Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 3.38 3. Motor Vehicle Conviction History

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The client must often go in person to the local DMV office, present a driver’s license or identification, and pay a small fee in order to obtain a printout of the DMV conviction record.  Review the record to determine whether it shows any misdemeanor convictions.  Many moving violations are infractions, rather than misdemeanors or felonies, and cannot disqualify an immigrant under a “one felony/three misdemeanor” rule.  See § 7.24, infra.[121]

                The most common traffic misdemeanors include: driving under the influence, reckless driving, making a false statement to a traffic officer, driving on a suspended license, driving without a license, failure to appear, and hit and run. 


                If the client does not remember the city in which the ticket was issued, the DMV will be able to tell you.  Even though misdemeanor conviction may “go off the DMV record” after a certain number of years, depending on the type of record and type of conviction, they still exist for immigration purposes and must be addressed.

[121] Any crime punishable by a maximum term of five days or less is not considered to be a misdemeanor under 8 C.F.R. § 245a.1(o), for purposes of adjustment of status under INA § 245, 8 U.S.C. § 1255.