If you're looking to become a permanent resident of the United States, a reckless driving charge must be handled carefully. Immigration authorities have strict requirements for those who are looking to receiving a green card.
Reckless Driving and Immigration Law
The application to become a U.S. permanent resident asks if you've been "arrested, charged, indicted, convicted, fined, or imprisoned for breaking or violating any law or ordinance, excluding traffic violations." However, a reckless driving charge is considered more serious than a simple traffic violation and must be reported.
Under Virginia law, reckless driving to be either a misdemeanor or a felony that comes with hefty fines as well as jail time. As a criminal conviction, this could very well impact your pending immigration case.
Crimes such as kidnapping, prostitution, drug trafficking, and money laundering will automatically result in a green card application being denied. Lesser offenses such as a reckless driving conviction won't necessarily prevent you from getting a green card, but they can make the process more difficult.
How a conviction affects your immigration case will depend on what behavior resulted in the reckless driving charge, if anyone was injured, and whether or not you have other offenses on your record. For example, a second offense reckless driving charge while you were under the influence of illegal drugs and caused injury to others would be considered more serious than a first offense reckless driving charge related to illegal passing with no other special factors. You'll need to consult an immigration lawyer for details.
Reducing or Dropping a Reckless Driving Charge
The best way to minimize the impact of a reckless driving charge on your immigration case is to have the charge either reduced to a lesser offense or dropped altogether. An experienced reckless driving attorney can investigate options such as speedometer calibration or a medical emergency defense to lessen the penalties associated with your case. Your attorney can also advise you on how community service and/or a driver improvement clinic can be used to demonstrate remorse for your actions and encourage a judge to issue a more lenient sentence. Schedule a free, no-obligation case review with Virginia reckless driving attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh to learn more.