Skip to main content

Shoplifting; ACD; Immigration Consequences

New York, NY |

I am an international student on F-1 visa. I got arrested for shoplifting and have a court date in a few weeks. My lawyer said I can get ACD with some community service and may have to pay some fee. I have certain questions in regard with immigration consequences because of all this as I will have to get my visa renewed after some time..
1.) Is community service considered as conviction for immigration purposes?
2.) Is court fee paid only when we plead guilty? Is court fee or any other fine considered as conviction from immigration point of view?
3.) I read this statement online- 'An ACD is a restraint given as a result of an NY state rehabilitation statute. If so, then this may be a conviction'. Are there different types of ACDs?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

No to all 3 questions. There is no fine with an ACD and it won't hurt you but it could cause a problem re-entering the US during the ACD period.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


You need a consultation with an immigration attorney. It is either that or facing the consequences alone. It is impossible to give this specific advice on this blog.

NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS; email:; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.



Thank you for your reply. I had consulted an immigration lawyer. He just told me that ACD is not a conviction according to the definition of conviction. And community service is not considered as conviction by definition again but I read some cases online which say something else. The lawyer didn't know about court fee, if that is paid only when we plead guilty. I am not sure what to believe. Even after having an immigration lawyer and paying him a lot of money, I feel I am still handling this alone.


The immigration consequences of convictions depend on the exact language of the statute under which the conviction took place.

You need to retain an experienced immigration lawyer to review all the facts, including the court disposition and the charging documents, in order to 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.


While I am not sure about the state's criminal statutes, my understanding is that anything except a case dismissal or finding of innocence is a conviction for immigration purposes. Shoplifting will likely also be a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT). That said, it is a minor crime, and I believe will come under the petty crime exemption rules as long as no other CIMT exists.

In this case, I generally recommend clients get a crime memo prepared by an immigration attorney that can be used for entry to the US and for any immigration applications. I have had a very good result with the memos our office provides.

Dhenu Savla, Esq.
SwagatUSA, LLC

This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not meant to be relied upon as legal advice.