Maggie Arias was born in New York and moved to Florida when she was five years old. She was raised in Miami, Florida and graduated from Lourdes Academy. After graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelors degree in criminology, Maggie attended the Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg. While at Stetson, Maggie was selected as a member of the school’s nationally recognized mock trial team, and placed as semi-finalist in the Florida Trial Lawyers Association statewide competition.
Following law school, Maggie dedicated herself to representing indigent defendants facing criminal charges. First in Tampa, and then in Miami, Maggie worked as an assistant public defender for more than seven years (including her time as a certified legal intern), defending clients at all stages of the criminal process. As a former assistant public defender and a recognized trial lawyer, Maggie has handled thousands of criminal cases and has tried cases ranging from DUI, trespass, assault and battery, to grand thefts, armed robbery, drug-trafficking, kidnapping, and molestation charges.
While at the Public Defender’s Office in Miami, Maggie was recruited to join a boutique law firm specializing in immigration defense. Maggie headed the firm’s criminal division, and also represented clients in a variety of immigration proceedings. She successfully litigated a number of complex asylum petitions and Convention Against Torture Claims. She also obtained 212(h) waivers and arranged the cancellation of removal for many clients. Maggie also assisted clients with lawful permanent residency petitions, family-based petitions, and other forms of obtaining legalized immigration status in the United States.
For nearly a decade, Maggie has served on the Board of Directors for the local chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL). In 2010, Maggie was honored by her peers who voted her “Outstanding Young Lawyer.” Maggie was recognized at the FACDL-Miami Banquet that year and was formally honored as the first-time recipient of the “Outstanding Young Lawyer’s Award,” given to a young lawyer who exemplifies hard work in the legal field and in service to the community.
In addition to her dedication to her profession, Maggie has donated time as a pro bono Appellate Attorney in her capacity as Board member of FACDL-Miami. As co-chair of the Amicus Brief Committee, she was responsible to represent the FACDL-Miami lawyers’ and their clients’ interests when complex legal issues threatened due process rights and criminal procedure rules.
Maggie is the current President of AILA-South Florida (the local American Immigration Lawyers Association). She has been a member of the Board since 2013. She has spoken at various continuing legal education seminars on various topics including: Post-Conviction Relief, Notario Fraud, Immigration Court Practices, The Categorical Approach & Immigration Consequences of Criminal Conduct.
Maggie Arias specializes in criminal and immigration defense, and represents a number of clients who face the possibility of deportation as an added consequence to their criminal charges; Maggie has been able to successfully negotiate plea agreements for many clients that have allowed them to remain in the United States in spite of their criminal conviction.
As an authority on criminal and immigration law, Maggie has been asked to teach at various CLE courses, at the University of Miami School of Law to assist adjunct professors in their trial advocacy skills courses, and as a training attorney for the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office. She also trains other lawyers in Continuing Legal Education courses on Padilla-related motions, basic and complex immigration defenses and general immigration consequences of criminal activity. Maggie is available as a consultant for immigration consequences stemming from criminal offense allegations.
Maggie brings her tenacious and aggressive style to defending the rights of the criminally accused and of immigrants facing deportation. It is Maggie’s personal and professional mission to provide the highest quality legal representation to all her clients.
Apart from her life as a lawyer, advocate and representative, Maggie teaches yoga, a talent she discovered when she endeavored to learn everything she could about the practice of yoga and meditation in 2010. She is a certified Vinyasa Yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance, the national organization for Yoga in the United States.