Skip to main content

Misdemeanor affect green card/citizenship?

Kirkland, WA |

I was caught shoplifting which was charged as Theft 3 as the total was between $100-$200. I am 18. I am here on a green card and hope to maintain/renew and apply for citizenship. I have not yet received a letter from the store/court so I cannot provide maximum information but from what I understand, I will be most likely to get any combination of fines, probation, records, and community service. If not all. I am hoping to achieve a compromise of misdemeanor and get the charge dismissed if I attend a course. Hopefully this means it will not be put on my record. Will having this misdemeanor on my record (for however many years) affect my green card / future citizenship? Will taking the diversion (and perhaps dropping charges/record) affect my green card/future citizenship? Thank you.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


Any conviction can have immigration consequences. What those consequences are can only be determined through a review of the court disposition and the statute under which the conviction took place.

You should retain an experienced immigration lawyer, whether myself or one of my colleagues, to review all the facts, advise you, and handle the case.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.


This can delay your citizenship for several years, hire a good criminal lawyer and see if you can get in a diversion program.


You need a good criminal and immigration attorney. I am not familiar with Oregon law. However, crucial factors include the actual sentence (even if suspended), the time since you became a permanent resident, and the maximum penalty for the crime. Certain state misdemeanors are classified as felonies for immigration purposes, and certain diversionary programs still count as convictions, as do expungements.

This general information does not establish any attorney-client relationship. There may well be factors not mentioned in the question which could and should be addressed in an attorney consultation.

Toni Maschler

Toni Maschler


Oops, I meant Washington (assuming that's where the incident occurred).


Is either of your parents a US citizen before you turned 18? If yes, you may already be a US citizen. If you are a US citizen, the outcome of the shoplifting case should have no effect on your immigration status.

You should review with your attorney the specific facts to find out your legal options.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer