Shoplifting may be a deportable offense. Since you have not yet become a US citizen, your status is in grave danger. Before you make any deals, take any pleas, or do anything else with regard to your shoplifting charges, schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney. This is a very, very serious matter. Do not delay!
Answers provided by Ksenia Maiorova, Esq. on Avvo.com are of a general nature and do not constitute legal advice.
Even if your case gets approved, at the time of taking the oath, USCIS will ask you to disclose any changes that have happened in your situation since the interview. That includes any arrests or court filings. You ought to disclose this recent arrest to USCIS. Consult a local immigration attorney immediately.
Your case cannot be decided until the final outcome of your pending criminal charges for shoplifting. Once you are convicted for either petty theft or even trespass to chattels or disturbing the peace (which I doubt) you'll be placed on a 3 year probation. Someone on probation or any depravation of freedom does not qualify for citizenship, due to the lack of "good moral character " . Unless you spend the money and hire a very good criminal defense lawyer who will make your petty theft charges disappear, you can pretty much kiss your N-400 "bye- bye" for the next at least 3 years, when you'll need to reapply.
Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.
Consult an immigration attorney who knows a criminal attorney or vice-versa. You at least need a criminal attorney to resolve/reduce your shoplifting charge. An applicant for N-400 needs to have good moral character for 5 years before applying for N-400. Therefore, interviewing officer will more than likely wait for the outcome of the shoplifting charge. That's why it is important to get a criminal attorney who knows an immigration law colleague.
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Before they can approve the N-400 the shoplifting charge must be taken care of. If at all possible you should try to get the case dismissed. If it is dismissed there is a good chance the N-400 will be approved although they could still deny it on discretion. If you can not get it dismissed you will probably be denied and have to wait 5 years. If you are convicted, as long as it is a misdemeanor and you have no other arrests you probably won't have to worry about getting deported for it but you should still consult an immigration attorney. So, 1- hire good criminal attorney to take care of criminal issues, then 2- consult an immigration attorney.
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