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The new version of I-485 form does not exclude traffic

Hello, the new version...

Hello, the new version of I-485 form does not exclude traffic violations in regard to criminal acts and violations. However, the instruction does indicate that "In general, you do not need to submit documentation relating to traffic fines and incidents that did not involve an actual physical arrest if the penalty was only a fine of less than $500 or points on your driver’s license. However, you must submit such documentation if the traffic incident resulted in criminal charges or involved alcohol, drugs, or injury to a person or property.”
A few years ago I drove in the passing lane of a highway and was issued a traffic ticket citing failure to drive in the right lane, for which I paid a fine of $132 online. According to the instruction, I do not need to submit documentation on this ticket. However, should I disclose the ticket on I-485 form and answer “Yes” to questions #25, #26, #27?
25. Have you ever been arrested, cited, charged, or detained for any reason
26. Have you ever committed a crime of any kind
27. Have you ever pled guilty to or been convicted of a crime or offense

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you filed any paperwork with the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) yet?

Yes I have already filed I-140 and received approval. I am going to file I-485.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?

Not yet. I might be if it is necessary.

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
12/16/2017
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 30,057
Experience: 34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.
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Hello my name is ***** ***** I am delighted to answer your questions. I am reviewing it and will post your answer momentarily.

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Thank you for copying and pasting the questions do I didn't have to pull the form up.

I am in the process of writing your answer.

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Welcome to JustAnswer! I have 34 years experience as an immigration attorney and I am here to help resolve your immigration issue. Tackling these issues can sometimes get confusing. Should you need to chat on the phone or document review, I am able to do that for an additional cost. Let me know at any time during our question and answer session if you are interested.

25. Have you ever been arrested, cited, charged, or detained for any reason

Yes, it was a citation
26. Have you ever committed a crime of any kind

Since it is a violation of a traffic law and if it was punishable by any term of incarceration such as 5-10-15 days USCIS law considers it a "criminal act".
27. Have you ever pled guilty to or been convicted of a crime or offense

Same as # 26

I don't know the code to look up the actual law for your violation. You may know off hand from your research what the possible maximum sentence might be. If it involved any possible time, then you need to answer YES.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you filed any paperwork with the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) yet?

I hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I appreciate this opportunity to help you. I do not receive a salary here at JustAnswer, and am only compensated for my time after receiving a rating. If you are very satisfied with my answer please take a moment to click on the 5 stars at the top of the page. The question thread remains open and you can ask follow-up questions.

Judith

Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 30,057
Experience: 34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.
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Judith Ludwic and 87 other Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you very much for your reply. The citation on my ticket is listed as an infraction and only involves a fine of $132 which I paid for online. At the back of the ticket indicates that a payment of the fine is considered as "no contest". In this case, should I answer "No" to question #26? How about question #27? Thanks again.

An infraction becomes a "crime" under immigration law which is different from criminal law if the possible maximum sentence involves and time in jail.

So you need to know what the state code says about that "infraction" to know if it is a crime under immigration law which is far more strict than the state law for the infraction.

Judith

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you again for your reply. The code listed on the ticket is 14-240 and is categorized as an infraction in Connecticut General Statutes Section 51-164n. I just checked the website of Connecticut Judicial Branch which clarifies that an infraction is not a crime (https://www.jud.ct.gov/faq/traffic.html). However, to be safe, should I still answer Yes to question #26 and #27?

It doesn't matter what Connecticut law says. That is what I am trying to tell you. US Immigration laws are federal laws, not state laws.

The US immigration laws are different in defining what constitutes a crime. US federal immigration law says that anything that has a possible time in jail, 5 days, 1, day, 10 days, etc constitutes a "crime" and you need to check "yes".

I'm not sure how else to explain but I will offer you a phone call as sometime talking is a better way of understanding the complex US federal immigration laws.

If you are very satisfied with my answer please take a moment to click on the 5 stars at the top of the page. The question thread remains open and you can ask follow-up questions.

Judith

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I am not a CT licensed traffic lawyer but I will try to pull up that infraction and see if there was any possible jail time.

Judith

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It is NOT a crime and you answer "NO" There is only a monetary fine, not time in jail.

(d) Violation of any of the provisions of this section shall be an infraction, provided any person operating a commercial vehicle combination in violation of any such provision shall have committed a violation and shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one hundred fifty dollars.

If you are very satisfied with my answer please take a moment to click on the 5 stars at the top of the page. The question thread remains open and you can ask follow-up questions.

Judith

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You rated, thank you!

Judith

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you very much for your detailed reply. So I will answer No to question #26. Should I answer Yes to question #27 though? Even if it is not a crime, does payment of the fine still considered as pleading guilty to an offense?

27. Have you ever pled guilty to or been convicted of a crime or offense

Same as # 26

Judith

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#27 = NO

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thanks again. So payment of the fine is not considered as pleading guilty to an offense? The back of the ticket indicates that paying for the fine is considered as ‘no contest’ which is equal to ‘plead guilty’ legally.

Could you please refer to my VERY detailed explanation of what US immigration considers as a crime above?

I cannot say it any differently.

Judith

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It doesn't matter what Connecticut law says. That is what I am trying to tell you. US Immigration laws are federal laws, not state laws.

The US immigration laws are different in defining what constitutes a crime. US federal immigration law says that anything that has a possible time in jail, 5 days, 1, day, 10 days, etc constitutes a "crime" and you need to check "yes".

I'm not sure how else to explain but I will offer you a phone call as sometime talking is a better way of understanding the complex US federal immigration laws.

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thanks again. Sorry I was confused by “crime or offense” mentioned in question #27. I thought my infraction was not a crime but still a petty offense. So my ticket is neither a crime nor offense? In this case do I still need to disclose my ticket on I-485?

We will need to talk on the phone for me to clarify this further. I have done the best professional job possible based on my 34 years experience of working with immigration clients.

Judith

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My phone number is ***** the box above.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you. I will call you to discuss this matter in more details. When would be a good time to make the phone call?

Right now. I am going out shortly with family for holiday celebrations.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
It is very nice to talk to you on phone. Thank you very much for your help on this matter.
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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