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Adam, Arbitrator
Category: Criminal Law
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I have a pending criminal case, It was Criminal Mischief

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I have a pending criminal case, It was Criminal Mischief Class B. Mg Criminal lawyer advised me to ask a Immigration lawyer for a consultation and ask for assistance on further decision making about what is the consequences if I plead guilty? The prosecutor advised us to plea guilty on it and pay a fine of $680 dollars. My main concern is how will it affect my immigration status in the near future?

Thank you for using JustAnswer! I am A.D., a licensed attorney with many years of experience. I look forward to assisting you today.

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Good afternoon!

You didn't say what state you're in, but it sounds like a misdemeanor. At this moment, there is no law which means that if you have a misdemeanor, you are immediately deported. And this sort of thing doesn't fit the standard definition of "moral turpitude," so that helps. And even if it were, petty offenses where the penalty does not exceed imprisonment of one year or more are categorized as an exception to crimes of moral turpitude. This means if you only have one crime involving moral turpitude and the penalty does not exceed one year, then the crime should not be a ground for your deportation.

As to the future of citizenship eligibility, one of the first steps in filing for citizenship is filling out Form N-400.

This form will explicitly ask if you have ever been arrested, cited, or detained by a law enforcement officer.

USCIS will normally ask this question to see if you possess “good moral character.”

In most cases, they’ll look especially hard into what you’ve done for the last 5 years. However, they always take your full criminal history into account.

As a general rule, you should avoid applying for citizenship if you’ve been convicted of any crime within the last 5 years.

When establishing an applicant’s good moral character, a USCIS officer will evaluate three things:

  • The presence of a criminal record
  • Application information
  • Interview testimony

The presence of a criminal record doesn’t necessarily bar you from citizenship, it just makes the process harder.

USCIS normally decides these things on a case-by-case basis. I can't give you advice as to whether to take the deal, nor is this information a substitute for having an immigration attorney give you a thorough review of your situation. But I hope I was able to help you today!

Adam and 6 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you