Very simply, a civil compromise of misdemeanor dismisses the case upon presentation of a signed motion and order to the judge. There are no probationary conditions and the case is dismissed at that point with payment of costs. With a pretrial diversion, you are certainly in limbo so to speak because the case would not be dismissed until conditions are complied with. If you must plead guilty and the conviction would be vacated after you comply with conditions, that conviction will show on your record. If it is a conviction for a crime of moral terpitude such as Theft, there are almost certainly immigration consequences. I am not your attorney so I cannot advise you what to do, but hopefully the above explanation helps you to make an educated choice.
You have to be very careful about this, read all paperwork, and consult a lawyer. If in the compromise of misdemeanor paperwork, you are admitting to the facts underlying the theft, you may still be subject to immigration consequences.
INA 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(l) - the relevant statute - provides that an alien may be inadmissable if the alien has been convicted of, or admits having committed, or admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of a crime involving moral turpitude (other than a purely political offense or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime) - which includes theft.
So you don't want to take any resolution wherein you even admit having committed the acts underlying the crime, and sometimes compromise of misdemeanor paperwork includes that language, as does the diversion route. Consult an attorney, but probably your best bet will be to execute a carefully worded compromise of misdemeanor.
This answer is not legal advice and is for general informational and/or educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed between you and Sean B. Malcolm, an attorney licensed in Washington. For more information, see the Avvo.com terms and conditions of use, which are incorporated by reference herein.