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Citizenship with Misdemeanor - My experience

Discussion in 'US Citizenship' started by chirag11, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. chirag11

    chirag11 Registered Users (C)

    Hello everyone,

    I was active on this board when I was getting ready to file for my Citizenship. My issue was that I had a Misdemeanor on my record - and that also a CIMT. So there was a lot of doubt in my mind as to if I will be deported let alone being approved...

    But after a lot of research and lot of doubts, I finally decided that it is now or never as my green card was expring in June 2009. So I filed in July/August 2008. I am in Los Angeles area and my service was in Laguna Niguel. I included the court certified docs of my arrest and disposition. I was conviceted and had 3 year informal probation, 1 day Jail (with credit for 1 day for Book and Release) and fine of about $900.

    My only hope was the petty theft exception. It says that a GC holder is eligible if
    - there is only 1 crime
    - the max possible sentence for the crime is less than 1 year jail
    - actual jail is less than 6 months.

    This fit my case perfectly. I had only 1 incident (in 2002) where i was charged with shoplifting (PC 484-488). The max Jail sentence for thi crime in California is 6 month.

    So I filed my application in July end 2008, I got the fingerprint in Sep 2008 end and I had my interview today (Jan 16 2009). I did not hire a lawyer...

    The officer at the interview was nice and friendly - reminded me of my grandma. She asked me a series of normal questions before we got to the crime part. At taht time she asked me about the dates and what happened. I said it was my mistake and stupid thing I did which I regret to this day. She asked if I had any other incidents... I said no. She looked through all the court docs and asked me if they were certified... I said yes because the stamp was only on the last page... Once she found that she made some notes on my original N400 application. Later she asked me the civics and english questions. After that she asked me to sign the last parts of the N400 (the part on last page thst says that to be signed in presence of Office only).
    After all was done she put the "APPROVED" stamp and gave a paper that said I was approved and will receive my oath letter in mail...

    Woohoo!! I was so releived...

    This was the biggest chance I took in my life because to this day I had not told anyone in my family... It is a big burden but I can rest easy now. I should get the oath letter in next month or two and become a US Citizen soon....

    My advise, stay clear of any violations... but if you already have committed a crime,
    - Do not file while you are on probation as that is definite decline.
    - It seems from my case that you dont need to wait 5 yrs after the end of probation to file (mine is under 4 yrs)
    - It eventually comesdown to the officer who you are interviewing with
    - Before you file, make sure you qualify for the Petty Theft Exception (I will post the link if I can find it again - check other threads) -- you dont want to be placed in deportation proceedings...
    - If you can afford it, may be consult a lawyer first

    Good Luck.

    Here is the link:

    (2) Conditional Bars to Establishing Good Moral Character .

    (A) Effect of Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT) Convictions . An applicant who commits and is convicted of or admits to committing one or more crimes involving moral turpitude during the statutory period cannot establish good moral character and is ineligible for naturalization. See 8 CFR 316.10(b)(2)(i) . However, there is an exception to the general rule, which you must consider. See section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Act. The exception applies if the applicant has committed only one CIMT and the crime is a petty offense. A petty offense is defined as a crime for which the maximum penalty possible for the crime does not exceed imprisonment for one year and , if there is a conviction, the term of imprisonment does not exceed six months, regardless of suspension. Thus, an individual convicted of a CIMT will only qualify for the exception if the two conditions are satisfied. Not only must the sentence imposed have been less than six months, the maximum possible sentence that could have been imposed must not exceed one year.

    For example, suppose an applicant commits petty theft in the statutory period. This was his or her only conviction. The applicant was fined and sentenced to one year of probation and community service. The maximum possible sentence for this conviction is 364 days. No term of imprisonment was imposed. The applicant meets both conditions of the petty offense exception and is not precluded from establishing GMC. In the above example, if the applicant had also received a suspended jail sentence of eight months, he or she would not meet the exception because he or she does not meet the second condition of the petty offense exception. The petty offense exception is inapplicable to an alien who has been convicted of or who admits the commission of more than one crime involving moral turpitude, even if only one of the two or more CIMTs was committed during the statutory period. An applicant who has committed more than one petty offense, only one of which is a CIMT, remains eligible for consideration of the petty offe nse exception. See Legal Opinion 95-12 .
  2. ganjik

    ganjik Registered Users (C)

    Cograts man!!
    Friendly likes this.
  3. Santao

    Santao Registered Users (C)

    Friendly likes this.
  4. alsurfer

    alsurfer New Member

    You have brought me a little relief !

    I have been doing some research for over a year before applying for the Citizenship. In 1993 i was charged with a 647B wich is soliciting prostitution; only because i was with a friend who was actually soliciting; not me never talked or offer the lady money. Anyway i was detain in a motel room and sent back home with a notice to appear. I showed up at the court pleaded guilty(stupid)just to get it over with and avoid the embarrasement got a 40 hrs community service and that was all. Then in 1997 i was convicted of the same thing as you. 480/484 another freaking stupid thing; this time they finger printed me and sent me back home with a notice to appear in court. In court same thing i pleaded guilty and the judge gave me a $700 fine and that was all. Now im about to send my application after almost 1yr of research; i have talked to several lawyers and they all have different opinions. After i'll go through the process; i will post my experience so someone like you or me learn something.
    Friendly likes this.
  5. khan308

    khan308 New Member

    alsurfer why are you applying after all these years PLUS you should be fine at its been too long since the mistake you made. keep me posted - my mistake are more recent.
    Friendly likes this.
  6. alsurfer

    alsurfer New Member

    I got my GC through my wife in 2005 after disclosing these "two" convictions; they gave me the card after explaining and showing them all court documents. Now im elegible for USC for marriage to a USC; i just got my documents i requested from DOJ (Department of Justice)where i got the two convictions on my record; i'm ready to send my N-400 i will keep you posted. Thanks!
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  7. roberto gasta

    roberto gasta Registered Users (C)

    Hi alsurfer,

    I've been arrested last friday in Queens ny, with the same charge: patronizing a prostitute and I spend in jail one day;

    I plaid guilty and I've to pay a 150 fine;

    How did your case go?

    Is misdemanor affecting the N400?

    I'd ppreciate your opinion;

    Thank you
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  8. Bobsmyth

    Bobsmyth Volunteer Moderator

    You mentioned in another post that you plead guilty to disorderly conduct, not for patronizing a prostitute. Being charged but convicted for a lesser offense is not the same as pleading guilty to the original charge.
    Friendly likes this.
  9. Tamermido

    Tamermido Registered Users (C)

    Congrats Man. I'm in the same situation and freaking out about it.
    Friendly likes this.
  10. needcitizenship

    needcitizenship New Member

    I know this post was a few years ago, but has anybody with a similar situation successfully obtained citizenship and if so, with or without a lawyer?
    Friendly likes this.
  11. Friendly

    Friendly New Member

    I have a question, I have been here since 2000 I have got in trouble in 2001 3rd assault I was given 1 year probation since then I have only got traffic tickets an one trespassing,I have been trouble free for 7 years I don't have any record everything dismiss clean can I apply for my citizenship now
  12. Juan Sanchez

    Juan Sanchez New Member

    Hello Everyone,

    I have been a permanent resident for like 24 years. But 16 years ago in year 2000 I was arrested for domestic violence. I was given a Misdemeanor, so I was in jail for less than two weeks then I completed the one year school for domestic violence. I paid any fines and had two years of probation, which I did well. Now I am freaking out because I want to become a USC. Should I be ok once I get copies of my criminal records and my disposition. Please advise.
    Friendly likes this.
  13. ananga73

    ananga73 Registered Users (C)

    Juan, you're good to go.
    Friendly likes this.
  14. Friendly

    Friendly New Member

    Waiting on someone to reply to mines
  15. ananga73

    ananga73 Registered Users (C)

    You were admitted in 2000, you committed 3rd degree assault in 2001 which was ONE year after you were admitted. That means you're deportable IF 3rd degree assault is a CIMT according to your jurisdiction (which it likely is) in which case you need a lawyer and consultation before even attempting to file for citizenship.

    Give all the information you have, i.e date you entered USA and status, date you adjusted status, date of assault, your location and court jurisdiction, etc so we can determine if your conviction had a maximum possible penalty for the crime exceeds imprisonment for one year. If it does, then you're deportable but it appears you are eligible for the Petty Offense exception. :)



    We can't give you clear advice based on the scant information you have provided!
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
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  16. Friendly

    Friendly New Member

    i have been here since 2000,I have a 3rd assault misdemeanor I was charge an got 1 year probation that's in 2001 to 2002, I got caught wit a joint in 2006 I did community service my case got dismissed,2007 I got a disorder conduct from there on traffic violations since 2010 I have not got in any trouble at all all my case dismiss can I renew my green card an get citizenship it's been 7 years now no record
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
  17. ananga73

    ananga73 Registered Users (C)

    Do you understand English? Go back and read what I asked for and answer everything I asked or just go pay money for an attorney.
    Friendly likes this.
  18. Latriste

    Latriste New Member

    I been a green card holder for 31 years I had a misdemeanor domestic violence in 2007 can I apply for citizenship?
  19. Pierre82

    Pierre82 Well-Known Member

    Hi @Latriste

    I think someone asked a similar question and it was answered as well. Try reading the entire thread and looking at the previous replies, it seems you are good to go as long you don't have any additional charges pending on you. Probably others can share their input as well, since I´m not an expert on this process or contact an expert attorney on these type of cases.

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