Unless you live in a major metropolitan area with good public transportation, it is very challenging to live in the United States without the ability to drive. A driver’s license makes it easier to maintain employment, as well as to complete many other important daily activities like grocery shopping, paying bills or taking your kids to and from school.
In the US, a driver’s license is practically a necessity. So, are you allowed to have one if you have an immigration case pending? Keep reading to learn more about the implications of driving without a license in Virginia, and what types of immigration cases permit an applicant to apply for a license.
Driving and Immigration Cases
Driving without a license in Virginia is classified as a misdemeanor. The first offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. While every case is different, many courts will punish a first offense with a fine only. However, subsequent offenses can often result in jail time.
A misdemeanor conviction, even a relatively minor charge like driving without a license, can have a negative impact on your pending immigration case. Immigration judges will take into consideration any law violation in determining bond or assessing an immigrant’s moral character. Even minor criminal charges could impact your bond status while you are in removal proceedings, which means that even a minor criminal or traffic charge could result in immigration detention. It is extremely important that you have a clean record in order to make your immigration case proceed without any issue.
If you have been charged with driving without a license in Virginia, we recommend hiring an attorney to do everything possible to avoid criminal penalties and immigration consequences of a conviction.
Getting Your Driver’s License in Virginia
Fortunately, some immigrants are eligible to obtain a driver’s license while their case is pending. In Virginia, you must be able to prove that you are a resident of the state in order to apply for your license. For certain case types, proof of filing can be used to establish your residency to then be eligible to apply for a driver’s license.
Do you want to know if you are eligible to apply for a driver’s license as an immigrant? Do you need quality immigration advice you can trust? Contact the boutique law firm, The Center for Criminal and Immigration Law, for a consultation today!