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I'm applying for a student visa in Australia and I'm facing DUI charges in the US. Not convicted yet, but had to leave the States due to family emergency. I had a court date but missed it. Being an Indian citizen my question is: Should I declare in the student visa forms the DUI charges OR, knowing that Australia does not consider DUI convictions with regards to granting visas, can I not disclose this on the forms?

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    Are you taking steps to deal with the missed court date in the US? The DUI could become much more serious if not handled properly. – Patricia Shanahan Oct 9 '17 at 13:02
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    You can still write to the court explaining your absence, and get a lawyer to advise and represent you. – Patricia Shanahan Oct 9 '17 at 13:18
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    If your lawyer is not responding you can report that to the state bar association. Also get a new lawyer. – phoog Oct 9 '17 at 13:27
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    In Australia a 1 year jail sentence will make you inadmissible. In the US the maximum sentence for a first DUI is 6 months, but for a failure to appear is 1 year. Since you risk a sentence that would make you inadmissible to Australia I suspect they would want you to clear that first. If you are asking if Australia will know about the charge, note that the US does share their criminal database with Canada and are no less friendly with Australia, so that is a risk you take. – Dennis Oct 9 '17 at 16:21
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    @Dennis criminal penalties in the US are set by the states. Asserting that a first DUI has a maximum penalty of six months and failure to appear has a maximum penalty of one year is misleading. In New York, for example, the maximum for DWI, as it's called there, is 1 year. – phoog Oct 9 '17 at 17:04
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By virtue of missing your court date in the US, a bench warrant for your arrest will have likely been issued against you. This makes things a bit more serious for your case.

While you mention that Australia "does not consider DUI convictions", this is not entirely correct. They are considered, but generally do not merit grounds against a visa application. However, should you not report it, along with your warrant for arrest in the US, these could be grounds for your denial (fraud). As your likely combined sentences would be under 12 months-- it should be possible to still obtain a visa to Australia. Authorities will take your criminal record into account and make a character determination. Fraudulently reporting information by omission would count against this assessment.

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You should complete immigration forms as carefully, completely, and accurately as you can. Often, the forms ask broad questions, such as whether you have any pending charges. They do that because asking for exactly the situations that would lead to rejection would make for very complicated questions, and people who omit something could reasonably claim not to have understood the question.

A recent travel question concerns the consequences of omitting a decades old minor conviction on a UK visa application. It is unlikely that the original conviction would have prevented a visa being issued. Lying about it was a different matter.

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