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Immigration and petit theft misdemeanor

Orlando, FL |

Immigration,permanent residentship
My brother was arrested for walking out unattentionly to another store with very small item (item was cost around 15$) while I was talking with long distance.(incident happened in Orange county,Fla)He was new immigrant back then. I don't why security in USA always rushes to arrest the person like that instead of listening what exactly happened. Because he is not that type of person to steal something.
And charged with misdemeanor,later case dismissed after completing the Pre trial diversion program.
Now he graduated MBA and looking for a job,and wondering if his petit theft doesn't efect on getting job?
And will it not effect on getting permanent residentship in FUTURE?
Thanks for Your time

And to become USC down the road?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

If in fact that case was nolle prossed or dismissed after the PTI and he doesn't have a conviction it wouldn't be a problem from an immigration standpoint. He would meet the petty theft exeption anyway since it was a misdemeanor and it sounds like he wasn't sentenced to more than 6 months in jail since he got PTI. If he got PTI I would assume he never went to jail too. To be sure you should go to an experienced immigration lawyer and bring with you copies of all the criminal documents for an opinion you can rely on.


It could. Please post your question under the immigration section so you can get some good information. Or perhaps an immigration lawyer here will answer your question.

Please be advised that answering your questions does not establish an attorney-client relationship with myself or my firm. We would be more than happy to set up a free consultation if you call us at 407-228-3838 and specifically mention AVVO or email me at and put AVVO in the subject line.


The INA makes removable a non-citizen convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude (CMT) committed within five years after the date of admission and resulting in a sentence of imprisonment for at least one year. The date of admission is the last date that you entered the United States before becoming a permanent resident, or the date that you became a permanent resident, whichever is earlier.

Shoplifting is considered a crime of moral turpitude. However, an alien convicted of a single misdemeanor classifiable as a petty offense is not removable. This is because the sentence that may be imposed is less than one year. This is the petty offense exception of § 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the INA.

Recently, in the BIA decision of "Matter of Heredia-Pedroza", the court held that the petty offense exception would apply in a situation where the crime involved moral turpitude.

However, when applying for citizenship it will be necessary to show that you have been a person of “good moral character”.



Thanks for Your answer Mr.Mark. Can he become Permanent resident and US citizen down the road?

David Richard Damore

David Richard Damore


Thanks for the detailed answer. It's gratifying to read an answer that explains an issue this well and educational to those of us that don't specialize in this area of law.

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