Even if you have no criminal record, applying for citizenship or permanent resident status can be a long and arduous process. After all, government adjudicators are apt to dig deeply into both your current and past behaviors. If you have a criminal conviction, your immigration prospects may become even more complicated.
In the United States, immigration law is largely a federal matter. Criminal law, by contrast, is often in the purview of the states. Still, a conviction for violating state criminal law may render you either inadmissible to the United States or removable from the country. While how your criminal conviction is expunged will have a direct effect on your immigration situation.
Expungement of a criminal conviction
Washington law allows individuals to remove criminal convictions from their records in certain situations through a process called expungement. You should know, though, that not every crime is eligible for expungement. Accordingly, it is important to understand both the facts of your conviction and the relevant law to determine if expungement is an option for you.
Related benefits of an expungement
Having a criminal record can be embarrassing. Your past conviction may also interfere with your ability to land a job or secure housing. As such, you may notice an immediate life benefit from expunging your conviction. You may also realize an immigration benefit from it. That is, because immigration officers often look at an applicant’s stability, having a steady job and a place to live is apt to improve your situation.
The immigration consequences from a criminal conviction can be extreme. Even if an expungement does not provide direct benefits for immigration purposes, it may be advantageous for you. Regardless, you must understand your situation completely before taking any action.
At Kurt Bennett Attorneys we have assisted scores of clients through addressing these issues understand and deal with these complexities on a daily basis. If you have questions about expungement, it is wise to discuss them with an experienced attorney.