Offering a False Instrument and Immigration (New York)

By: Adam H. Rosenblum Esq. | Last Updated:

Many people who enter the United States from other countries try to obtain driver’s licenses. In some cases, this may be permissible. In other cases, a foreign person may use a different name or address on the application in order to avoid having his/her true identity and legal status identified. Those who do often believe that lying about their name or address is far better than being discovered and eventually deported back to their country of origin.

There is a big problem with this approach: An undocumented worker or immigrant and who lies on a driver’s license application is committing the crime of Offering a False Instrument for Filing (NY PL 175.30 and NY PL 175.35).

What Penalties Can an Immigrant Face for Lying on a Driver’s License Application?

Immigrants—legal or otherwise—who are caught using false information on a driver’s license application can be charged with the strictest penalty, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, an E Felony. A conviction can lead to up to 4 years in prison.

Can I Be Deported for Lying on My Driver’s License Application?

Offering a false instrument is a felony in New York. It is also considered a crime of moral turpitude by the federal government. That means a non-citizen who includes false or inaccurate information on a driver’s license application can be deported, even if he/she has legal status (i.e. has a visa or green card). For those who are not in the U.S. lawfully, it is nearly guaranteed that their lack of legal status will be discovered. This, in turn, will also result in a removal order.

What if I Did Not Include False Information on Purpose?

An immigrant who did not knowingly include false information on a driver’s license application (due to language limitations, misremembrance, or any other reason) may still face considerable consequences. However, regardless of one’s intention, it is critical that an immigrant accused of lying on a NY driver’s license application contact an attorney for help.

Why an Immigrant Should Hire an Attorney to Fight a Charge of Offering a False Instrument in NY?

A non-citizen of the U.S. who is charged with offering a false instrument faces both jail time and possible deportation, even if he/she is here lawfully. As such, it is critical to have an attorney represent him/her in such a case. Even an honest person who made a simple mistake can accidentally say something that can result in a guilty verdict. However, a skilled attorney will be able to evaluate the case to determine the best defense strategy to minimize or avoid consequences, including deportation. An attorney can advise the client on how to answer critical questions when being examined by a prosecutor or judge. An attorney may also be able to negotiate with prosecutors to reduce the charge to a lesser offense that will not result in a removal order.

Who Should I Contact?

If you or someone you love has been charged with providing false information on a DMV 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 of avoiding incarceration and deportation. Contact us at 888-883-5529 for a free consultation.