Old shoplifting conviction and getting a visa

55 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi,

 

I've come to Germany to be with my partner of almost 1 year. I'm now filling out the paperwork for the residence/freelancer visa, and I've come to the question about criminal history. When I was about 18 (and maybe I had just turned 19, I can't remember) I shoplifted something from a store (in the US) and got caught. I know there are no excuses, and of course I regret what I did, but I was estranged from my family at the time, and I was very very depressed. Suicidal thoughts, the whole bit. So, I think I stole a bottle of wine, or something like that--probably because we can't buy it in the states until we're 21. I was taken to the police station, fingerprinted, and eventually fined. I had no idea what was going on, to tell you the truth, but I imagine that is now on my permanent record. Following the incident, I sought psychological therapy for my depression and I have never done anything like that since.

 

So its been 5-6 years since this has happened, as I'm 24, going on 25. If I don't write this on the paper for my application and they search it, I'll be in trouble, of course. I don't want to lie. But I'm afraid that this might somehow hurt my chances of getting my visa. I'm coming here for someone I love, so that would be a bit devastating. Is there any chance they'll be understanding of this situation? Should I visit a lawyer to discuss the options?

 

Also, do most teaching jobs come with a criminal background check here in Germany, or no? Are they forgiving at all? I am an English teacher and have been for a few years now.

 

Thanks for any advise!

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Posted

You could run a criminal records check on yourself on the intarwebs. If it shows up there, the odds are good that the Germans will find it, too.

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Posted

In Germany your criminal history gets deleted after a certain time (5-20 years) and some things don't show up at all (e.g. juvenile law related stuff), it might be similar in the US.

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Posted

...you should be fine...I got arrested here in Germany for having a smoke and it hasn't had any impact on me getting a visa...

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Posted

 

I got arrested here in Germany for having a smoke and it hasn't had any impact on me getting a visa

Did they drop the case? OP was convicted and sentenced to a fine it seems, so that might be totally different.

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Posted

Find out from the US if you even have a criminal record before doing anything. If you can't do this yourself, a US lawyer can do it for you. I'd be surprised if a minor misdemeanor five years old is still listed against you.

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Posted

...sorry Gorgo...you could be correct...I simply got taken to police station and was fined EUR100...would this have been considered a conviction? I guess it's still on my record?

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Posted

 

...you should be fine...I got arrested here in Germany for having a smoke and it hasn't had any impact on me getting a visa...

 

what were you smoking and how did they catch you?

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Posted

Came to Deutschland with a few misdemeanors( didnt do it my lawyers fuck me over) and had no problems.

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Posted

pipe...and on piss lawn at fest...because I am a moron...

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Posted

Shoplifters of the world unite.

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Posted

Yeah, I was convicted, unfortunately. I was really unaware of my rights, though, so I didn't understand much of what was happening. I had just turned 19 apparently. I found the record in the city where I was convicted. They said that I might be able to have it expunged, though, since it's been quite some time since it's happened, and there have been no other transgressions. Not likely to happen in time for the auslanderbehorde date though. I guess I'll just disclose it and then hope the Germans can appreciate the time since the incident, my age and circumstance at the time, the lack of other charges, and my honesty. If anyone else has experiences with this, I'd be happy to know.

 

Thanks

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Posted

That surely had to be a misdemeanor, right? I wouldn't think it'd be a problem. Either way, I never even had to go through the check. Not that I wouldn't get through just fine. I SAID I'D GET THROUGH JUST FINE.

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Posted

Tell the truth, just DON'T tell them it was a bottle of Boones Farm. :P

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Posted

Yeah, they definitely wouldn't let me in for that. It should be a felony in that case. heh

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Posted

Apparently, they do, but it's become an alcopop, unlike the good-old-days when it had some actual "wine" content from the the wineries of Ernest and Julio Gallo. They must've taken Frau Rauscher and taught her English for that commercial.

 

P.S. Possman's Heißer Apfelglühwein is fantastic.

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Posted

Concerned, seeing how you have a copy of the record, that helps. I'm taking it that it's actually listed as shoplifting and not larceny. These are general terms for local police depts. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor (as rightly pointed out by bohemka) whereas larceny is a felony (normally for city / county standards). Of course there are levels of misdemeanors, like a class C, class B, and so on. The dollar amount lifted will be indicated by the level class of misdemeanor. The limitations statute to retain misdemeanors on file does vary, yet in the majority of states its seven years. The Germans are more concerned with felonious matters for obvious reasons. They don't want convicted felons entering from other countries. People drive fast (misdemeanor). People smoke ganja (misdemeanor in most states). Kids lift a pack of gum (misdemeanor). A misdemeanor is not going to be a show-stopper. However, if the aggregate value of the articles stolen was high, that might have the German scratch their heads a bit, but again, shouldn't be a problem.

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Posted

There's like 1-200 known terrorists living in Germany right now. I don't think you'll have a problem. Unless you're going to pakistan, which Germany seems to be a common stop along the way.

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Posted

What you need to do is get a German police report and if no records of your shoplifting show, you will be fine. That will be needed as you work here Germany and for the immigration. Some language school employers ask for that report if you work with children or young people or visit clients at the Bank or Organisations.

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