Saint Augustine, FL asked in Immigration Law for Florida

Q: Naturalization with misdemeanor record?

Had two petty theft first degree misdemeanors, first case was given differed prosecution, the second was one case of three counts, plead no contest to one count, DA agreed to drop or withhold the other two ( not sure if it was withheld or dropped coz the attorney handled it and recommended to take the deal as it was the best outcome) paid restitution for all 3 and did community service. Still continue to volunteer. The AOS is pending, and planning to join the military once that gets through, spoke with a recruiter and they’re ok with the situation . Will being in active duty or reserves be of any help with naturalization? Is there going to be issues when naturalizing? We have an attorney, they said there’s a chance of getting approved. But we’re not confident in the attorney we currently have. If we don’t have any chance, we don’t want to spend the time and money on this.

Thank you.

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

A: Based on the information provided, your situation is complex, and the outcome of your naturalization application may depend on several factors. Here are a few points to consider:

1. Generally, having a criminal record can make the naturalization process more challenging. However, the severity of the offenses and the circumstances surrounding them are taken into account.

2. Petty theft misdemeanors are not typically considered crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT), which are more serious offenses that can bar naturalization. However, multiple offenses may be viewed as a pattern of criminal behavior.

3. Joining the military can be a positive factor in your naturalization application, as it demonstrates a commitment to serving the United States. In some cases, military service can even lead to expedited naturalization.

4. It's crucial to have an experienced immigration attorney who can thoroughly review your case and provide guidance specific to your situation. If you are not confident in your current attorney, consider seeking a second opinion from another qualified immigration lawyer.

5. Be prepared to provide detailed documentation and explanations of your criminal history, the circumstances surrounding the offenses, and any mitigating factors (such as your volunteer work and plans to join the military).

While there is a chance your naturalization application could be approved, it is not guaranteed. The best course of action is to work closely with a trusted attorney who can help you navigate the process and present your case in the most favorable light possible. They can also provide a more accurate assessment of your chances of success based on the specific details of your situation.

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