It's always the same thing. An uncle or cousin or something like that. That just gets you into trouble. And you have no idea how many times I have heard the same thing. "It was just on this one day. I almost never do that..." So imagine that if I hear this often, how often are ICE agents that deal with this almost on a daily basis hear the same story? They just aren't going to buy it. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that you were working. I don't think you will be able to prove that you weren't. So you have two choices:
1) Hire a VERY good criminal law attorney to get this case won, dismissed, etc. This will help you to prove your story, that you were just helping out on that one day and that you were not getting paid or compensated in any way.
2) Handle the criminal case as quietly as you can and hope that ICE does not take an interest. Do not travel, do not apply to extend or change your status. You should be able to graduate and have no issues. However, if you apply for OPT and then later on an H-1B, you may have an issue because if they run a background check, they should find that problem and having worked without authorization could cause you to be denied. If you don't care about that and will just graduate and leave the U.S., then no problem, or if you end up marrying a U.S. Citizen or something like that (for love, no for the papers), then the minor crime would not matter either.
There is one other option. You could talk to the Designated School Officer (DSO) and explain the situation and then have ICE determine that you fell out of status during that time and that it was less than 5 months and you would have to prove that the reason you fell out of status was beyond your control. Then you could get reinstated and wipe the slate clean.
I am truly sorry, but you have to be more careful. Please let me know if you have additional questions and please do not forget to rate my service to you (not the state of the law) as that is the only way that I can get credit for my assistance to you.
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