to criminal law.  I have always thoroughly enjoyed working as an immigration lawyer.  Each case presents an opportunity to keep a family united or to save someone from eminent harm in their home country.  Early on, I encountered the severe repercussions that criminal convictions have on non-citizens.  Most immigration I worked with offered little guidance on how to navigate such complex criminal actions.  Thus, I endeavored to practice criminal law as well. 

I joined the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Criminal Conflict Program to learn criminal law from a dedicated group of criminal defense attorneys.  As it turned out, many of my clients were immigrants.  To best protect my immigrant clients, I studied the consequences of specific convictions and quickly found that a conviction under certain statutes can be optimal for a U.S. citizen but result in inadmissibility and removal of an alien.  For the cases where a dismissal was unlikely, I used this technical knowledge to fashion a plea agreement that would minimize the potential immigration consequences to my client.

While I did succeed in learning the immigration consequences of specific convictions, I still could not assist those immigrants who already had adverse criminal convictions.  Throughout my career, I encountered countless many immigrants with such convictions who are now leading productive lives and who are valued members of their community. The adverse conviction record, which is often the result of a criminal defense attorney unwittingly advising their immigrant client to take a “good” plea deal, creates nearly insurmountable immigration problems.  I discovered that the only remedy available to such individuals is post-conviction relief, an extraordinarily difficult form of relief to obtain. 

Post-conviction relief is one of the most powerful tools available for immigrants with criminal convictions.  In fact, I have heard many clients describe it as miraculous.  After post-conviction relief, immigrants who thought they would be removed are now able to either maintain their lawful permanent resident status, adjust status, or naturalize.  Witnessing people successfully go through this process is one of the most satisfying aspects of my career.

I obtained my Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University School of Law with a Juris Doctor, where I also obtained a specialization in international law, with distinction. Prior to attending law school, I graduated with High Honors from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Sociology.

I hope for the opportunity to successfully guide you through the immigration and criminal system.

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