You really need to consult with an immigration attorney experienced with criminal matters in California.
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the trespass is likely better than any theft charge, but check with an immigration attorney.
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You need to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney. It is difficult to assess the immigration impact of a conviction without reviewing the criminal record and the underlying statutes involved.
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I agree with my colleagues. You need to consult a California immigration attorney who is familiar with criminal law as it is the language in the statute which will best determine which charge you should accept.
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trespass; but talking to an experienced immigration attorney in person would be even better.
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Is a P. C. section 1377 possible in this matter? For State licensing purposes, a P.C. § 1377 would be way better than either of the alternatives you are considering.
State licensing authorities will always scrutinize the underlying facts and circumstances of any conviction -- not just the charge of conviction or plea. Theft offenses are always a significant problem for licensing, particularly in personal services or health care fields with dependent or impaired clients. The best solution for you is one that does not result in a criminal conviction. Infractions, like misdemeanors, are crimes in California. See CA Penal Code section 16.
If you are not finger-printed, the conviction may not be reported in the CA Dept of Justice record. But that presents its own dilemma. When you apply for State license you will be required to disclose all convictions including non-traffic infractions. If you fail to disclose, and your conviction is discovered, you will be denied State license on dishonesty grounds --- a very bad and long lasting result. It can be very risky to fail to disclose in reliance on the D of J (Live Scan) record. Increasingly, these improper denials come to light and State licensing agency reaction is harsh and unyielding. "I didn't know" gets you nowhere.
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You should consult with an immigration attorney, however, you have to be careful for offenses that are either considered crimes of moral turpitude and/or considered aggravated felonies. FYI - a crime constituting an "aggravated felony" doesn't have to be a felony, a misdemeanor COULD be considered an AF. In any event, I would bet that the infraction would better suit you as you won't be placed on probation and you wouldn't have a misdemeanor on your record.
I would talk your criminal defense attorney and see if he/she can get the charge reduced to a 415(1) infraction which is "disturbing the peace" and will not impact immigration. There are ways that your attorney may be able to work out an informal diversion program or civil compromise to reach this result.
Remember that for licensing, they will look at original charge and police report. Infraction is best and if it's one for disturbing the peace/trespass -- that is better than theft. It also depends on how the case was resolved. Are you to plead to the misdemeanor and have it reduced to an infraction later? Best if you can get all the requirements and get a straight infraction plea. Petty theft infraction is not a criminal offense and there is no probation. Some licensing applications ask for infractions. Infractions are preferable in my opinion than misdemeanors because they do not show up on a DOJ record (and thus petty theft infraction is better than misdemeanor trespass conviction). But immigration attorney is a necessity here to be sure.
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