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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Default How long the record will last for 'shoplifting'?

    I was 22, It was in back to late 1990 in Southfield, Michigan,
    I did a very stupid thing. I shoplifted accessaries worth of less than $10- 20 while I was purchasing other stuffs.
    I got caughted at the counter while I was about to pay.
    A security guard was approached and I returned them from my pocket. They searched for my belongings and wallet and found my dad's Amex Gold Card together with my Driver's License and Social Security Card. They rang to Police and mentioned that I had that Gold Card.

    Police came and they handcuffed on me without saying any 'rights' -I don't know whether they should tell me such things in 1989.

    Anyway, it was late afternoon and I was at the station for sometime. My sister was really mad at me and paid $100 for 'bail' as per court's order(I was really scared and I couldn't remember where I was sent to but I remembered a kinda Judge person read the report and dang! with $100 bail money and I could come home.

    The Court(it was early evening, I don't know they work till that late??) ordered me to pay the money on the way out and asked me to appear to the Court on certain date and I remembered it would be some time after, not immediate date.

    But a few weeks after I had to go back to my home country for family matter and couldn't appeared the Court and never came back after that. I was an overseas student and had to quit my study for some reasons.
    Since I didn't appeared the Court, I felt very guilty for such incident and my stupid behavior, it was a very big burden for me even now.

    I visited US(not Michigan) in 1993 with tourist visa and I didn't have any problem to enter. I was heard that 'shoplifting' wasn't considered for further entry to US, but I still felt scared.
    After this visit, I moved to England permanently therefore I got a new passport from my home country for migration purpose passport.

    In London, I applied for new tourist visa and time to time, I had chances to visit US to see my friends and relatives.
    I've been issued 2 tourist visas under different passports/numbers due to my ciziten country's regulations.

    What I would like to find out:

    1. How long my record will last?
    2. As I didn't appeared to the Court, what happened after that?
    3. Do I have to do Expungement to clear the record?
    4. What my 'record' will affect for Police Certificate, if I migrate to
    US/Canada for background checking?

    My problems are:

    1. Can't remember whether I've been convicted by guilty, but
    clearly no sentense.
    2. It has been 15 years since I've done a very stupid/shameful
    thing in my life and I'm mentally very irratated and suffering.
    3. After return to home from the Court(I think I've got
    fingerprinted and picture taken at the Police Station), had an
    initial consultation with a lawyer but he said nothing to worry.
    just appear to the Court but it became 'runaway' whatever my
    situation was.
    From the Court's view, I didn't appeared on the date given.

    Please help me to lighten up my big burden, it's my big secret... I am so shamed that I've done that, it was the first time for me to do such a thing! Never after that!

    I'm very worrying about the Police Certificate/background checking for my immigration process.

    Thanks for reading such a long story....I do appreciate it.
    Please kindly advise what should I do... Thank you so much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Old Shoplifting Charge

    It sounds like you were arraigned and posted bond. When you took off, a bench warrant would have been issued, but the warrant would have a limited pickup radius and it may be a bit complicated to associate you with the bench warrant (depending upon your name and the ID, if any, that is described in your court file).

    If you want to resolve the case, you can look into hiring a criminal defense lawyer in the Southfield area to contact the prosecutor, indicate that you are a foreign national who had a shoplifting charge some fifteen years ago, and would be interested in a resolution along the lines of a dismissal upon payment of a fine such that everybody could close their books on the case. If you have not yet been convicted, as appears to be the case, you would want to avoid any conviction as that might affect your future immigration plans.

    In Michigan, absent expungement (five or more years after conviction by order of a court), an adult criminal record persists indefinitely. You do have a criminal record to some degree, as you were formally charged with the offense. That could come up during any immigration proceedings.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005


    Thank you very much for your advice.

    If Police have a record, how come I've been admitted to several entries to US as it relates to immigration... Does my new passport affect to this? US Embassy even issued me tourist visas, twice...

    I'm confusing, as I've granted to tourist visa, I thought this shameful record would have been just... erased automatically after certain years.
    Well, I remembered those visas were issued in 1996 and afterwards and I was using new migrant's passport, did this related?

    And what do you mean of 'absent expungment' that means, I didn't apply for expungment for my case after 5 or more years after? If I apply for expungement, the record will be clear as 'new' even no record for 'any expungement'?

    I don't know whether I've been convicted after my left, how do I find out my current situation from overseas? I don't remember any dates. If I don't resolve this, what will happen to me?
    Do you think my case is still existing in the Court as 'unsolved' or what? With my name only, is it searchable?

    Now my citizenship has been changed from the country I was born to a new country due to my marriage. But we're considering to immigrate to USA or Canada for good reasons. (I'm still using my ethnic maiden surname only but have an English first name)
    How does this affect for the police clearance?

    I'm not in a position to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Southfield and I have no connection/friends/relatives over there and I'm in overseas. What should I do?

    If I don't resolve this problem, should it really affect my future plan of immigration?

    Thank you again...

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