NEW MARIJUANA EXPUNGEMENT LAWS AND THEIR EFFECT ON IMMIGRANTS
New York has recently changed its marijuana laws to automatically expunge many levels of marijuana offenses — that is, violations, misdemeanors and even one felony under Penal Law Sections 221.05, 221.10, 221.15, 221.20, 221.35, 221.40. This includes two sale of marijuana offenses. 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 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. See, in the matter of Pickering.
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. 440.10(6).