Traffic violations pose a risk to anyone receiving them, but there may be more on the line if you are an immigrant. The green card process often takes years of filing time, which leaves plenty of room for traffic tickets. Repeat offenses or serious charges may stack against your attempts to remain in the country or become a citizen.
It is important to remember what major details of a traffic violation impact your stay.
Crimes of moral turpitude have a big effect on immigration status. Though the definition is broad, the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition details how most traffic violations do not classify as moral turpitude outside of certain circumstances.
A good example is the maiming of another with a vehicle while under the influence. This is a serious charge, but the Fourth Circuit of Virginia ruled that involuntary manslaughter is overly broad and probably does not meet the definition of criminal negligence. If a strong argument for a criminal mens rea exists, the courts may rule otherwise.
Under the influence does not only mean by alcohol. Many traffic violations do not include grounds for deportation unless you use a substance that the federal courts prohibit. DUIs of any sort affect your life and may raise scrutiny over your immigration status. Repeat offenses raise the risk of a charge escalating to felony status and may also risk things.
Traffic violations, big or small, may make your road to citizenship harder. Reducing or eliminating those charges might help keep your insurance rates low, your license in your hand and your feet planted on American soil.