Legal Question in Immigration Law in Washington

applying for citizenship, was arrested for bench warrant

I was charged with minor frequenting a tavern last year and never received a court date in the mail. recently I was pulled over for speeding and was arrested for a bench warrant.I was arrested for less than 2 hours when bail was posted. since then I have gone to court and a judge offered a bail forfeiture and the case was closed. will this cause my citizenship application to be denied?

I have no past criminal history.

Asked on 4/02/08, 4:20 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Glen Prior Pacific Law, Inc., P.S.

Re: applying for citizenship, was arrested for bench warrant

Although an offense by a minor is not considered a "crime" under immigration law (see

(a free service, at end693), it could impact your good moral character but you would be allowed to show good moral character to the officer at the interview. The immigration service will want the plea, judgment and sentence, and docket from the court (certified) and a certified copy of the police records. The immigration service could also look at whether the offense could be a crime involving moral turpitude; however, since a minor cannot commit a crime (unless tried as an adult) you have a good argument showing that the offense is not a crime involving moral turpitude on that basis alone. Also , the conviction, if any, itself may not be one involving a crime of moral turpitude. So the officer will be looking at your good moral character. Glen

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Answered on 4/04/08, 5:04 pm
James J. White, attorney Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC

Re: applying for citizenship, was arrested for bench warrant

This may cause trouble for your citizenship. "Convictions" affect the "good moral character" citizenship requirement. The case law around "bail forfeitures" is not as clear as some other case outcomes. I'd attempt a plea bargain that results in dismissal for a clearer result. However, some of these plea bargains can have immigration consequences too. It may be best to hire an attorney who is experienced in criminal and immigration law to resolve this matter for you. Contact me directly if you'd like this assistance.

At your service,

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Answered on 4/03/08, 4:18 pm

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