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February 9

Can I Apply for DACA if I Have a Criminal History?

I’m applying for DACA but I have a criminal history. What are the differences between significant misdemeanor, non-significant misdemeanor, and felony?

Felony

A felony is a federal, state or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

Significant Misdemeanor

A significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and:

  • Regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or,
  • If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.

Non-significant Misdemeanor

A crime is considered a non-significant misdemeanor (maximum term of imprisonment is one year or less but greater than five days) if it:

  • Is not an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; and
  • Is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.

A minor traffic offense will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of DACA, However, driving under the influence is a significant misdemeanor regardless of the sentence.

If you have any questions regarding your DACA application and have a prior criminal record, please contact the Houston Immigration Attorneys at Benavides & Serrano to schedule a consultation. We will review your case with you and explore your options for DACA.

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