Allen, TX asked in Immigration Law for Puerto Rico

Q: PR applying for citizenship, with a domestic violence case dismissed. Should I be worried?

Hello, I was falsely arrested for domestic violence and the case has been dismissed as I never did anything. The arrest and the case don't show up on my record, and I am wondering if I should:

1) mention the arrest even though it doesn't show up?

2) will it hurt my chances of getting a citizenship if I do mention it?

3) get supplemental documents saying that I am a good person?

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2 Lawyer Answers

A: Yes, you must be truthful... you are required to disclose all arrests. You must also provide arrest records and case disposition documentation. Gather these documents and consult with an immigration lawyer, in order to get an informed legal opinion on the chances of your case. Good luck!

Finesse Law Firm

Grant St Julian III
Grant St Julian III
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Dallas, TX

A: One of the requirements for naturalization is good moral character (GMC). An applicant for naturalization must show that he or she has been, and continues to be, a person of good moral character. In general, the applicant must show GMC during the five-year period immediately preceding his or her application for naturalization and up to the time of the Oath of Allegiance. Conduct prior to the five-year period may also impact whether the applicant meets the requirement. [1]

C. Definition of Conviction

1. Statutory Definition of Conviction for Immigration Purposes

Most of the criminal offenses that preclude a finding of GMC require a conviction for the disqualifying offense or arrest. A “conviction” for immigration purposes means a formal judgment of guilt entered by the court. A conviction for immigration purposes also exists in cases where the adjudication of guilt is withheld if the following conditions are met:

•A judge or jury has found the alien guilty or the alien entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere [8] or has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt; and

•The judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or imposed a restraint on the alien’s liberty. [9]

It is not always clear if the outcome of the arrest resulted in a conviction. Various states have provisions for diminishing the effects of a conviction. In some states, adjudication may be deferred upon a finding or confession of guilt. Some states have a pretrial diversion program whereby the case is removed from the normal criminal proceedings. This way the person may enter into a counseling or treatment program and potentially avoid criminal prosecution.

If the accused is directed to attend a pre-trial diversion or intervention program, where no admission or finding of guilt is required, the order may not count as a conviction for immigration purposes. [10]

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