DL, a 25 year old Electrical Engineer from India, came to the US several years under a work visa program for skilled engineers. On November 28, 2014 DL went shopping at Kohl’s in Chelmsford. He filled his shopping basket with a number of items and then went to the register to pay. He paid for all the items except a pair of shoes that he had “stashed” at the bottom of the shopping basket. All of this was observed on closed circuit television by a loss prevention officer. DL proceeded out of the store and was immediately stopped by the loss prevention officer. He was brought back to the store; the shoes were removed from the basket; and the Chelmsford Police were called to the store. DL saw his whole future going by him; a criminal record of any kind could cause his visa to be revoked and he could be sent back to India. DL was released from the store and was told that he would receive a notice from the court. DL contacted Attorney Robert Lewin of North Andover.
Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the Chelmsford Police and obtained a copy of the police report. For persons who are not citizens it is critical to try to get these cases resolved without a criminal complaint being issued. The police assured Attorney Lewin that this case was being set up for a Clerk’s Hearing; this is critical as the Clerk’s Hearing is the chance to resolve the case without the client being charged (i.e. without a criminal complaint being issued). DL subsequently received a Notice of Complaint Hearing
Attorney Lewin advocated on behalf of the client with the police. On March 20, 2015 Attorney Lewin and DL appeared at Lowell District Court for the hearing. Attorney Lewin explained to the Clerk-Magistrate the significance to DL of a criminal complaint not being issued. Attorney Lewin presented the Clerk with all the positive achievements that DL had made in his life. The police were on board with not having a complaint issue against DL. At the conclusion of the hearing the Clerk-Magistrate said that she would NOT issue a criminal complaint against DL; the hearing was continued for three months and as long as DL stays out of trouble the application for criminal complaint will be dismissed at the end of the three months and no one will have to return to court. As a result of this disposition it is important to note the following:
DL was NOT arrested.
DL was NOT charged with a criminal offense.
NO criminal complaint was issued against DL.
NO criminal record (CORI) was created.
There was NO admission of guilt or wrongdoing by DL.
DL was NOT found guilty of any criminal offense.
It is as if the episode did not happen. This episode will have NO adverse effect on DL’s visa and his possibilities for becoming a citizen in the future.