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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26832
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi,I am a Canadian who has a record in the US for small pot

Customer Question

I am a Canadian who has a record in the US for small pot possession. I understand that I can get a US entry waiver, but I would like to see how I can get my record expunged in the US. How do I go about this?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

Whether or not you can get this matter expunged will depend upon the expungement law of the state in which you received your conviction.

Please tell me what US state convicted you. If it was not a state offense but a Federal offense, tell me that as well. With that information I'll be able to tell you how to proceed.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It happened in Minnesota at the border from Ontario.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,

If you were arrested by Minnesota police and charged with a Minnesota crime which you resolved by going into a Minnesota state court and you got your drug conviction dismissed after a diversion disposition or deferred adjudication, you could get your conviction expunged in Minnesota. Otherwise, the state law will not expunge an adult conviction. You can see the Minnesota expungement law here.

If you were arrested by Federal officers at the border and charged with a Federal offense, unless you were in the Special Probation for Drug Offenders program and were under 21 when you committed the crime, there is no such thing as Federal expungement

If you do qualify for the state expungement, the link I gave you above would tell you how to set about it. You would not need a lawyer to file for it.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Fran,

It was at night time, they arrested me, I think the FBI interrogated me (lol- oh america!) and then they made me pay $200 so that I could go. They said I could wait till morning to see a judge, but I declined, and they made me sign something saying that I declined the court hearing. I guess this is bad for my expungement process? Is my only option a US waiver to get into the country?


One more question, if I go to the border now, and try to get into the US and they find out about my pot pessession, what will happen to me? Just wondering if it might be worth it just to ignore everything and carry on rather than fighting the beaurocracy?


PS- this has been extremely helpful. I really appreciate it and intend on paying you at the end of our conversation. Thanks


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Sorry, one more thing. Is there a way I could find out what the my record is? A check that I could run? Is it possible it is out of the system by now?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

I am very sorry for the delay. I have a friend from out of town who's visiting for a few days, and I have been away from the computer all afternoon.

What you have sounds Federal, if the FBI gave you the ticket and handled the matter. That would mean that there is not possibility of expungement. On the other hand, there is a Federal Civil marijuana statute. And I'm not entirely clear (nor would you know) whether you actually were convicted of a misdemeanor or paid a civil fine.

You could order your record from the FBI as you're entitled to your ciminal history. I have linked you to the site from which you could order their Identification Kit. You would get yourself fingerprinted and then mail back the finerprint card with a money order for $18 USD. The'll send you your full US history, including any Federal convictions. From there the US Embassy would be able to tell you if it rises to the level of something that would need a waiver at the border.

Good luck!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Fran,

What about attempting to get into the states? I figure they will probably let me in, but if not, what is the worst that could happen? Also, should I just get a US entry waiver? Is that my best option?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

Given that I know only the nature of the charge you pled to but not anything more about it, I can't say. I am not clear whether it's a civil or criminal offense, as I have already told you. I'm figuring they will let you in too, but the worst case scenario is that they won't. The safest option, therefore, would be to get the waiver.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
will they arrest me is what im getting at?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

You can be denied entry if you don't have a waiver. While you may not be arrested you can expect to be very inconvenienced. Anything else that happens would be at the discretion of Homeland Security.