Significant Misdemeanors & Immigration

By Michael Spychalski

To be eligible for deferred action, participants cannot have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or multiple 3 or more non-significant misdemeanors. Also, participants cannot otherwise pose a threat to national security.

What does it mean to have been convicted of a “significant misdemeanor?” A significant misdemeanor is defined as a federal, state, or local criminal offense for which the participant was sentenced to more than 90 days or a conviction for domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, firearm violation, drug distribution but not possession, or DUI regardless of the sentence. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody and does not include a suspended sentence or time in immigration detention. One DUI conviction will be considered a significant misdemeanor regardless of sentence imposed. Minor traffic offenses such as driving without a valid license are not considered non-significant misdemeanors that count toward the three or more non-significant misdemeanors. Examples of non-significant misdemeanors are possession of drug paraphernalia, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and trespass.

A conviction includes any negotiated guilty plea with or without a trial and any sentence decided by a judge or jury after trial. It does not include a mere arrest or a charge for committing a felony where that charge has been dropped prior to trial, or where a judge or jury has rendered a finding of not guilty on that charge. Moreover, an appellate judge reversing or vacating a conviction is also not a conviction.

If you are thinking about applying for deferred action and have any involvement with a criminal issue, it is best to seek the advice of attorney. Call 800-208-3104 or email us and we will contact you.