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Expert James
Expert James, Immigration Attorney
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7304
Experience:  Experienced in all aspects of immigration and nationality law.
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can you leave the country if you have a pending court case

Customer Question

can you leave the country if you have a pending court case regarding petty theft?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Expert James replied 3 years ago.
Let me clarify - have you been charged? Are you now going through the court on this matter?

Are you planning to return?

Are you asking if it will effect your immigration status?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The case is in the court. Its been going on for several months now since my lawyer wants a lesser sentence so it wont affect my immigration. Am a green card holder and will apply for citizenship next year. My lawyer said that it may affect my immigration if I get the full sentence. This is my second time to have petty theft record. I am going for vacation on july23rd to bangkok stopping in Korea on the way with my husband who doesnt know about my case and its been really difficult for me hiding this and being in therapy too. We are meeting my husband's family in bangkok as family get2gether and we will be back in the States after 2weeks. My question is if i will be allowed to go in and out of the country? Will i be stop at the immigration when leaving and coming back to America because I have a pending court case? Please email me your reply since I am running late now to my therapy schedule. Sorry cant stay online anymore but i need your reply on this matter via email. Thanks.

Expert:  Expert James replied 3 years ago.
QUESTION: My question is if i will be allowed to go in and out of the country?
ANSWER: Yes. But you should be careful not to appear to be running away from your charge. To that end, you should inform the district attorney and the court of your plans, and get written permission from them prior to leaving the US. If they respond that you should not do so, then you should not do so.

QUESTION: Will i be stop at the immigration when leaving and coming back to America because I have a pending court case?
ANSWER: Generally, if there is not conviction or no warrant for your arrest, or you are otherwise not found to be inadmissible, you should be fine. Make absolutely sure that you will not be missing any court dates during the time in which you are gone. Make sure that your attorney knows this as well, so that he can be prepared to request rescheduling of the hearing, if necessary.

I hope I have answered your questions. Please note that we Experts are here to provide you with the most honest, accurate, and truthful information that we have available, even if it is not what you want to hear.

Please remember to click the "ACCEPT" button, as this is the only way we Experts get credit for working on your questions. Rest assured that your question will not close, and you can still ask related follow-up questions.

Also consider leaving me a BONUS and some positive feedback - both are much appreciated.

Finally, if you have any future immigration questions, put "TO LONGHORN LAWYER" in the subject line or the beginning of the question, or go directly to my profile to ask your questions: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-longhornlawyer.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

When this case is resolved which i hope sooner than later with the resolution that my lawyer is hoping for, is this going to stop me from applying for citizenship? Is there a way I can get this out of my record in the future or this will always be there everytime my identity is check?

Expert:  Expert James replied 3 years ago.
QUESTION: When this case is resolved which i hope sooner than later with the resolution that my lawyer is hoping for, is this going to stop me from applying for citizenship?
ANSWER: If it is the only offense you have in your history, it will fall under the petty offense exception, it shod not effect your eligibility for citizenship eventually. Please note that it may have an effect on your good moral character. And as the law outlines, you are not eligible to apply for citizenship if you are found not to be of good moral character for 5 years prior to your citizenship application. (The USCIS can look further back than that, but the 5 years is what is statutorily written in the law).

QUESTION: Is there a way I can get this out of my record in the future or this will always be there every time my identity is check?
ANSWER: I have no idea. What I do know is that expunged records still show up on FBi background checks, even if they are not included in your state criminal offense history. The only way to be sure that a conviction is not on your record is if you are not convicted or the case is dismissed. However you will be required to report the arrest, the charge, and the disposition on your citizenship applications, even if you were not convicted or the case was dismissed.

I hope I have answered your questions. Please note that we Experts are here to provide you with the most honest, accurate, and truthful information that we have available, even if it is not what you want to hear.

Please remember to click the "ACCEPT" button, as this is the only way we Experts get credit for working on your questions. Rest assured that your question will not close, and you can still ask related follow-up questions.

Also consider leaving me a BONUS and some positive feedback - both are much appreciated.

Finally, if you have any future immigration questions, put "TO LONGHORN LAWYER" in the subject line or the beginning of the question, or go directly to my profile to ask your questions: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-longhornlawyer.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Does it mean I have to wait for another 5 yrs again to apply for citizenship as a result of these records? I think it's a conviction already if i am showing a misdemeanor record for the first petty theft that happened sometime in 2001 -- can i apply for that conviction to be dismissed since I didnt know that i had some problem and was in denial until it happened again recently and now the resolution is pending seeking for a lesser sentence as what I understand from my lawyer. Do you think that is what my lawyer is trying to get, a dismissal for my case? I hate myself and so angry why this is happening to me. I tried hurting myself few times but not successful and my therapist is the only hope i have to keep me sane while am waiting for my case to be resolved.

Expert:  Expert James replied 3 years ago.
Are you saying you have had two petty theft arrests and convictions?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Am not sure if i understand your question but Yes, 2arrests as I mentioned in my previous message. The second one is not yet over and that is what am so worried right now since am travelling for vacation soon - like i said its in the court waiting/pending for resolution or sentence since my lawyer wants to get a much lesser sentence. My lawyer doesnt want the full sentence because he thinks it will affect my citizenship. My lawyer is somehow doing some negotiation with the D.A. since am under therapy after the incident happened. You sure that I will be fine to travel outside the country even i have pending case in the court that is not yet completed right now? Your question all the more made me confused. Sounds like you are not understanding me. Please clarify. What is the full sentence for 2nd time petty theft which my lawyer is avoiding?
Expert:  Expert James replied 3 years ago.
Initially, you did not inform me that you had more than one arrest for theft. That changes things quite a bit.

Because you have two arrests for theft, and one conviction already, another conviction could make you either inadmissible or removable. In this case, I would not risk traveling abroad, while the criminal case is still pending. If while you are gone, you are convicted of the original crime for which you were arrested and charged, it could seriously affect your ability to re-enter the US upon your return, and even start removal proceedings against you.

I would not leave the US at this time - the risk is too great. If I were you, I would await a final verdict and disposition on my case so as not to put myself and my status at risk.

I hope I have answered your questions. Keep in mind that this service is intended to give you honest, accurate advice, not just to tell what you hope to hear.

Please consider clicking the "ACCEPT" button, so that I get credit for working with you today. Rest assured your question will not close, and you will continue to be able to ask questions.

Also consider leaving me a BONUS, for which also I receive only a small percentage. It is very much appreciated.

And if you have future immigration questions, just write "TO LONGHORN LAWYER" in the subject line or at the beginning of your question, or simply visit my profile at http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-longhornlawyer/

Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

the next court date is in september - there are no court dates during the dates that my vacation is scheduled. does it mean i still cannot go?

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