I’m going to apply for citizenship naturalization but I have one concern. I was cited of reckless driving in Northern Virginia back in 2011, The charge was only speeding 79 mph in 55 mph zone, No alcohol and drug was involved at all, I was released upon a summons from the officer, I hired a lawyer for the court and the charged was dropped with the conviction of “Fail to obey highway sign” which is a minor infraction “even less than speeding”, since Virginia consider any speeding ticket over 20 mph over the posted speed as a reckless driving and considering as class 1 misdemeanor. What should I do in my application or should I hire a lawyer, No actual arrest was involved too.
You will probably not have a problem and the situation will be considered a speeding ticket. However, if you were charged with reckless driving and agreed to any conditions in order to reduce the charges, USCIS may consider your plea an admission of guilt to Reckless Driving.
Answer the questions on the N-400 honestly and provide certified copies of the citation and final disposition with your application.
If you want to be sure and reduce your anxiety I suggest you at least have an experienced immigration attorney look at the record and advise you.
While you have a conviction during the good moral character period, it does not appear to be a crime involving moral turpitude and therefore not automatically disqualifying. It will, however, need to be disclosed and addressed as part of you satisfying the good moral character requirement for naturalization.
Over the years I have handled many cases like this and have found the best way to address them is to prepare a memorandum of law explaining the alien's criminal history, why it is not disqualifying, and how the alien is otherwise a person of good moral character.
Whenever criminal issues are involved I strongly suggest that an alien retain qualified immigration counsel, whether it be me or someone else who knows what they are doing, to represent them. There is much more to immigration then just filling out forms. Knowing the nuances, especially in a case like this, is extremely important.
While this answer is provided by a Florida Bar Certified Expert in Immigration and Nationality Law, it is for general information purposes only and an attorney/client relationship is neither intended nor created. You should seek out qualified counsel to review your case and provide you with advice specific to your situation. Call +1-561-478-5353 to schedule a consultation.
This should not prevent you from getting citizenship. You should answer yes to have you ever been arrested, cited, etc because it started as a misdemeanor and then explain it at the interview. If concerned, it doesn't hurt to consult with an experienced attorney.
You will need to disclose this incident on your application and provide certified copies of the court records.
Although there is no requirement to hire an immigration lawyer to assist you with your naturalization application, you should consider doing so. Your lawyer will be able to prepare a legal memo that explains to the immigration officer why your conviction should not disqualify you from becoming a citizen. In the event that the conviction does become an issue during your interview, you will be very happy to have a lawyer with you who will be able to help resolve the issue on the spot so that your application can move forward.
(703) 424-2979. Virginia Immigration Lawyer - Helping Future Americans Become Citizens