Legal Question in Immigration Law in Virginia

Misdemeanour -1 petty theft and impact of case dismissal to GC application

A few months ago my wife was arrested for shoplifting in Florida, We reside in VA. I am on an H1 visa and my wife H4. She has no prior record. We are in the first stage of GC application- which should be thru soon. We hired a lawyer in Florida who handled everything from Florida without our having to go back.

He called and informed us that the prosecutors, it seems, have refused to drop the case, but he said that my wife got the next best thing - They are willing to let her do community service for 6 months(in VA)and stay out of trouble,after which they will dismiss the case. He says she has NOT been convicted and this is NOT a sentence, but just service in exchange for the dismissal, provided she stay out of trouble.

How will such a deal impact our GC process? is it advisable to take the deal?

If we don't what other choice do we have? Our attorney was not an immigration lawyer, but he was aware of our status. He says he checked with an immigration lawyer who said that it would not affect our GC or present visa whatsoever. Is this true? Is it advisable to expunge the record later?

I would appreciate guidance in this matter as our entire family's future depends on our GC.

Asked on 11/05/04, 9:13 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Re: Misdemeanour -1 petty theft and impact of case dismissal to GC application

This question has been submitted previously to the BBS. One answer previously provided is that apparently the BICE generally considers such dispositions as a basis for deportation or exclusion of the alien, as circumstances warrant. Their rationale for this position, it appears, focuses on whether acts by the defendant or their equivalents were committed which essentially are elements of the crime with which the defendant was charged---and not as to whether the person was specifically convicted of that crime.

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11/05/04, 9:58 pm

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