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Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 109313
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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I am on a L1 visa and got arrested yesterday. I was charged

Customer Question

Hi, I am on a L1 visa and got arrested yesterday for shoplifting. I was charged under PC459 - Commercial burglary, even though the value of the thing that I shoplifted was under $75. I was released after few hours on own recognizance. I was asked to appear on court on september 15th. If I lose my job before that what are my options?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello! Thank you for requesting me. I am a licensed attorney with more than 14 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help.

Why do you think you will lose your job? Because of this incident?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There is a possible layoff situation at office and I'm afraid this may be a reason as well.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This incident happened yesterday and I have not yet informed anyone at Work. Is there a possibility that I lose my job if I am accused of felony charges?
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Well, regardless of arrest, if you are terminated by your employer, you are supposed to leave the U.S. immediately. There is no grace period. Usually, no one cares if you leave within 10 days. Realistically, no one is going to come knocking on your door for many months or even years. The automatic penalty comes when you accrue 180 days or more of unlawful presence. At that point, you activate the 3 year bar that you cannot come back to the U.S. for 3 years unless you get a very hard to get waiver. It becomes 10 years if you accrue 1 year or more of unlawful presence. So, even if you lose your job today and you wait until September 15th to go to court and then you leave the U.S., you would have much less than 180 days of unlawful presence. The less time you have of unlawful presence under 180 days, the easier it will be to convince a visa officer in the future that your overstay was brief, reasonable and will not happen again.

At this point, I don't believe you are required to inform anyone at work unless you have an employment contract and that contract requires it of you. If you do not, then I would not say anything and have a criminal law attorney handle it as quietly as possible. The idea is to get a dismissal if you can and if you cannot, at least get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor and if you have to be sentence, that the sentence be for less than 6 months in jail. This way it falls into the petty offense exception and does not make you inadmissible or deportable from the U.S. Here is a link:

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions and there is no additional charge. Also, should you need to chat on the phone, private email or need help reviewing documentation, I am happy to do so for a small additional cost. Let me know if you are interested in these – I am happy to give you more details! When we are done, if you would be so kind as to leave a positive rating for my service, I would sincerely ***** ***** You can do that by clicking on the 3rd, 4th or 5th stars if you see them, or the smiley faces if you see them. If you do not see any stars or smiley faces, please at least leave a THANK YOU for me so I can let the administrators know. Your question thread does NOT close, so you can ask additional questions without additional charge even after leaving a positive rating. Thank you for your understanding.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't want to go to jail. Are there alternatives like community service / probation / fine? I am not worried about losing my job or being ineligible to enter US again. What are my options?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also my wife and daughter are out of US and will be returning in about 3 weeks. They will be returning on L2 visa. Will there be any trouble for them at the port of entry?
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

As for your spouse and child, as long as you maintain valid L-1 status, they can enter on L-2 status. If you lose your job before they enter, they wouldn't be let back in on L-2 status.

As far as going to jail, if this is your first offense, the chances are high that you can avoid jail time and do community service or something like that. Your criminal law attorney is in the best position to let you know those options because they would have reviewed your record, the police report, the evidence against you, who the judge is and who the prosecutors are. Knowing all those things is what gives your criminal law attorney what he or she needs to best assess your options and chances.

Let me know if you need anything else, but please do not forget to rate me positively. You can do that by clicking on the 3rd, 4th or 5th stars if you see them, or the smiley faces if you see them. If you do not see the stars or smiley faces, please at least leave a THANK YOU for me so I can let the administrators know. Also, we do NOT finish just because it says "Rate to Finish" or something like that. Your question does NOT close and you can continue to ask questions without additional charge on the same question thread even after you leave a positive rating. Thank you for your understanding!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am released on own recognizance with a condition that I can not leave California. My primary concern is that is there any way I can legally leave the country before/after the trail.
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Please do not ignore my requests for a positive rating. I have not ignored your questions.

You would have to ask for permission from the judge or prosecutor. If you leave without permission, a warrant for your arrest will issue so that if you ever come back, you would be arrested at the Port of Entry. If you plan never to come back, then it is no big deal. That's a minor crime and they aren't going to spend time and money to extradite you from your country back to the U.S. because that is very expensive.

Please don't forget that positive rating. I only keep mentioning it because if you can believe it, about 30% of people on this site don't leave a positive rating and since I am not given a salary to be here, it's as if I spent my time responding for free. So you can understand, that's like working 40 hours per week, 5 days a week and not being compensated for every Friday and most Thursdays. Talk about unfair! So I hope you leave that positive rating. Your question session does NOT close if you forgot to ask something. You aren't charged again if you respond on the same thread. If you don't see the stars by my name, I think all you have to do is click on my name and they will come out. Thank you for your understanding.