Petit Larceny and Immigration

By: Don Murray, Criminal Defense Lawyer with Shalley and Murray

If you are not a citizen and you are accused of petit larceny in New York, you need to pay particularly careful attention to the manner in which you deal with your case.  I am a criminal defense lawyer, and not a practicing immigration lawyer, but as a criminal defense lawyer, I am required to be sufficiently familiar with potential immigration issues to permit me to identify situations that might be of concern and worth pursuing with an immigration lawyer.

As a crime involving theft, one concern is that petit larceny is a crime involving moral turpitude or CIMT.  I would be concerned for a non-citizen client that a finding of guilt for petit larceny would constitute a CIMT and could therefore put a non-citizen in jeopardy of being placed in removal proceedings, rendered inadmissible to the United States, or denied citizenship.  Whether, in an individual case, a conviction for petit larceny would result in any or all of those consequences would require a detailed analysis of the individual's case, preferably by a practicing immigration lawyer.

Keeping in mind that of course trial is always an option for a person who isn't guilty and who wants his or her day in court, there are some tricky issues involving settlement of petit larceny cases for those who are not citizens.

Typically, for example, the ACD is considered the most favorable settlement of a petit larceny accusation in New York City.  For non-citizens, especially non-citizens in the middle of the application processes, acceptance of the ACD could cause further delay and difficulty.  There is a risk that the ACD will be perceived by the Federal Government as an "open" misdemeanor until it is actually dismissed six months later.  Therefore, application processes may be delayed for at least those six months.

Oddly, the solution to this issue, is sometimes to seek out the worse settlement of a disorderly conduct even when the Government and the Court were otherwise willing to offer an ACD.  I have been advised on numerous occasions by immigration lawyers handling my clients' immigration cases to seek out a disorderly conduct rather than the ACD.  The advantage of the disorderly conduct, according to these immigration lawyers, is that it is finished and not considered open.  The disorderly conduct, in these specific cases according to the immigration lawyers, would not be a problem.

Immigration law is extremely intricate and complex and sometimes just plain strange.  Therefore, it is extremely important to review issues such as the difference between a disorderly conduct and ACD with an immigration lawyer who is familiar with the whole immigration picture.  Likewise it is also important that you deal with a criminal defense lawyer who is familiar enough with the issues to know when to seek the advice of an immigration lawyer.



Hi.  This is Don Murray, partner at Shalley and Murray.  If after reading the articles that interest you here, you would like to speak to me, please call the above number.  We can talk over the telephone, set up a free in person consultation, or even set up video conference over Skype, FaceTime, or our own internal video conference software.