Alabama’s New Criminal Record Expungement Law
While it is true that Alabama has recently passed a new law that allows certain aspects of an individual’s criminal record to be expunged, or wiped away, there are many requirements and exceptions that must be understood. There are so many Alabama residents who have been arrested and although their charges were dismissed, they still have an arrest record. The Alabama criminal defense attorneys at our firm are knowledgeable of the ins and outs of this new law and are available to help you determine whether you, or someone you know, can benefit.
Who is eligible under the new law?
If you have been charged with a non-violent felony, a misdemeanor criminal offense, a traffic violation, or a municipal ordinance violation, the record may be expunged (erased) if any of the following circumstances apply:
- the charge was dismissed with prejudice,
- the charge was no-billed by a grand jury,
- you were found not guilty of the charge,
- the charge was dismissed without prejudice more than five years ago (felony) or two years ago (all others) and has not been refiled.
If you were charged with a non-violent felony, you may also have the record expunged one year after completion of a diversion program like drug treatment, mental health treatment or veterans court. Also, if you have a non-violent felony charge, it is required that you not have been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor crime, any violation, or any traffic violation, excluding minor traffic violations, during the previous five years.
Felony charges that cannot be expunged
Violent felonies, including the following, are not eligible for expungement:
- capital murder, murder, and manslaughter,
- rape, sodomy, and sexual abuse
- robbery and burglary,
- stalking, and domestic violence
How does it work?
First, a petition must be filed with the Circuit Court where the criminal charge was originally filed. The petition needs to include a sworn statement that the person meets the expungement requirements set out in the law, a certified copy of the arrest record, and a description of the charges to be considered. Also, a filing fee of $300.00 must be paid when filing the petition, along with any court costs. The types of records that will be erased include arrest records, booking or arrest photos, index references for public records searches and other documents or electronic files concerning the arrest or charge.
Can someone object to the petition?
There is an opportunity given to both the District Attorney’s office and the victims to object. If an objection is filed within 45 days of your petition requesting expungement, the court will set a hearing in order to consider the objection and make a ruling. If there is no objection, the court generally considers your petition and makes a ruling without a hearing.
If you have questions regarding criminal records, or any other criminal defense matters, contact attorney Brad J. Latta online, or by calling (205) 998-5570.