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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    4

    Post Will a Shoplifting Record Prevent Me from Enjoying Visa Waiver Program

    Hello,

    I am a Danish citizen. I was caught for shoplifting of US65 at a store in New York City Jan. 2011. I admitted the misconduct and signed a form at the store and paid a fine of USA325 to the store. The store issued a Trepass on me and I will not be allowed to enter the store for the next 3 years. And then the store security called the police who came and arrested me and took me back to the police station and put me in custody for several hours. I was also fingerprinted. Because I had to leave USA in a few days, the police sent my case to the court the same day I was arrested. I was told that the DA charged me with a violiation, not a crime. I plea guilty on the charge under oath. The judge dismissed the case but I had to pay the court cost of US120 which I paid at once. I was released at the court. I left US 3 days after.

    It was a stupid thing I did which I regret terribly. I have never been arrested before. I would like to travel back to US again as tourist. But I am afraid I will be denied entry.

    My questions are:

    1. Can I still travel under the Visa Waver Program if I want to visit the USA in the future? or do I have to apply for a VISA? if so, will I be denied a VISA to US?

    2. I have an ESTA approval which is still valid. Can I still use it? I have gotten a job which requires travelling to USA from time to time. Can I travel with my current ESTA approval?

    3. I wonder in the future if I have to apply for renewing ESTA approval for short stay in USA, I need to fill out a form where there is a question like this: "Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an offense or crime involving moral turpitude or a violation related to a controlled substance; or have been arrested or convicted for two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentence to confinement was five years or more; or have been a controlled substance trafficker; or are you seeking entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities?"

    Should I answer Yes or No to the above question?

    4. About the offense I commited in New York, was it an offense involving moral turpitude? Is it registered on the file? Do I have a criminal record in US?

    5. Will the Border police see I have commited such an offense in US next time I enter US? Will they deny my entry next time due to this? Each time I enter US, the border police asked me to put my fingers on a screen. I guess they will do so too next time I enter. Will eveything related me show up? including I have been arrested, charged in US?

    Thank you very much. I appreciate very much for your help in anwering all my questions. I could wish I could make it undone. If I can not enter USA or be denied entry next time, I might risk loose my job. It will be disastrous.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Will a Shoplifting Record Prevent Me from Enjoying Visa Waiver Program

    You will have to report your arrest for a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) on your I-94W; I expect it to be found to fall under the petty offense exception, given the facts as you've described them, so as to not prevent entry. If you choose to lie about it and are caught in the lie, you can expect to be permanently barred from the United States.

    As I'm sure you've figured out, stealing is a crime involving moral turpitude.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Will a Shoplifting Record Prevent Me from Enjoying Visa Waiver Program

    Thank you very much, Mr. Knowitall. You mean I should answer "yes" to question: "Have you ever been arrested, or convicted for an offense or crime involving moral turpitude"?
    I was arrested for shoplifing. Bare the charge was something like a violation. My lawyer said to me that it was not a crime I was charged. I am very confused. Can you explain. Do I still have to answer "yes" to the above question even though the charge again me was a "violation"?

    Thank you very much for your help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Will a Shoplifting Record Prevent Me from Enjoying Visa Waiver Program

    Quote Quoting Kerry08
    You mean I should answer "yes" to question: "Have you ever been arrested, or convicted for an offense or crime involving moral turpitude"?
    Yes, you have been arrested for an offense or crime involving moral turpitude.

    "It has been long acknowledged by this Court and every other circuit that has addressed the issue that crimes of theft, however they may be technically translated into domestic penal provisions, are presumed to involve moral turpitude." Chiaramonte v. INS, 626 F.2d 1093 (1980)

    My lawyer said to me that it was not a crime I was charged.
    Though technically true, it sounds to me like your lawyer is messing with you. Look back at the pertinent question: "Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an offense or crime involving moral turpitude ...". A "violation" is certainly an "offense". It seems to me that the clear answer to that question is "Yes."

    You may be able to have the arrest expunged. That may take some time. Expunging also does not hide the arrest from all inquiries. Still, I suggest looking into it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Will a Shoplifting Record Prevent Me from Enjoying Visa Waiver Program

    When I stated, "You will have to report your arrest for a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) on your I-94W" I actually meant "You will have to report your arrest for a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) on your I-94W".

    You were arrested for a crime involving moral turpitude. Resolving a criminal charge with a non-criminal plea bargain doesn't change that fact. Further, the question is "Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an offense or crime involving moral turpitude or a violation related to a controlled substance..." so, issues of arrest aside, "My guilty plea was to an offense" doesn't get you around having to give an honest answer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Will a Shoplifting Record Prevent Me from Enjoying Visa Waiver Program

    Thanks for your input, Mr. Knowitall. I have never intended to not to tell the truth about what I have done. I am here to search understand so that I can answer correctly and honestly.

    As for my case, for those whose have similiar questions like mine, I called the clerk's office at the court and asked about everything I was wondering about my case. I got all answers.

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