My Parents and I are travelling to New York for the holidays from the Caribbean. Last summer while visiting the country I was arrested in Manhattan while attempting to leave a store with unpaid for goods with friends. I was charge with shop lifting, however my charges were reduced to disorderly conduct because my Lawyer suggested that it was the best option for immigration purposes. My case is sealed and I have received all documents from the court to present to immigration if needed. My question is: Should I Disclose My Arrest On The I94 Form for The question that asks if you've ever been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or abuse of substances. If I am ask about the events of my arrest should I tell them exactly what happened? Will i be denied entry if I admit to it?
You answer the question they ask honestly. When they ask if you have been arrested you say yes. If they ask whether you have been convicted of a CIMT you would have said yes if you had been convicted of shoplifiting, but you got "disorderly conduct" which isn't. Send a thank you letter to your lawyer. If they ask you questions, you never lie, but you don't overshare. Have a conversation in confidence with a lawyer if you want to discuss the details of how you present the incident without misrepresenting.
As my colleague said, if the question is asking whether you've been "CONVICTED" of a crime involving moral turpitude or abuse of substances, then you can honestly answer that question "NO" based only on the facts you provided. However, if that question is asking if you were "ARRESTED," then to answer that question honestly, you must answer "YES." As my colleague said, you want to be honest, but not overshare information, which can be challenging when filling out a form or answering questions from an ICE agent. I might suggest you write out your answers to the I-94 in draft form first, review them, think about whether they need editing, make the edits, etc. before you do a final draft. You also may want to consult an Immigration attorney.
Cases are NEVER SEALED when it comes to immigration.
ALWAYS tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Thus, from the facts you describe, it is possible you've been convicted of a CIMT ... I would need to see that actual conviction record before I could answer for sure.
PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.
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