Indianapolis, IN asked in Criminal Law and Immigration Law for Pennsylvania

Q: International student charged with retail theft. How do I keep my immigration status safe?

Hi everyone, on 20th Nov 2022 me and my girlfriend were charged with a retail theft summary offence (CC3929) of amount $149 and criminal conspiracy (CC0903) in Philadelphia, PA. We were arrested, fingerprinted, photographed, and given a citation copy with a court date at the station. We hired a criminal attorney who asked us to do few hours of community service and wrote a letter to the DA and got the charges ‘withdrawn’ before the court date considering we had no priors. Currently, our charges are in the process of expungement.

I am currently on the F1 visa and my girlfriend is on H1B status. My employment starts next month, and the employer is willing to file my H1B application. For me, my first concern is to know how this citation is going to affect my H1B process, and how could I prepare myself for it? If H1B application gets accepted in the upcoming lottery will I be offered a drop-box appointment or an interview? If my H1B is denied during the interview, what happens next?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Cesar Mejia Duenas
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Miami, FL

A: Hi, you did not mention what the final disposition of the charges was. Dismissed? Adjourned in contemplation of dismissal? Pleaded guilty to a lesser charge? Without that information, we can only guess whether the arrest (and conviction if any) would affect your immigration status.

Your criminal attorney should have advised you whether pleading to these charges would affect your immigration status or not. If she does not practice immigration law, she should have advised you to consult with your immigration attorney prior to entering any plea agreement.

Please gather all the relevant documents and schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney to determine whether this case will affect your status. Good luck.

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