Q: I had a criminal conviction for theft 30 years ago can that conviction be vacated and expunged so I can travel.
I am now 68 and really would like to travel out of the country. My spouse who is an immigration attorney advise me that we may run into issues with this conviction. I served 90 days in a work release program at the time and completed all issues surrounding the conviction. In recent conversations with the victim he stated that he wants to make do what he can to help.
A: Even felony theft convictions can be expunged in Maryland now after a 15 year waiting period if you are otherwise eligible for expungement.
A: The only restrictions on entry (or re-entry) to the United States on account of certain criminal convictions apply to non-citizens in the United States. For greencard holders, the ffense would have to be a deportable offense to cause problems upon re-entry. If you are a US citizen there is no restriction as far as the United States is concerned. While expungement may very well be an option for this offense, and while you should absolutely get the offense expunged if it is eligible, you should be aware that expungement will not help in the case of immigration law. Federal immigration law does not recognize state expungements and will continue to treat a past conviction or guilty finding as a conviction for purposes of any immigration entry restrictions or deportation proceedings. A deportable offense would include any crime of "moral turpitude." Theft is a crime of moral turpitude, but generally to be deportable the crime must have been committed within 5 years of entry to the US and you received a sentence greater than 6 months. You would need to have your criminal history reviewed and your current status reviewed if you are not a US citizen. If a citizen, you have nothing to worry about.
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