I am an undergraduate college student from Sri Lanka on F1 Visa which expires in 2012. I cam to the USA in January,2007.
I was caught for shoplifting at Macy's store in NYC last Friday night (11-16-07). I tried to take some items (two belts, two wallets, a watch, and two small jewelry) worth of $230. I was taken to custody when I tried to walk out the store and put handcuffs and taken to a small jail inside the store. Then I found that the people who caught me were police officers.
Then they asked me to pay a fine of $500 which I paid using my debit card. Then I was taken to a police station where they took my fingerprints. After that I was taken to central booking in Manhattan Saturday morning and kept in that jail until Sunday.
On Sunday evening, I was given a lawyer from the court. And I explained to him about me and my case. Then I went to see the judge with this lawyer. The judge released me and gave me a pink colored document. According to this document I am convicted of Penal Law 240.20 and am sentenced by the Court to a One Year Conditional Discharge to expire on 11-14-08. I must pay a mandatory surcharge and a crime victim assistance fee in the amount of $95 and perform Community Service 1 Day. Also It says "NO" under "ORDER OF PROTECTION". I have to appear in Court on 01-24-2008 to show that I have complied with these punishments.
I was given another piece of paper which I have to get signed when I complete my Community Service. and I'm going tomorrow to make an appointment for Community Service.
I am planning to go to my country on 12-22-2007 and come back on 01-22-2008. So, I have a couple of questions to get answered. They are as follows.
1/ What kind of a crime have I committed?
2/ Is it possible for me to go in this trip and come to the USA safely?
3/ Do immigration officers check for criminal records when I enter the USA?
4/ If it is possible for me to go in this trip, are there any additional documents that I need to carry with me to show to the immigration officers at the port of entry in case they ask me about my custody?
I'm really stressed out because of this stupid mistake that I have done. I'm a poor student who pays the tuition by doing part time jobs. Therefore, I cannot afford to pay for lawyers. Please help me. I beg you.