What can shoplifting do to my immigration status?
If you recently arrived to the United States from another country and a here on a visa then you should always keep in mind your status if you are being charged with a crime, especially one that is considered a crime of moral turpitude or CMT. It’s often difficult for someone in the country on a student or employee visa to build a life in America.
Many individuals in America on a Visa may not have a lot of cash in their pockets or are struggling to earn a living. It may seem like a quick answer to maybe slip something into your pocket or purse when an opportunity to steal something presents itself but it can have very drastic consequences.
It might not seem like a big deal to shoplift or steal a little bit, but shoplifting can be a serious offense with profound consequences, including deportation and removal. The temptation is real and many immigrants and citizens alike have been charged with shoplifting.
What is shoplifting?
Shoplifting is not only taking something from a store without paying for it. It involves actions that allow for others to shoplift, like acting as a lookout, as well as other similar frauds, like changing or manipulating price tags or pretending to return an item you never originally bought. The consequences can be steep, and often including jail time or fines.
As security technology improves, more and more shoplifters are being caught and charged. Even if you make it out of the store with merchandise, a camera in the parking lot might catch your license plate and lead to your arrest days later.
What can happen to me if I shoplift?
In many places shoplifting counts as a crime of moral turpitude. Which is a fancy way of saying that the crime violates the standards of morality expected of people in a community or society. Because you are taking something that does not belong to you, the court and the law sees the act of shoplifting as a morally offensive act, and classifies it as such. This can hurt you when applying to jobs or other things, like travel or applications for a visa to the United States.
If you are currently living in the United States as an immigrant, there are other consequences to consider.
Can I be deported for shoplifting?
Depending on the circumstances, yes! There are many factors that can influence this, which means you should consult a lawyer familiar with criminal and immigration law. Some of those factors including whether or not you committed the crime five years after your admission to the United States. Because of all the variables involved it is important to contact someone familiar with the legal system and capable of arguing on your behalf. A good lawyer may be able to help you avoid the worst outcomes.
As mentioned earlier, a crime of moral turpitude can also make you ineligible to be admitted into the United States, whether applying for a Visa or seeking a change of status to a Permanent resident.
Contact a Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with shoplifting and are an immigrant, it is vital that you get in contact with a qualified legal professional today. The attorneys at the Rosenblum Law Firm have experience with criminal law and its implications with your immigration status. The Rosenblum Law Firm can help you navigate the confusing legal process and provide you assistance.