Q: I am on H1 work permit and have recently been fined with Civil penalty (retail theft). shall I make payment or wait judg
I am an immigrant working on H1B work permit. I have recently been fined with Civil penalty (retail theft) and charged with misdemeanor.
1. Shall I make payment or wait for the judgement?
2. What is the consequence on immigration because of this?
A: I would retain a criminal defense attorney as that crime of moral turpitude will negatively affect your H1B visa and it will be cancelled. The defense counsel once retained could request a hearing and amend that criminal charge to a non CIMT (Crime of Moral Turpitude charge) misdemeanor. Once amended that court disposition would not affect your visa.
More information is needed.
First, you are not an immigrant, yet. You are an H1-b non-immigrant visa holder. That is an important difference! As an intending immigrant, you should be more concerned about this citation.
Second, a retail theft conviction is more likely a criminal conviction for immigration and visa purposes. The issue is whether the offense is considered a deportable or excludable offense. You ought to have an attorney review the police report and evaluate the words used in the statute or municipal code.
You should have a criminal attorney and an immigration attorney to evaluate this criminal charge. This, even if the arrest is based upon a city municipal code. A Class A misdemeanor is a criminal charge in the State of Illinois. It may be a petty offense, but can be a grounds for visa denial, even if you are arguably admissible. Some municipal offenses can create concerns, as well. All must be disclosed!
Retail Theft is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. It is considered a crime of moral turpitude. Therefore, a plea of guilty to this charge, regardless of the sentence you receive, will have a negative impact on your immigration status. Be wary of claims that you may plead guilty to the charge, receive court supervision and expunge the records later. Although it may be true, an expungement will NOT hide this from the immigration agency.
The civil demand for money is entirely different and does not impact your immigration status regardless of what you do with it. It is strongly recommended that you show the civil demand letter to your criminal defense attorney, as what you do with it may impact your defense to the charge of Retail Theft. If you do not have a criminal defense attorney, you should hire one asap.
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