Expungement and Immigration: Should I Seal My Record?

The process of sealing your criminal record is called expungement. Individuals may want to have their records expunged for a variety of reasons. For instance, a sealed record cannot be viewed by banks or employers. In other words, if your criminal record is expunged, you have a clean slate in the eyes of local and state law enforcement. However, expungement doesn't destroy your criminal record; it simply seals it. Additionally, the federal criminal database will retain your fingerprints.

While expungement may seem like a good idea, it can damage your immigration status. If you are seeking immigration relief, you must release information regarding all past criminal allegations held against you. If your record is sealed, you cannot provide this information. Additionally, you must demonstrate that you have good moral character by showing documents that demonstrate that you were not convicted of a crime.

If you were convicted of a crime you must be able to show that it did not lead to any immigration consequences. Expungement is especially inadvisable for individuals who were convicted of a crime that made them deportable or ineligible for any immigration benefits. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), even individuals with expunged records may be deported for a conviction. Even a criminal record reflecting only minor charges can affect the outcome of your case.

If you've been accused and convicted of committing any crime and are trying to obtain citizenship in the United States, talk to a Queens attorney from our firm as soon as possible. At Musa-Obregon & Associates, we are wholly dedicated to helping people like you get the legal assistance they need. We are experienced in criminal law and immigration litigation.

To see what a Queens criminal defense and immigration attorney from the firm can do for you, call for your free consultation today.

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