Immigration: Admission & Document Renewal Issues

The immigration laws of the U.S. specifically prohibit individuals from being admitted into the country, or having a Visa issued or renewed, if they have been convicted of a “crime involving moral turpitude.” Shoplifting, Petty Theft and Grand Theft are crimes that falls into this category in that such a conviction can result in denial of a visa and an individual can actually be deemed “inadmissible” to the United States.

While there are exceptions to these extreme consequences (i.e. a Shoplifting case could be lessened to a “petty offense”), what is absolutely essential is that an individual accused of shoplifting avoid conviction at all costs so that his or her residency into the United States is not in jeopardy.

Criminal Convictions Can Get You Deported

If an individual who has resided in the United States for less than five (5) years is convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, he or she can be deported even if the shoplifting offense falls into the “petty theft” exception. This is serious. Be advised – the possibility for deportation under this scenario is not affected even if the person has a spouse, child, parent or other family member who is already a citizen. Upshot? Avoid a criminal conviction at all costs.

On October 2010 the statistics from (ICE) the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office were released. Those statistics show that of the 392,862 persons removed or deported from the U.S. in 2009, 195,000 were removed for being a convicted criminal. It is best to error on the side of caution and do everything in your power to keep your record conviction-FREE.

Do Not Allow a Shoplifting Conviction to Effect Your Immigration Status

If you are an immigrant and you have been arrested or charged with shoplifting, you should search out and hire the best attorney you can find. Do not “shop” for the cheapest legal representation. Please understand that there are no “Second Chances,” no “Do-Overs,” no golf-course “Mulligans” in criminal law. Once a case is resolved it is over. Yes, you can appeal a case, but the statistics on a criminal appeal reversing the original outcome are a disappointing 5.6%** success rate: not much chance. Therefore, it is imperative that things turn out as best as possible the first time.

** Statistics on winning an appeal

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