Princeton, TX asked in Criminal Law and Immigration Law for Texas

Q: Citizenship with rejected misdemeanor

I have been a permanent resident since Feb 2020.

In 2025, I could apply for naturalization and get citizenship.

In December 2023, I was arrested for domestic violence (slapped in the face wife once), I hired a criminal attorney and the DA office refused my case with no charges in Collin County.

The official charge description is: "Assault causes bodily injury family member".

1. Can get citizenship in 2025? May my naturalization application be denied(rejected)?

2. How should I prepare for the naturalization?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I understand that this is a sensitive and important situation. Based on the information you provided, here are my thoughts:

1. Eligibility for Citizenship in 2025

Even though the domestic violence charges were ultimately rejected by the DA's office, the arrest itself could potentially impact your eligibility for naturalization. When you apply for citizenship, you will need to disclose this arrest on your N-400 application.

The good moral character requirement for naturalization generally looks at the 5 years immediately preceding the application. Since the incident occurred in 2023 and you're looking to apply in 2025, it falls within that 5-year window.

However, the fact that charges were not ultimately filed works in your favor. It's not an automatic disqualification. USCIS will look at the totality of circumstances in determining your moral character. The more evidence you can provide of good conduct and rehabilitation, the better your chances.

So while the arrest record could lead to additional scrutiny and there's some risk of denial, you may still be able to naturalize successfully in 2025 if handled properly. It will depend on the details of your case and how you present it. An experienced immigration attorney can assess the specifics of your situation and advise you on the best path forward.

2. Preparing for Naturalization

Here are some key steps I would recommend:

- Consult with an immigration attorney who has experience with complex naturalization cases involving criminal issues. They can review the details of your case and help you develop a strong strategy.

- Gather extensive documentation demonstrating good moral character - things like character reference letters, evidence of community involvement, steady employment, compliance with court orders, counseling records if applicable, etc. Build a compelling picture of your life and conduct as a whole.

- Be fully transparent and disclose everything on your N-400. Lying or omitting information will only cause bigger problems.

- Prepare a thorough explanation of the incident, the aftermath, and what you've learned from it. Take responsibility while highlighting how it was an isolated event not reflective of your overall character.

- If more than 3 years have passed since the offense by the time you apply, you may want to specifically request an exception to the good moral character requirement based on your record of reform and rehabilitation. An attorney can help with this.

The keys are honesty, taking responsibility, focusing on rehabilitation, painting a bigger picture of good character, and working closely with an immigration attorney to develop and execute the most effective approach for your individual case.

I know it's a stressful situation, but don't lose hope. Having an arrest on your record makes the path to citizenship harder, but not necessarily impossible if you handle it properly. Wishing you all the best as you navigate this.

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