Multiple Convictions

Old Nov 21st 2009, 12:11 pm
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Default Multiple Convictions

Hi,

My employer has recently submitted an L1 VISA application and waiting to here back from USCIS. Next step will be my interview and starting to panic about my previous convictions.

I was convicted of shoplifting when I was 16 (20 years ago) and more recently (8 years ago) I was involved in minor traffic incident. Bad news is that I panicked and gave a false name. I phoned the police station later and owned up to my mistake but this did not save me from an "attempt to defeat the ends of justice" charge. I have tried unsuccessfully to get more information on this (i.e. proof that I phoned the police station to correct my mistake). On both occassions I was charged on summary conviction (i.e. maximum sentence 6 months) and was issued a small fine.

I have visited US several times in the past on visa waiver program and answered no to the "crimes of moral turpitude" question. I believed that my brush with the law did not rise to the level of moral turpitude but having now spent some time looking into the definition I am no longer sure.

As it turns out shoplifting is listed as a crime of moral turpitude, however, juvenille delinquency is not. The definition of juvenille delinquency is a crime committed under the age of 18 years so does this mean that the shoplifting does not count as CIMT?

The definitions get more confusing when there are multiple convictions so not sure if my subsequent charge brings the shoplifting back into play?

Also not sure where the "attempt to defeat the ends of justice" sits. Hoping this would be seen as "false representation not amounting to perjury or fraud" (I.e. not a CIMT). I have seen conflicting views on this and even a statement that false representation to a police officer is not a CIMT. Does anyone know either way?

I guess the other problem I will face is having answered no to the question when I am now unsure. Now that I have looked into the whole thing I understand I should have applied for a visa for ANY offence. Are they likely to throw the book at me for this?

Lastly, I read somewhere that having multiple convictions could stop me from applying for a full immigration visa so if I wanted to make the move permanent I would be screwed?

Any advice would be appreciated. Realise that there is nothing I can do as it will all come out at the embassy but would be good to have an idea of what to expect.
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Old Nov 21st 2009, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Originally Posted by DonnyM View Post
The definition of juvenille delinquency is a crime committed under the age of 18 years so does this mean that the shoplifting does not count as CIMT?
I believe that crimes commited while under age 18 are not an issue for immigration purposes. Further, since it's been more than 15 years since the incident, I think you're pretty much okay with this charge.


The definitions get more confusing when there are multiple convictions so not sure if my subsequent charge brings the shoplifting back into play?
I'm not sure. A single incident could be covered under the "petty offense" exception... but that doesn't hold true for 2 convictions. However, if they don't consider the first charge, you may be okay with the second... but I wouldn't bet the bank on it.


Does anyone know either way?
No one knows... not immigration lawyers and not immigration judges, and because the language is so vague... it's pretty much a toss up as to how these things will go.


I guess the other problem I will face is having answered no to the question when I am now unsure.
If either offense was a CIMT then, as you surmise, answering "no" on the I-94W question compounds your problem.


Are they likely to throw the book at me for this?
No. I believe the worst that could happen is that you must apply for a visa (which you're company is doing right now for the L-1). If the visa is denied - which is a possibility - you would then need to apply for either a "waiver of inadmissibility" or a "waiver of ineligibility". Either way, you're not going to end up in jail.


Lastly, I read somewhere that having multiple convictions could stop me from applying for a full immigration visa so if I wanted to make the move permanent I would be screwed?
It could, yes - but that's why waivers exist. The L-1 is not an immigration visa so don't worry about it at this point in time. Further, if you are allowed to enter the US on an L-1 visa, it's possible that your company could start the "green card" process - and that won't involve an actual immigration visa (since it's all done from within the US).


Any advice would be appreciated.
I suggest you consult an experienced immigration attorney separate from the attorney your company is using. The company's lawyer protects the company... not you - and you need someone to look out for your best interests. Good luck.

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Old Nov 21st 2009, 2:37 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

I don't know of any regulation where the passing of 15 years would eliminate the need for a waiver if someone were actually inadmissible due to CIMTs. It may make the waiver process faster and easier though.

That doesn't mean that I think the OP needs a waiver.

Last edited by crg; Nov 21st 2009 at 2:40 pm.
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Old Nov 21st 2009, 4:04 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Originally Posted by crg View Post
It may make the waiver process faster and easier though.
Yes, this is what I was getting it - in my usual clumsy way!

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Old Nov 21st 2009, 6:14 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Originally Posted by DonnyM View Post
Any advice would be appreciated. Realise that there is nothing I can do as it will all come out at the embassy but would be good to have an idea of what to expect.
Whoa, no. You prepare NOW so that you inform the visa officer in advance, and you have a plan for dealing with it.
If you don't want to work through your employer's lawyers, get one of your own. Get over the the London Embassy website and read their guidance on convictions for non-immigrant visas for some context and background.

There is PLENTY you can do. And should.
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Old Nov 22nd 2009, 12:59 am
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
There is PLENTY you can do. And should.
Speaking as someone who needed to wrestle with past criminal convictions to get into the US, I can attest that Meauxna is absolutely correct here: if you go to the interview and don't have all the information you need, you are wasting time.

Shoplifiting is definitely a CIMT: I have two convictions, and needed a waiver. As far as "attempting to blah, blah, blah..." was that attempting to "pervert the course of justice"? I can see how that could be a CIMT as well, but I'm not sure.

You need to:

a) Get certified copies of the MoCs for your convictions. You get these from the court where you were convicted, or the local administrative centre, if the records have been moved (e.g. I had 1978 convictions in Dartford and Chatham, and between then and now the records have been moved to Maidstone). Look here for court addresses. You will be able to order the MoCs by telephone, and pay by credit card.

b) Get your story straight about what you are going tell the consular officer about why you had not told the truth previously about your records. You may very well not have intended to lie, but you need to convince the interviewer of that. I was in a somewhat similar situation in the past: a previous employer obtained a B1-B2 visa for me in 1986, and all I did was sign the application. They filled in all the details, and stated that I had no convictions. In 1989 another employer applied for an H-1B but I filled in the personal details, and noted my convictions. My B1-B2 was cancelled without prejudice, and I did obtain the H-1B, but I required a 212(d) waiver because of my convictions. The process was pretty quick and easy back then: I did not apply separately for the waiver: it was implicit in my H-1B application, and was approved as part of the visa application process. I also got a second H-1B visa in 2002: it took quite a bit longer to be approved (six months in 2002 vs three weeks in 1989) but the process was the same. But whatever you do now, you MUST tell the truth. If you continue to lie (which is would definitely be now), you are potentially jeopardizing any future attempt to visit the US ever again.

Regarding immigration with multiple convictions: it's possible. I have two convictions for CIMTs committed as an adult, and I became a naturalized USC last year.

Good luck.
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Old Nov 22nd 2009, 11:41 am
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Thank you all for the advice.

I have no intention of trying to conceal this and already have my ACPO. I need to make an appointment with the Visa Coordination Officer when I get the go ahead for the interview as additional processing time will be required due to my convictions.

After a lot of research I also found that I would likely need a memorandum of conviction from the court. I went to the court and asked for this but nobody knew anything about it and they sent me to the procurator fiscal office. They also knew nothing about it. Went back to the court after double checking online and they are adamant they have never heard of it. Eventually they said the only thing they had was an extract of conviction. Is this the same thing?

I got the extract of conviction (it cost me £10) but it does not say anything more than my ACPO. I.e. just the date, offence, and decision. Also the court said they do not have a record of my shoplifting offence as it was so long ago (they have stated this in the letter).

I would like to have everything I need for the interview and I am worried that the extract of conviction is not the same as a memorandum of conviction because there is so little information on it. Would they be expecting to see some sort of court transcript? The thing I have just looks like my ACPO in a letter.

I guess "attempting to defeat.." is the same as "perverting the course of justice". Not sure if it is a cut down version or just worded differently.
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Old Nov 22nd 2009, 4:45 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Originally Posted by DonnyM View Post
After a lot of research I also found that I would likely need a memorandum of conviction from the court. I went to the court and asked for this but nobody knew anything about it and they sent me to the procurator fiscal office. They also knew nothing about it. Went back to the court after double checking online and they are adamant they have never heard of it. Eventually they said the only thing they had was an extract of conviction. Is this the same thing?

I got the extract of conviction (it cost me £10) but it does not say anything more than my ACPO. I.e. just the date, offence, and decision. Also the court said they do not have a record of my shoplifting offence as it was so long ago (they have stated this in the letter).
Sounds the same as an MoC to me, but I've never heard it called that before.

I would like to have everything I need for the interview and I am worried that the extract of conviction is not the same as a memorandum of conviction because there is so little information on it. Would they be expecting to see some sort of court transcript? The thing I have just looks like my ACPO in a letter.
What you need for the visa is a court-certified document that has your name, date of offence, offence and section of law broken, and decision, so it looks as though your document will work.

If they have no record of the shoplifting, it might have been deleted since it was a juvenile offence. A letter from the court stating that there is no record should be OK. It worked for my citizenship application when I couldn't get arrest records because they had been deleted.

Sounds to me like you have all you need...
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Old Nov 22nd 2009, 6:54 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

nettlebed has given you excellent advice

The only thing I would add is - make sure you get a few copies of the extract (certified not just photocopies) otherwise you will find yourself having to do this all again if you have any future dealings with USCIS

@ nettlebed - couldn't karma you again - need to spread - so here it is anyway!

Last edited by Songbird; Nov 22nd 2009 at 6:57 pm.
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Old Nov 22nd 2009, 8:18 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Originally Posted by DonnyM View Post
Hi,

My employer has recently submitted an L1 VISA application and waiting to here back from USCIS. Next step will be my interview and starting to panic about my previous convictions.

I was convicted of shoplifting when I was 16 (20 years ago) and more recently (8 years ago) I was involved in minor traffic incident. Bad news is that I panicked and gave a false name. I phoned the police station later and owned up to my mistake but this did not save me from an "attempt to defeat the ends of justice" charge. I have tried unsuccessfully to get more information on this (i.e. proof that I phoned the police station to correct my mistake). On both occassions I was charged on summary conviction (i.e. maximum sentence 6 months) and was issued a small fine.

I have visited US several times in the past on visa waiver program and answered no to the "crimes of moral turpitude" question. I believed that my brush with the law did not rise to the level of moral turpitude but having now spent some time looking into the definition I am no longer sure.

As it turns out shoplifting is listed as a crime of moral turpitude, however, juvenille delinquency is not. The definition of juvenille delinquency is a crime committed under the age of 18 years so does this mean that the shoplifting does not count as CIMT?

The definitions get more confusing when there are multiple convictions so not sure if my subsequent charge brings the shoplifting back into play?

Also not sure where the "attempt to defeat the ends of justice" sits. Hoping this would be seen as "false representation not amounting to perjury or fraud" (I.e. not a CIMT). I have seen conflicting views on this and even a statement that false representation to a police officer is not a CIMT. Does anyone know either way?

I guess the other problem I will face is having answered no to the question when I am now unsure. Now that I have looked into the whole thing I understand I should have applied for a visa for ANY offence. Are they likely to throw the book at me for this?

Lastly, I read somewhere that having multiple convictions could stop me from applying for a full immigration visa so if I wanted to make the move permanent I would be screwed?

Any advice would be appreciated. Realise that there is nothing I can do as it will all come out at the embassy but would be good to have an idea of what to expect.
Hi:

Take a look at the waiver thread posted at the top. J also posted a CIMT thread.

I will admit to being amused at the courage of the posters here in talking about a complicated, sometimes fuzzy area of the law which usually drives the lawyers into scratching their heads and hesitation to give advice is interesting.

I recall a case I have in 1978-9 where my client had admitted to a prostitution conviction in British Columbia. When I got the actual conviction record and the statute -- the conviction was for "vagrancy, unable to give an account when questioned by law enforcement." It turns out that working girls would be picked up for common vagrancy! Client had told me that she had a prostitution conviction [her words]. No if the cop had not been in uniform and had invited the question of "do you want to party? We can have a good time for $25.00" -- it would have been a different issue.

Bottom line -- need all that paperwork to figure out things -- and it may be different than you think. That client of mine had been arrested as a street walker, but it technically was not for prostitution or related offense.
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Old Nov 22nd 2009, 8:27 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Originally Posted by Songbird View Post
nettlebed has given you excellent advice

The only thing I would add is - make sure you get a few copies of the extract (certified not just photocopies) otherwise you will find yourself having to do this all again if you have any future dealings with USCIS
Yes, forgot to add that: I ended up getting three copies on the last occasion, but that was for natz, so I'm not certain I'll ever need them again, but I don't want to go through the palaver of getting more copies ever, so...

Being 50 next year, and currently planning to live either in the US or EU until I croak, I think it unlikely I'll need any more.

@ nettlebed - couldn't karma you again - need to spread - so here it is anyway!
Awww, that's sweet: it's the thought that counts, anyway
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Old Nov 23rd 2009, 9:28 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Thanks again for the advice. I will let you all know how I get on when the time comes. Fingers crossed the worst case will be a waiver and not a US ban

Looking into the waiver eligibility and not sure about the line "Two or more convictions for which the aggregate sentences of confinement are five years or more". I have read that this relates to the maximum possible sentence for the crime not the actual sentence. Does anyone know if this is the case?

In Scotland the maximum possible sentence for attempting to defeat the ends of justice is life imprisonment However, both convictions were summary convictions and maximum sentence the court can issue for a summary conviction is 6 months. Would immigration see the maximum as 6 months or life?
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Old Jan 20th 2010, 8:57 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Just an update. My L1-A application was approved by USCIS and I have contacted the embassy for an interview. As I have convictions I need to schedule an appointment with the visa coordination officer.

Seems that they have changed the process, or at least I have not seen this mentioned anywhere. I need to e-mail my ACPO and a completed VCU-1 form to the embassy for screening. The non-immigrant visa unit will then decide what type of appointment I need.

I was told during the call that not everyone needs to see the visa coordination officer so I guess that either means that "there is no point in you turning up as you have no chance" or "we may decide it is not serious enough and just give you a regular appointment".

The embassy will respond within 5 working days of receiving the documents.

I think this is a good thing because you know that if you get as far as the embassy you will at least be considered instead of travelling to a lost cause. Will find out soon enough!
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Old Jan 20th 2010, 9:05 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Originally Posted by DonnyM View Post
Just an update. My L1-A application was approved by USCIS and I have contacted the embassy for an interview. As I have convictions I need to schedule an appointment with the visa coordination officer.

Seems that they have changed the process, or at least I have not seen this mentioned anywhere. I need to e-mail my ACPO and a completed VCU-1 form to the embassy for screening. The non-immigrant visa unit will then decide what type of appointment I need.

I was told during the call that not everyone needs to see the visa coordination officer so I guess that either means that "there is no point in you turning up as you have no chance" or "we may decide it is not serious enough and just give you a regular appointment".

The embassy will respond within 5 working days of receiving the documents.

I think this is a good thing because you know that if you get as far as the embassy you will at least be considered instead of travelling to a lost cause. Will find out soon enough!
Well, good luck! Although one can never make predictions, from your description of your case, it sounds to me as though you have a good chance of getting a waiver...
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Old Feb 8th 2010, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: Multiple Convictions

Great news My L1A was approved!!!

After some serious and many sleepless nights over the interview it proved to be nowhere near as bad as I feared. No need for a waiver but the guy did say I was very lucky the shoplifting was when I was 16 or I would have been screwed

Hoping to be off within the month but lots to sort out. Any good threads on banking and credit rating? Need an account in the US for my wages but will also need to transfer money to UK account to cover existing direct debits.

Thank you all for your comments
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