What is an “expungement” of a criminal record?
In Alabama an expungement of a criminal record is the legal process through a petition to the proper court a person’s prior arrest records of non-convictions for violations, misdemeanors, and non-violent felonies may be erased or destroyed by a court order.
Can Criminal Convictions Be Expunged?
At the time of writing these FAQs (Feb., 2016) in Alabama only records from non-convictions of certain criminal charges are eligible to be expunged. In other words, your case must have either been: dismissed, dismissed after completing a drug court or other pretrial diversion program, “no billed” by the Grand Jury, you were acquitted after a trial (found “not guilty”), or some other disposition that resulted in a non-conviction of the eligible charge to be expunged.
What Types Arrest Records Can Be Expunged in Alabama?
Non-convictions for non-violent felonies, misdemeanors, violations, traffic violations, or a municipal ordinance violations (in state or municipal court, not federal charges) may be eligible to be expunged if certain other factors and criteria are met. Common examples of charges that if resulted in a non-conviction can be eligible to petition for expungement include:
-Possession of Marijuana 1st or 2nd Degree
-Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
-Domestic Violence, 3rd Degree (misdemeanors)
-Possession of a Controlled Substance
-Any “non-violent” felony (defined by Alabama law) non-conviction
-Any misdemeanor non-conviction
-Any ordinance violation non-conviction
Why is an expungement of charges on my prior arrest record in Alabama important?
The most important reasons for many people pursuing an expungement in Alabama is to be able to clear a record of a prior arrest from their background for purposes of: job, career advancement, education, insurance, loans, housing, licensing, among other reasons. Don’t let an arrest for a prior non-conviction hold you back from future advancement.
Are There Restrictions On Cases Dismissed WITHOUT Prejudice?
The Alabama Expungement Law states that if your arrest was for a misdemeanor, a violation, a traffic violation, or a municipal ordinance violation that was dismissed WITHOUT prejudice, more than two (2) years ago, has not been refiled, and the person has not been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor crime, any violation, or any traffic violation, excluding minor traffic violations, during the previous two years, then the arrest record for the charge may be eligible to be expunged.
However, If your arrest was for a non-violent felony in Alabama that was dismissed WITHOUT prejudice more than five (5) years ago, has not been refiled, and the person has not been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor crime, any violation, or any traffic violation, excluding minor traffic violations, during the previous five years.
Is My Case Eligible If It Was Dismissed After I Successfully Completed a Drug Court or Deferred Prosecution Program?
Yes, the arrest record for the charge may be eligible to be expunged if the charge was dismissed after successful completion of a drug court program, mental health court program, diversion program, veteran’s court, or any court-approved deferred prosecution program after one (1) year from successful completion of the program. Common examples of these type dismissals are: (a) a Drug Possession charge where the offender successfully completes a drug court program resulting in a dismissal of the charge; (b) a Domestic Violence, 3rd Degree misdemeanor charge in a District or Municipal court where the defendant is allowed to enter a pretrial anger management or diversion program and the case is dismissed after its completion; and (c) a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs charge where the defendant is allowed to enter a CRO or alcohol/drug abuse program and the charge is dismissed upon completion.
Are There Any Special Restrictions On a Felony Case Expungement?
Yes, arrest records for violent felony charges may NOT be expunged under the current Alabama Expungement law. The crimes in the State of Alabama that are classified as a “Violent Felony” are listed here:
Capital murder pursuant to Sections 13A-6-2 and 13A-5-40.
Murder pursuant to Section 13A-6-2.
Manslaughter pursuant to Section 13A-6-3.
Criminally negligent homicide pursuant to Section 13A-6-4.
Assault I pursuant to Section 13A-6-20.
Assault II pursuant to Section 13A-6-21.
Compelling street gang membership pursuant to Section 13A-6-26.
Kidnapping I pursuant to Section 13A-6-43.
Kidnapping II pursuant to Section 13A-6-44.
Rape I pursuant to Section 13A-6-61.
Rape II pursuant to Section 13A-6-62.
Sodomy I pursuant to Section 13A-6-63.
Sodomy II pursuant to Section 13A-6-64.
Sexual torture pursuant to Section 13A-6-65
Sexual abuse I pursuant to Section 13A-6-66
Enticing a child to enter a vehicle for immoral purposes pursuant to Section 13A-6-69.
Stalking pursuant to Section 13A-6-90.
Aggravated stalking pursuant to Section 13A-6-91.
Soliciting a child by computer pursuant to Section 13A-6-110.
Domestic violence I pursuant to Section 13A-6-130.
Domestic violence II pursuant to Section 13A-6-131.
Burglary I pursuant to Section 13A-7-5.
Burglary II pursuant to Section 13A-7-6.
Burglary III pursuant to Section 13A-7-7.
Arson I pursuant to Section 13A-7-41.
Criminal possession of explosives pursuant to Section 13A-7-44.
Extortion I pursuant to Section 13A-8-14.
Robbery I pursuant to Section 13A-8-41.
Robbery II pursuant to Section 13A-8-42.
Robbery III pursuant to Section 13A-8-43.
Pharmacy robbery pursuant to Section 13A-8-51.
Terrorist threats pursuant to Section 13A-10-15.
Escape I pursuant to Section 13A-10-31.
Promoting prison contraband I pursuant to Section 13A-10-36, involving a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
Intimidating a witness pursuant to Section 13A-10-123.
Intimidating a juror pursuant to Section 13A-10-127.
Treason pursuant to Section 13A-11-2.
Discharging a weapon into an occupied building, dwelling, automobile, etc., pursuant to Section 13A-11-61.
Promoting prostitution I pursuant to Section 13A-12-111.
Production of obscene matter involving a minor pursuant to Section 13A-12-197.
Trafficking pursuant to Section 13A-12-231.
Child abuse pursuant to Section 26-15-3.
Elder abuse pursuant to Section 38-9-7.
Terrorism pursuant to Section 13A-10-152.
Hindering prosecution for terrorism pursuant to Section 13A-10-154.
Or, any substantially similar offense for which an Alabama offender has been convicted under prior Alabama law or the law of any other state, the District of Columbia, the United States, or any of the territories of the United States.
Which Court In Alabama Will My Petition For Expungement Be Filed?
An Expungement Petition is filed with the Circuit Court of the county where the arrest for the charge seeking to be expunged took place. For example, if you were seeking to expunge the arrest record for a prior Domestic Violence, 3rd degree charge that you were not convicted of in the Municipal Court of Alabaster, Alabama – your Petition for Expungement would be filed in the Circuit Court of Shelby County, Alabama.
Is There a Period of Time I Need to Wait For Non-Violent Felony Cases Which Were Dismissed WITHOUT Prejudice?
Yes, the Alabama Expungement Law requires a mandatory five (5) year waiting period from your dismissal date, having not been convicted of any other criminal offense (except for minor traffic offenses) and the charges cannot have been refilled, only then can you Petition for an Expungement.
Is There a Period of Time I Need to Wait For Non-Violent Felony Cases Dismissed WITH Prejudice?
Yes, under the new Alabama Expungement Law, there is a mandatory ninety (90) days wait time when the case is a non-violent felony that has been dismissed WITH prejudice before you may file a Petition for Expungement.
What Must Be Included In My Petition for Expungement?
The statute law in Alabama provides for the mandatory information and content that must be included in a Petition for Expungement. Also, the statute provides for the required certified documentation of your prior cases and official criminal history obtained from the State that must be included with your Petition for Expungement in Alabama. Further, the statute provides for the required method of filing the petition with the court and the necessary parties that must be served a copy.
When you retain Alabama Expungement Lawyer, Jordan M. Copeland – we can represent you in handling the entire Petition for Expungement process. Visit the “Is My Case Eligible” section of our website here: http://www.expungementalabamalawyer.com/is-my-alabama-expungement-case-eligible/ to determine if your prior charge may be eligible for an Expungement in Alabama, or contact us for more information.
Will The Court Have a Hearing About My Expungement Petition?
It depends. The court will schedule a hearing if the alleged victim or the District Attorney files a written objection to the Expungement Petition being granted within forty-five (45) days from the filing and service of the petition. Otherwise, if there is no objection filed, and if the judge has enough information from your Petition to make a ruling, no hearing will be set. The judge may possibly set your petition for a hearing even without an objection from the DA or alleged victim.
Are There Any Factors That the Court Takes Into Consideration When Ruling On My Expungement Petition?
There is a list of at least ten (10) specific factors the Alabama Expungement Law provides for the judge to consider when deciding whether to grant your Petition for Expungement.
If I Still Owe Cost, Fees, Restitution or Fines, Can My Record Be Expunged?
Unless all court ordered monies have been paid in full, including court costs, restitution, fees, fines or statuary fees, an order cannot be issued expunging your arrest record, according to the Alabama Expungement law.
If I Do Not Live in Alabama, Can You Represent Me In Seeking To Expunge An Arrest From Alabama?
Yes, if you live out of state or out of the area, we can represent you and an office visit is not necessary. An expungement lawyer licensed in Alabama can assist you in seeking an expungement of your arrest record from an arrest that took place in Alabama.
Do I Need To Hire a Lawyer To Represent Me?
Generally it is advisable to hire an attorney to assist you with the preparation and filing of your Petition for Expungement because of the technicality of the requirements in the Alabama Expungement Law that your petition must meet to be considered by the court. Further, in the event an objection is filed and your case requires a court hearing, it is also generally advisable not to represent yourself against the District Attorney’s Office in a court hearing in front of the Circuit Court.
For more information on your potential expungement case, visit our website at www.ExpungementAlabamaLawyer.com, email us at Jordan@ExpungementAlabamaLawyer.com, or call our office at (256) 378-6087 or (205) 924-3839