if one is in US on a tourist visa and got arrested for shoplifting and charges got dismissed after community service+theft class and the person left US, can she come back to US on a tourist visa?
she can try, but I would have the disposition handy and be prepared for the denial
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Family Law Attorney
Agreed. You will be questioned about the arrest and subsequent order for the arrest. You will need to have those papers from the courts handy. They will have grounds do deny your visa, so it's a 50/50 chance. Its up to you whether you want to take that chance and possibly lose the visa fee. Talk to a lawyer first if it'd make you feel better.
A dismissal on those facts is probably still a conviction for immigration purposes. It sounds like a standard conditional null pros, where for first-time offenders the state dismisses the charges so long as the offender completes community service. Typically, however, these dispositions involve a finding of facts sufficient to warrant a finding of guilt. That means the court says, we have enough to get you, but since it's your first time, we'll allow you to keep your record clean if you just go to these classes or whatever. Unfortunately, this scheme is still a conviction under immigration law.
Would be best to get the disposition from the court and show it to a lawyer so he can tell for sure. But it sounds like a tourist visa application will be a waste of time.
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The specific issue is whether this is a "conviction" for purposes of inadmissibility and more broadly even if not a conviction whether your friend can be found inadmissible under INA 212 for any other reason. The issue is very important because even if a case is "dismissed" it still MAY be a conviction for immigration purposes. Furthermore, it will be important to determine whether this is a case of pre-trial intervention or nolle pros but it appears some penalty was imposed. Consult an AILA attorney who specializes in crime-related immigration cases. http://www.ailalawyer.com/
No attorney-client relationship is created or implied by this communication in any way. Consult a competent immigration attorney preferably one who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
Some of my clients have been successful to return to the U.S. to visit.
This response is general in nature and cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. Any comments offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship. If you would like additional information based on this response, please contact my office at 510 657 7665 or 415 902 0832 to schedule a consultation.