You present a significant problem for your future, a New York shoplifting charge, depending how you are charged, could be a state felony of different class, such as C, D, E with stated amounts. The charge indicates a serious felony case with a possibility of jail. Therefore, without any hesitation, while you still have time, research, compare and select an experienced criminal attorney licensed in New York.
Another compelling reason you must deal with the case proactively and competently is its direct dire consequences on your prospects of naturalization in the United States. I cannot stress hard enough that your future in the U.S. is on the line here.
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First, hire a competent attorney that is familiar with immigration proceedings. As a crime involving theft and, therefore, moral turpetude, you could face removal proceedings, be rendered inadmissible to the United States, or denied citizenship if convicted. Thus, it is critical you do what you can to avoid being convicted.
I handle cases like this all the time. Your case is very serious. You were only $2 from a felony. I suggest you hire a good criminal defense lawyer.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
It can affect your citizenship if you are convicted. Hire a good attorney as soon as you can.
Joseph A. Lo Piccolo, Esq.
Past President, Criminal Courts Bar Association
Hession Bekoff & Lo Piccolo
1103 Stewart Ave, Suite 200
Garden City, NY 11530
516-408-3666 (o) / 516-408-3833 (f)
I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.