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Can I leave the country before a court date for a misdemeanor?

New York, NY |

I got arrested for smoking marijuana in a public place and this is a first offense. I am on an F1 student visa. I have a court date in a few weeks but I need to leave before because of an urgent matter. Will I have trouble when coming back into the country if I have a letter from my lawyer and DA that says what will happen in the case (i.e. an ACD/dismissal etc)

I plead 'not guilty' to the charge and had no marijuana on me at all. The cops claimed to see me smoking it but at no time did they find any illegal substance on me. The lawyer is going to speak with DA soon and I was wondering if character references etc would help the situation?

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Attorney answers 1


Yes, you can have trouble coming back to the U.S. It is unclear whether you will be allowed to complete your education, where you depart. More information is needed. At this point, you should schedule an appointment with an experienced immigration attorney. You need to use care at this point. An immigration attorney can better counsel your criminal attorney on what should be done in criminal court, if possible.

It may not matter that it is a first offense. An admission to an offense is all that may needed to have your visa cancelled and cause you to be summarily excluded from the U.S. in some situations. A non-immigrant visa is a bit different than immigrant visa status upon entry.

An experienced immigration and visa attorney can better explain options, such as waivers or exceptions to inadmissibility. There may be an exception. Efforts should be made before you plead guilty, if at all. Certain forms of dismissal may not help you.

The above is general information and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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