I'm glad you are looking to become a citizen, it is definitely very important to do so! The $11 shoplifting charge shouldn't prevent you from doing so. Get your CORI to see if it is on your record. Also, get your docket sheets from the court. You have to be honest on your application about the incident. Or, better yet, hire a lawyer to make sure it is done right. Good Luck!
Massachusetts Immigration Attorney
You have to disclose your arrest and furnish USCIS with a disposition. If no one could find a record, have them give you a letter that says there is no record found, but make sure you explain the incident fully and say what happened to the case. Better yet, hire a local lawyer to search for you and furnish you with a letter that provides details. If you were fingerprinted, its like there is a record somewhere.
Answers given on this site are general advice only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Obtaining criminal records can sometimes be difficult. For old records it often can be helpful to know specifically what you need and where to look. Running an FBI record check (you state you have been fingerprinted) can also be helpful. Consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can review your and advise you how best to proceed.
Jeffrey A. Devore, Esq.
Board Certified Immigration Attorney
Devore Law Group, P.A.
2925 PGA Blvd., Suite 204
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Telephone: (561) 478-5353
Facsimile: (561) 478-2144