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Don’t Seal/Expunge Noncitizen Criminal Records!

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In 2023 the Minnesota legislature enacted the Clean Slate Act. It involves expanding the types of past criminal convictions that can be sealed from public view, as well as automatically sealing others, primarily low level drug offenses. The reason is that, in many situations, past criminal records harm the ability of an otherwise law abiding individual to gain employment, housing, insurance, loans, or the like.   The question of the Clean Slate Act is not whether expunging criminal records is good. The question is whether a system of automatic expungements has been crafted to prevent unintended harm to those who actually benefit from access to their own criminal records.   Who are some of these people?   Noncitizens.  In every immigration application, noncitizens have an affirmative duty to disclose any arrest and provide certified records of any arrest, charge, conviction, probation, probation completion, and in many instances court transcripts—regardless of final disposition. This is

How to Call a Lawyer

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Over the years I’ve been blessed to discover some effectives way to initiate the first call to a lawyer, and some not so effective ways. Initial contact with an attorney can move quickly and efficiently, or can take longer and lead to more confusion.  This post lists some of my own observations through 24 years of law practice to get the most out of your first call with an attorney. To clarify, it's not about WHAT to call a lawyer, as my imagination pales to many out there. It is about how to contact an attorney to make your first (or subsequent) call as productive--and inexpensive--as possible.  These are some helpful tips when contacting an attorney for the first time, or even when contacting your current attorney. Call from a Quiet Spot This is my biggest suggestion and most common problem. You are calling a lawyer because you have an important legal issue in your life that needs to be solved. If the attorney cannot hear you, or you cannot hear the lawyer, you risk losing import

Visa Stuck at the Embassy

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I RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING QUESTION TODAY:   My husband and father's cases have been in Administrative processing for over 9 months now. The Embassy is just delaying the process! ANSWER:   In general, there’s not much a lawyer can legally do to "unstuck" an application at an Embassy. An attorney can submit a letter, but Embassies are so bureaucratic it is doubtful the letter will reach the right person. An attorney can, however, sue the Department of State in U.S. federal court to force a decision one way or another, but this will cost thousands of dollars and the decision may go against you. One realistic course of action should be to contact your own Congressperson to write a letter to shake loose a decision. You should know, however, that if the application was problematic is some way, sometimes no answer is a good answer. Meaning, at least the application is not yet denied. To help determine your chances, a consultation with an attorney may help. But it will be essentia