While some foreign visitors and visa holders are permitted to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license, many others are not. In some cases, a foreign person will apply for a driver’s license even if he/she does not have legal status. In the worst-case scenarios, a person may even use a different name or address on the application in order to avoid having his/her true identity and legal status identified.
Whenever a person includes false information on a driver’s license application provided to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) or other government documents, he/she is committing the crime of Offering a False Instrument for Filing (N.J.S.A. 2C:21-3b).
What Penalties Can an Immigrant Face for Including False Information on a Driver’s License Application?
Any immigrant, legal or otherwise, who is caught using false information on a driver’s license application can be charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing. A conviction can lead to up to six months in prison.
Can I Be Deported for Including False Information on My Driver’s License Application?
Offering a false instrument is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. As such, a non-citizen—including a legal visa holder and a green-card holder—who includes false or inaccurate information on a driver’s license application can have their status revoked and be ordered removed from the country. Individuals who are not in the U.S. lawfully are nearly guaranteed to have their lack of legal status discovered, which can result in deportation.
What if I Did Not Knowingly Include False Information?
It may be possible for an immigrant to not knowingly include false information on a driver’s license application. Possible reasons include language limitations, misremembrance, or confusion over what was being asked on the application. However, there is no guarantee that an “honest mistake” will be dismissed or overlooked by an investigator or judge. As such, it is critical that a person charged with offering a false instrument in New Jersey hire an experienced attorney to help handle such matters.
Why an Immigrant Should Hire an Attorney to Fight a Charge of Offering a False Instrument in NJ?
Both legal and illegal immigrants in the U.S. who are charged with offering a false instrument can face both jail time and possible deportation. Foreign residents can be removed from the U.S. upon conviction for what the federal government calls “crimes of moral turpitude.” While the term is poorly defined, any offense that implies a level of criminal intent and a sentence of more than one year will generally qualify. Offering a false instrument can fall into that category.
As such, it is critical that one consult with an attorney before responding to an investigation or subpoena. A skilled attorney will be able to evaluate the case to determine the defense strategy with the best chance of minimizing or avoiding consequences, including deportation. This may involve negotiating with prosecutors to reduce the charge to a lesser offense that will not result in a removal order. An attorney can also coach the client on how to respond to critical questions that may be asked by an investigator, prosecutor or judge.
Who Should I Contact?
If you or someone you love has been charged with providing false information on a MVC application, especially if he/she is not a U.S. citizen, it is critical that you contact an attorney right away. The attorneys at Rosenblum Law have extensive experience with traffic, criminal, and immigration law and can provide the best possible chance if avoiding incarceration and deportation. Contact us at 888-815-3649 for a free consultation.