Can I still apply for citizenship after being arrested if the arrest is no longer on my record? 10 Answers as of September 09, 2011

I have a question. I am a permanent resident Last year I was arrested in a store, they opened my bag and found a wallet, I was arrested and completed one day community service. After six months they deleted it from my record. My question is: can I still apply for a US Citizenship?

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Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
Dear Friend, Yes, you can still apply. The act of shoplifting theft, is a misdemeanor, and is considered a petty offense. If you did not commit the offense in the first five years, you can apply. If not, wait until five further years pass by. For more help, feel free to call or e-mail back to me to set up an appointment.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/9/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Reza Athari
I do not have sufficient information to answer that. I will need to see the "court minutes" to determine if that was a conviction for immigration purposes. Or if it falls under petty offense exception.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 7/19/2011
Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
It depends how your case was resolved. If there was an admission of guilt you are certainly not going to obtain citizenship. If the charges were dismissed without an admission of guilt you may be able to obtain citizenship. Consult with a lawyer to provide details.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 7/19/2011
Idiart Law Group
Idiart Law Group | Justin Idiart
The answer does not hinge on whether the arrest is still "on" your record, but, rather, whether it is an offense that would prevent you from establishing good moral character for the requisite period. That an arrest is taken off your record does not render it harmless. The impact of the offense depends on the conviction and final disposition. The instructions to Part 10.D. Good Moral Character on the N-400 states: For the purposes of this application, you must answer "yes" to the following questions, if applicable, even if your records were sealed or otherwise cleared or if anyone, including a judge, law enforcement officer, or attorney told you that you no longer have a record. It is clear that you would have to indicate the incident and provide proper documentation of it. Generally speaking, an applicant will be found to lack the Good Moral Character (GMC) necessary for the granting of naturalization if he/she has been convicted of, or, admits committing one or more crime(s) involving moral turpitude (CIMT) and be ineligible for naturalization. Section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, however, creates a limited exception commonly known as "the petty offense exception." To fall under the protection of this exception the maximum possible penalty cannot exceed imprisonment more than one year and the actual term of imprisonment is no more than 6 months. In the State of Oregon petty theft, or "shoplifting", is the taking of property valued at less than $500 and is punishable for a maximum of up to one year. Petty theft is considered a CIMT. It is possible that you would qualify for this exception and not be precluded from establishing the necessary GMC. It is essential to note that this exception is available only where there is one CIMT and the crime is a petty offense. You should seek the assistance of an immigration attorney to review the incident to see that it does qualify for the petty offense exception and to evaluate your ability to proceed with the filing of an N-400. We would be happy to help you.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/19/2011
Pauly P.A.
Pauly P.A. | Clemens W. Pauly
You need to consult with an attorney. Even though your record has been expunged, you will still need to disclose your arrest and conviction to immigration and you will need certified copies of your arrest records as well as the disposition. Depending on the circumstances of your case and your overall eligibility for naturalization, you may still qualify if your only conviction was for petty larceny and your sentence was for less than 6 months. Let an attorney look at your documents and advise you before you file.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/19/2011
    Fong & Associates
    Fong & Associates | William D. Fong
    It will depend on the exact charge, but it sounds like it was a misdemeanor. If so, then you should be fine for citizenship, but you may need to wait for 5 years from the date of the completion of your community service to meet the period of time for "good moral character". Get a copy of the charging document, the court order and the disposition and have an immigration attorney review it.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Kevin Bluitt, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Bluitt, Attorney at Law | Kevin Bluitt
    To be naturalized you must show good moral character. It sounds as if you have a conviction. In Florida a Withhold of Adjudication = a conviction in the immigration world. Since this is a recent theft crime, you will have a good moral character issue to deal with in achieving naturalization. This needs to be carefully explored and analyzed.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Law Office of Christine Troy
    Law Office of Christine Troy | Christine Troy
    You need to have your case analyzed. Even when expunged, you need to disclose what occurred. Theft is normally a crime of moral turpitude so this may cause an issue in your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    World Esquire Law Firm
    World Esquire Law Firm | Aime Katambwe
    Yes you can if this is the only thing that you have ever been convicted of, especially in the past 5 years. The first question to be answered when filing for citizenship is: Do I know the contents of my criminal RAP sheet or record? If the answer is NO, then get it and determine if you qualify to file for citizenship or not. The 5 pre-requisite years may not mean anything if your criminal background contents will earn you a Notice to Appear before an Immigration Judge. Now, if this is the only thing criminal you have ever done, then I think it will be taken care of by the petty offense exception, which will clear the way to your citizenship. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Law Office of Immigration & International Trade Law
    Law Office of Immigration & International Trade Law | Linda Liang
    I don't know why they deleted your record. You may apply for citizenship but you have to be honest, i.e, when asked whether you were arrested, your answer has to be yes.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/18/2011
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