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Will an outstanding US warrant affect immigration to the US with my wife who is a US citizen?

Orlando, FL |

I am originally from the UK and currently live in Europe. I have recently married my girlfriend who recently turned 18. We had been dating for almost 2 years.

I currently have an outstanding warrant in the state of Florida. The warrant was issued whilst I was outside of the United States and relates to an accusation of unlawful sexual activity with my girlfriend prior to her 18th birthday.

My wife and I would like to return permanently to the United States to live. Once we can head to the US, I will of course be dealing with the outstanding warrant. I am aware that I would likely be arrested upon my return to the US.

My question is, will the outstanding warrant affect our application for an immigration visa based on our marriage?

I have no criminal record & have been in and out of the US several times under the visa waiver program in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, prior to our marriage, I was denied a B2 visitor visa on the basis that I could not prove non-immigrant intent, which is fair considering that my girlfriend and I were engaged at that point. In this case, I will clearly be applying for an immigrant visa so there will be no need to prove non-immigrant intent. Will the warrant have an affect on the visa application? It is my understanding that a warrant is not a conviction and that I am in the eyes of the law, innocent without a criminal record. Therefore from that perspective, I would think it may not be an issue, however, having dealt with “the system” before, something tells me it will not be that simple. EDIT: If any Orlando based immigration lawyer would be interested in taking on this matter for me, please state as much below along with your answer.

Attorney Answers 8

Posted

I do not practice in Florida as I practice criminal law in the state of Illinois, but just from the first impression any issued criminal bench warrant from that particular criminal court must be quashed and recalled with a defendant present in court to dispose of the case ultimately.
To address the "question , will the outstanding warrant affect our application for an immigration visa based on our marriage?"
My unequivocal professional answer is, most definitely as any pending criminal case will receive a"hit" during an initial biometrics stage of any stateside AOS and, as a result, will most likely be placed on hold pending the outcome of the criminal matter, which, in its own way if a conviction results, for instance, will change the very eligibility of the foreign beneficiary for the AOS as sought.
You must retain a very experienced criminal counsel in that Florida counsel and have an immigration counsel ready to work with that professional in tandem.

DISCLAIMER The answer given above by the lawyer serves for educational purposes only and provides general information and a basic understanding of the applicable law. Take notice that the answer above does not create an attorney-client relationship as this website is not intended to provide anyone a specific legal advice. Anyone using the site expressly consents that there is no attorney client privilege between any person and any attorney responding. Further take notice that the site should not be used as a crude substitute for any professional and competent legal advice by a licensed professional attorney in the applicable jurisdiction. The attorney above attempted to provide competent professional opinion, however, the law and its applications may change frequently and vary greatly from other U.S. jurisdictions and locales. Therefore, any information and opinions stated above are general in nature, and may not apply to specific factual or legal circumstances related to one's current legal issues. Contact an experienced lawyer admitted to practice in your State under an attorney-client privilege to further receive a comprehensive legal before making an educated decision about your particular legal issue. Respectfully, Attorney Alexander Ivakhnenko, Chicago, Illinois

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Asker

Posted

Thanks for the detailed answer. I see where you are coming from. The issue however, is that in order to return to the US to deal with the matter in the first place, I need a visa. I cannot come under visa waiver as I have been denied a B2, which makes me ineligible and I would say there is a high chance of being denied a B2 again on the basis of the fact that I'll be unable to satisfy the requirement to prove non-immigrant intent. Whatever the outcome of the case, it will be our intent to remain in the US after the case is dealt with, so what visa do we apply for. Very complicated situation.

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Posted

It is and I completely concur that the very visa issuance with a live stateside criminal warrant makes it highly unlikely to receive.

Asker

Posted

So its a completely circular issue. 1) I cannot return to the US to deal with the warrant without a visa 2) Its unlikely that I'll be able to obtain a visa without dealing with the warrant. 1) I cannot return to the US to deal with the warrant without a visa Surely the US legal system has some way to overcome this situation? I am trying to do the right thing here and deal with the warrant. I have no desire to be considered "Wanted" by the United States for the rest of my life, and even if my wife and I did not wish to return to the US now, its likely we'll want to at some state in the future, be it 2 years down the line or 20.

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Posted

You are absolutely correct to form this issue in a very precise formula: 1) I cannot return to the US to deal with the warrant without a visa 2) Its unlikely that I'll be able to obtain a visa without dealing with the warrant. 1) I cannot return to the US to deal with the warrant without a visa However, further retention of both legal professionals is necessary to explore the corollary further, not on Avvo, as you already know.

Asker

Posted

Many Thanks for your correspondence Mr Ivakhnenko. I highly appreciate that you have taken the time to form a detailed reply and follow up on my comments. If you were based in the Orlando area, I would most definitely retain your services to explore this issue further, however, given that Florida is where the issue exists, I suspect it'll be best to find an immigration attorney in that area to work on this matter.

Ksenia Alexandrovna Maiorova

Ksenia Alexandrovna Maiorova

Posted

Mr. Ivakhnenko is a knowledgeable and respected immigration attorney. The immigration piece of your matter can be handled by any licensed immigration attorney, regardless of location, because the filings will not require local appearance by your immigration counsel. You would need a Florida-licensed criminal attorney, however.

Asker

Posted

Ahhh! That is a valuable piece of information. Thank you.

Posted

It will likely affect the visa process. You should retain legal assistance before applying for the visa

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Asker

Posted

Legal Assistance there in the United States, or here in Europe?

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Posted

US

Robert Louis Brown

Robert Louis Brown

Posted

IUS

Posted

This will almost definitely affect your visa application. You need to seek legal counsel before starting the process.

None of the above information is intended to constitute legal advice; rather it is intended to give the consumer sufficient information to determine whether or not they should consult an attorney regarding their legal matter.

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Posted

Yes. It will.

The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter,not should it be viewed as establishing an attorney client relationship of any kind.

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Posted

What do you think? Yea the Florida authorities are going to ignore this and CBP will welcome you with arms wide open! Please hire a lawyer before getting in a plane.

This is not legal advice and a client attorney relationship is not created. You should not rely solely on the information provided in this page as every case is different and laws are in a constant state of change.

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Alexander Joseph Segal

Alexander Joseph Segal

Posted

Sure they will.

Asker

Posted

Sarcasm aside, I think I have already demonstrated that I do not believe it will be such a simple issue. I stated as much in my opening post. I have hired lawyers from this website previously and rest assured, those who offer professional replies without the sarcasm are far more likely to get my $$.

Posted

You need to take care of this warrant ASAP, as it will likely affect the process of applying for an immigrant visa based on marriage. I would recommend that you hire an immigration lawyer and a criminal lawyer who will work closely together to address this issue for you. Best of luck!

Answers provided by Ksenia Maiorova, Esq. on Avvo.com are of a general nature and do not constitute legal advice.

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Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Posted

Indeed.

Asker

Posted

Ksenia - would you be interested in taking on the immigration side of this? If you would like more information, I can contact you at your convenience to provide this, and discuss your terms.

Ksenia Alexandrovna Maiorova

Ksenia Alexandrovna Maiorova

Posted

Our rules of ethics prohibit us from soliciting clients on this site, or anywhere else. If you are interested in any particular lawyers on this site, I would recommend that you contact them directly at their office to schedule a consultation. I always recommend meeting with at least two attorneys, in order to get two opinions, and to determine who you feel most comfortable working with.

Posted

The outstanding warrant will definitely effect the issuance of an immigrant visa. While you are correct that you have not been convicted of any crime, it is not necessary that you actually be convicted. It is sufficient for you to admit the essential elements of the offense for a criminal ground of inadmissibility to apply.

As you appear to realize, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can review the factsof your case to provide you with specific advice. Location is not necessarily the most important thing to look for when retaining immigration counsel and the terms and conditions of this forum prevent attorneys from actively soliciting clients (even though you have asked). Click on the link below for what to look for when hiring an immigration attorney.

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. Review Mr. Devore's Avvo Profile for more information about his expertise in immigration law and how to contact him to discuss your case.

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Asker

Posted

I have not admitted to anything and have no intention of doing so, so I cannot see how I would presently be inadmissible by that definition. Thanks for your detailed answer.

Jeffrey Adam Devore

Jeffrey Adam Devore

Posted

You'd be surprised the number of times I have seen this issue arise from a person "had no intention." Things happen during the spur of the moment. You may have no intention of conceding anything, but a consular officer is skilled enough to get to the facts an it's a subjective call on the CO's part. You need to be prepared very well for your visa interview. Good luck.

Asker

Posted

Many Thanks for the additional information Jeffrey. It is much appreciated and rest assured, I will take your warning seriously and shall be diligent if/when it comes to the consular interview. Once I have adequately assessed my options in this situation, I'll be contacting immigration lawyers from this thread in order to find a suitable candidate to take this on for me. You will be one of the lawyers I contact as I am very satisfied with your professional replies here.

Posted

Dear Sir, in my professional opinion, in order to be deemed inadmissible under Section 212(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for a crime involving moral turpitude, you must have either been convicted under the broad definition of the Act, or have admitted to the essential elements of the crime. If neither, then you should not be barred from an immigrant visa in my opinion. However, the warrent may get you arrested upon your entry to the U.S. Thus, I think you need two types of attorneys: Immigration and Criminal. Best regards,

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