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Ignoring Traffic Violations Makes You Highly Vulnerable. Learn Why.

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Written by Carmen Cornejo

Driving is such a fundamental activity to living and working in the U.S. Driving can be a pleasure or part of your job, but at all times immigrants should be aware of the challenges it brings for them.

Do not worsen your immigration situation by neglecting any problems with the law – even those that seem minimal. This is a common mistake some immigrants make. They don’t fix minor or civil infractions and allow them to be compounded with another charge.

Imagine this common scenario: You had some beers with friends, but your driving is not impaired. The police officer runs your license info and realizes you have not appeared in court to respond to past civil violations. He stops you and questions you about alcohol intake. Before you know it, you end up detained with DUI charges.

Do not give the police agents an excuse to interact with you by not fully resolving all civic violations.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, your problems can increase exponentially. If you are undocumented, with temporary authorization such as DACA or TPS, or even if you are a permanent resident (LPR or green card holder), you can be detained.

Additionally, your problems with the city or state courts keep marching forward.

Like the proverbial right hand and left hand, most law enforcement agencies do not have a method of communicating the individual’s detention and/or filing of charges in different jurisdictions. So if you end up in immigration detention, the city and state courts will still expect you to show up to your court dates and hearings. Why is it important to sort out those problems? For one, you may be able to lower the charges or even have them dismissed and reduce your risk at the immigration court for deportation or some other immigration penalty. Your problems stop growing.


There are cases where defendants are in immigration detention and they have been issued a warrant for their arrest for failure to show up to court. Do not let that happen to you, and do not let this mistake turn into a life-changing event like deportation.

Always consult with an immigration attorney who is knowledgeable in criminal law to solve these issues. He or she may be able to represent you in all courts where you have pending charges and respond to them, even if you are in immigration detention.

Please read our guide to selecting a good immigration attorney here.


Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund brings you the best immigration guides and resources.