Certain Crimes Prevent Receiving 'Deferred Action"

There are several criteria that an individual must meet in order to qualify for the June 15, 2012 announcement by president Obama offering 'deferred action' to certain foreign nationals that were in the US on the day of the announcement. If you are an individual with a conviction of a felony offense, significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanors you may not be eligible for this 'deferred action'.

"Felony Offense"

A felony offense for purposes of eligibility is defined as any felony that is a federal, state, or local criminal offense that is punishable by imprisonment of a term exceeding one year. By this definition if you have a felony conviction for which the maximum period of imprisonment is a term of up to one year you may qualify for the 'deferred action'. Also, the rule is the criminal offense is punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year. In other words even if your actual sentence is one year or less but the possible sentence under the statute could have been greater than one year you may not be eligible for the 'deferred action'.

"Significant misdemeanors"

A criminal offense that is punishable by one year or less of imprisonment at either the local, state or federal even if no imprisonment is imposed by be a 'significant misdemeanor'.

Crimes of violence are mostly considered significant misdemeanors and include any crimes that are classifiable as violent, threatening, assaults, or including domestic violence.

Alcohol and drug related crimes may also be considered significant misdemeanors. Included among the crimes listed as significant misdemeanors is driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI's) or drugs, drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs.

Other crimes considered significant misdemeanors are obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or leaving the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, or fraud.

"Multiple Misdemeanors"

An individual convicted of three or more other misdemeanors not occurring on the same day and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct is not eligible to be considered for deferred action under this new process even if the misdemeanors are not considered 'significant misdemeanors'.

The Department of Homeland Security is presently developing guidance for the application procedure and clarifying the requirements. If you need assistance with the application process or are not sure if you qualify, please seek competent assistance from an attorney practicing in US Immigration law or other qualified person.

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