Can I receive naturalization after a shoplifting arrest? 13 Answers as of July 07, 2013

Please tell me what best to do. June 2012, I was arrested for shoplifting. I received 8 hours community service and paid a $130 fee. It was a misdemeanor and was reduced to disorderly conduct because it was my first and only arrest. I know it's only been a year but will I be denied US citizenship because of the arrest?

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Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
In a word, no. Misdemeanor shoplifting of the kind you had, will be considered a petty offense, that does not eliminate your eligibility.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/7/2013
Law Office of Adebola Asekun | Adebola O. Asekun
A disorderly conduct conviction is not a basis for denial of your N-400 naturalization application since it is neither a felony nor a crime of moral turpitude. But, a shoplifting conviction is most likely result in finding of lack of good moral character because, such conviction is almost invariably a crime of moral turpitude. The dilemma in your case is that a naturalization examiner may ask you under oath about the incident. If DHS finds from your explanation that you committed the essential elements of a crime involving moral turpitude, then, your N-400 application may still be denied.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/7/2013
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
If it was reduced to a disorderly charge, it should not affect your application for citizenship. However, I suggest that you wait at least 5 years from the date of your conviction before filing your application. You must show 5 years of good moral conduct before qualifying for citizenship and your disorderly conduct charge could disqualify you until the 5 years have passed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/3/2013
Roberts Immigration Law Office, Ltd. | Susan M. Roberts
Your question raises the issue of your good moral character. When you apply for naturalization, USCIS looks back at the preceding 5 years to determine good moral character. However, certain crimes, like murder, make one ineligible for citizenship permanently, regardless of when the crime was committed. According to USCIS' Guide to Naturalization (hereinafter the "Guide"), "You cannot establish that you are a person of good moral character if you have been convicted of murder, at any time, or of any other aggravated felony, if you were convicted on or after November 29, 1990." While your shoplifting conviction does not make you permanently ineligible for citizenship, some lawyers might recommend waiting until the conviction is more than five years old before you file your application for citizenship.? If you do file, the Guide provides the following gudance: "If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime, you must send a certified copy of the arrest report, court disposition, sentencing, and any other relevant documents, including any countervailing evidence concerning the circumstances of your arrest and/or conviction that you would like USCIS to consider." The Guide provides the following examples of things that show a may show a lack of good moral character: Any crime against a person with intent to harm. Any crime against property or the Government that involves fraud or evil intent more.Two or more crimes for which the aggregate sentence was 5 years or or any foreign country.Violating any controlled substance law of the United States, any State, Habitual drunkenness. Illegal gambling. Prostitution. Polygamy (marriage to more than one person at the same time). Lying to gain immigration benefits. Failing to pay court-ordered child support or alimony payments. confinement was 180 days or more during the past 5 years (or 3 years if you are applying based on your marriage to a United States citizen).Confinement in jail, prison, or similar institution for which the total you apply for naturalization.Failing to complete any probation, parole, or suspended sentence before? Terrorist acts.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 7/3/2013
Chavarro & Gorinshteyn, LLC
Chavarro & Gorinshteyn, LLC | Olesia Gorinshteyn
The adjudicating officer may take a position that this conviction affects your good moral character within the statutory period of 5 years.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 7/3/2013
    Vladimir Parizher
    Vladimir Parizher | Vladimir Parizher
    I believe your situation warrants talking to an immigration attorney who might help you to deal with your criminal offenses.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Law Office of Christine Troy
    Law Office of Christine Troy | Christine Troy
    You need to get a copy of the court disposition, listing your charge, plea and result. Then make an appt with a competent immigration attorney who specializes in criminal issues. You will need to disclose this issue on your application and need to find out now if it will be an issue for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal | Alexander Segal
    An arrest is not an outright bar to naturalization, but it does impact a finding of good moral character. You would be best advised to have an experienced immigration attorney review the criminal record before filing.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Law Office of Bill Travis Klein
    Law Office of Bill Travis Klein | Bill T. Klein
    Your arrest and conviction will definitely be an issue that may prevent your naturalization application from being approved. You should consult with an Immigration Attorney who can walk you through the process and help you decide if you want to apply and when to apply as well as help you prepare the necessary legal paperwork.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Law Office of Eric Fisher | Eric Fisher
    You should wait five years before applying for naturalization.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC | Pho Ethan Tran
    If this is your only arrest, you are still eligible for naturalization. However, you should wait at least 5 years after the conviction or after the end of your probation, whichever is later, before you apply for naturalization again, because you are required to have good moral character for at least 5 years immediately prior to the filing of your application.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Preston & Brar, LLC | Jesse Brar
    When you apply for naturalization, you have to show "good moral character" as part of the eligibility for naturalization. Shoplifting charge would be a "crime of moral turpitude" under immigration law. However, it seems your conviction is for disorderly conduct, so it might be possible for your to show good moral character with that conviction. Depending on what the court did, that is, if the court on the record said, the charge was being reduced from shoplifting to disorderly conduct because it was your first offense, you may have a problem. But, if the court just found you guilty of or if you pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct, then are convicted of disorderly conduct, which is not a "crime of moral turpitude" and should not bar you from naturalization. Also, remember, that an admission by you during the interview that you shoplifted would probably bar you. In this sort of case, my advice is to consult with an attorney before you apply for naturalization.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Immigration Law Offices, LLP
    Immigration Law Offices, LLP | Fakhrudeen Hussain
    You will have to wait for 5 years from the date of your conviction to apply for citizenship. If you are married to a US citizen you will have to wait three years from the date of your conviction to apply for citizenship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/3/2013
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