NEW MARIJUANA EXPUNGEMENT LAWS AND THEIR EFFECT ON IMMIGRANTS
New York has recently changed its marijuana laws to automatically expunge the lowest two levels of marijuana offenses — that is, violations and B misdemeanors under Penal Law Sections 221.05 and 221.10. However, and this is a big however, these expungements do not work for immigration authorities. There are special provisions for an immigrant to move to vacate these expunged convictions under Criminal Procedure Law Section 440.10. These motions are fairly easy to do and we charge less for them than we would on a full constitutional attack on a conviction. That does not mean that these less complex motions are not on legal grounds. Immigration authorities only honor those vacatur orders based on illegality. That is why the expungements do not work in the first place.
The section used for motion to vacate marijuana convictions is CPL Sec. 440.10(1)(k). If the motion is won, the conviction (which has already been expunged) may be dismissed.