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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask if you have requested a copy of your police file to see if the conviction is recorded please? A conviction that old may have not been recorded on computerised records.
I have not been to the police for information
Thank you. You may wish to make a subject access request to the police for your file. As above it is possible that a conviction of that age may not have been transferred across to the police national computer and if this is the case it is not likely to have any impact. If you find the conviction has been recorded then you have something of a dilemma in terms of US travel.
In general fines for the purposes of UK law are considered spent after five years and no longer need to be declared in such circumstances however the United States does not recognise the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which provides for the above. For the purposes of US law, convictions never become spent.
According to strict US law, because the US does not recognise the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act the conviction must be declared and according to US immigration law, you may not not be eligible for the visa waiver programme as a result and accordingly would need to apply to the US embassy for a visa to travel to the United States. A visa is not guaranteed particularly where the conviction is for a crime of moral turpitude which helpfully is not specifically defined. Instead, what is talked about is crimes which are inherently base, vile or depraved and contrary to be accepted rules of morality which potentially could cover almost anything. If the conviction has been recorded you must therefore decide how you wish to proceed...
The US does not have routine access to the police national computer here in the UK and certainly some travellers take the arguably cavalier attitude that they will not declare a conviction because there is no way the Americans can know about it. In many cases this is probably correct as although there is intelligence sharing between the UK and the US this is generally in respect of higher profile more serious crimes, however the US does have the right to make an interpol request for a copy of his record, though this would usually be where there is suspicion relating to terrorism offences and not more minor crimes and interpol requests are not routine. However if the authorities in the United States do discover his conviction they can refuse entry and deport you back to the UK which will make repeated travel to the United States very difficult. potentially, you may be charged with a crime under US law which is punishable by a fine and up to 6 months imprisonment though my understanding is this is rarely applied in favour of simple deportation.In addition you will be aware that the US operates the ESTA scheme whereby you are pre screened before travel and therefore on may hope that any issues would be known about before you book tickets and / or travel at the point you apply for your ESTA.
On the other side of the coin if you do declare, you should be aware that there is no guarantee of the US embassy issuing you with a visa for travel if you were to disclose the conviction. Accordingly as above you have a difficult decision to make. Anecdotally persons with cautions and similar minor crimes who do not declare them seem to have little difficulty in travelling. However I cannot encourage you or suggest that it would be correct to do other than answer the question truthfully. The final decision must be yours weighing the above information in your mind
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
how would I start to get any details of the conviction if recorded, as I have no details of dates or any paperwork
Do you know which is your local police force?
I live in Gillingham Kent
Thanks. You can make a request using this form:http://www.kent.police.uk/about_us/foi/data_protection/Download%20a%20subject%20a.html
Is there anything else I can help you with?
I will make a request using the info you have given. Many thanks for your help
A pleasure. I hope nothing turns up on the report but if it does best wishes for your difficult decision above.
If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.
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