Alsobrook - Agricola
CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION 334.737.3718

Expungement FAQ’s

WHAT IS EXPUNGEMENT IN ALABAMA?

Expunge means; to blot out, obliterate or destroy. In the legal arena, expungement is the striking of an item from the record. The prime example of expungement is the purging of an arrest or charge from the records of a person.

The Law Firm of Zach Alsobrook is an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Auburn / Opelika that understand Expungement and what it means to your future. Call us today to discuss your criminal record and how to get it erased forever.

WHAT TYPES OF CASES ARE INCLUDED IN THE NEW ALABAMA EXPUNGEMENT LAW?

  • For Misdemeanor Cases expungement may be possible in the following examples:
    • Where the charge is dismissed with prejudice
    • When the charge has been no billed by a grand jury
    • When the person has been found not guilty of the charge
    • When the charge was dismissed without prejudice, 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
  • For Felony Cases, expungement may be available for felonies not considered “Violent Felonies” under the Alabama Sentencing Guidelines:
  • Where the charge is dismissed with prejudice
  • When the charge has been no billed by a grand jury
  • When the person has been found not guilty of the charge
  • When the charge was dismissed without prejudice, 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
    • There are 45 types of crimes that cannot be expunged such Robbery, Burglary, sex crimes and crimes related to terrorism

WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF EXPUNGEMENT?

The new Alabama Expungement Law requires a sworn petition for expungement to be filed with the Court that handled the case originally, with a copy served on the District Attorney or prosecutor. The prosecutor must then, make “reasonable efforts”, to give notice to any victim in the case for their input. The prosecutor and /or the victim, then has 45 days to file a written objection to the petition. If either the prosecutor or the victim objects, the court must set the petition for a hearing.

WHAT DOES THE JUDGE DO WITH MY PETITION?

The Alabama Expungement Law requires that the Circuit Court consider the several factors in deciding whether to grant or deny the petition for expungement. Among those factors are:

  • Nature and seriousness of the offense committed
  • Circumstances under which the offense occurred
  • Date of the offense
  • Age of the person when the offense was committed
  • Whether the offense was an isolated or repeated incident
  • Social conditions which may have contributed to the offense
  • An available probation or parole record, report, or recommendation
  • Evidence of rehabilitation, including good conduct in prison or jail, in the community, counseling or psychiatric treatment received, acquisition of additional academic or vocational schooling, successful business or employment history, and the recommendation of his or her supervisors or other persons in the community.

It seems that the hearing is mandatory, the court must be reasonably satisfied that the person meets the requirements for expungement. If your petition for expungement is denied, you can only appeal on the basis of the judge’s “abuse of discretion.” This is an extremely deferential review standard. The court also has the power to determine how many cases should be expunged after the first expunged case. If there is no objection then the court can rule on the petition without a hearing.

WHAT DOES IT COST?

The fee for filing a petition for expungement in the Circuit Court is $300.00. There is a provision and procedure for claiming indigence which allows the person to pay the filing fee in payments.

MY CASE WAS DISMISSED THROUGH A PRETRIAL DIVERSION, DO I STILL NEED EXPUNGEMENT?

If your case was dismissed through a Pretrial Diversion Program, Drug Court, Mental Health Court or Veteran’s Court and it is one of the cases eligible for expungement, the records of that case may be expunged through this process. The law requires that you wait to file a Petition for Expungement one year after completion of the program and the original cases dismissal or order of Nolle Prosequi.

WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF EXPUNGEMENT?

When your case is expunged, all records of the case are sealed and sent to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (AJIC). The records affected include the arrest reports, booking and arrest photographs, and computer database records of the State. The State of Alabama retains a copy of the case “indefinitely.” However, access to the record requires a court order.

ARE THERE OTHER REASONS FOR EXPUNGEMENT?

Your criminal history is used by employers for background checks. Expungement allows you to answer no to the question of whether or not you have been arrest. Alabama allows adult criminal records to be expunged in very limited circumstances. Listed below are other reasons a criminal record may be expunged:

  • Expunging an Inaccurate Criminal Record
    • If there is a mistake in your record, you may be able to have the record changed or erased. The best way to correct a criminal record is to visit the website of the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC) and complete a form called Requests to Review, Challenge, or Appeal Criminal History Record Information. (Alabama Administrative Code § 265X2.03.)
    • You may also correct an error in your criminal record by contacting the agency where the record is located. If your record is found to be inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading, the agency or a court may order the record to be purged or corrected. The ACJIC will then be notified of the changes. (Alabama Code §§ § 41-9-645, § 41-9-646.)
  • If You Are Arrested, Released and Not Charged
    • If you were arrested or taken into custody and law enforcement collected fingerprints, photographs, or other identifying information from you, and you were later released without charge or cleared of the offense through legal proceedings, the identifying information must be purged from the criminal records. (Alabama Code § 41-9-625.)
  • DNA Records
    • If you were convicted of a crime and your conviction was reversed, you may request to have any DNA records expunged. (Alabama Code § 36-18-26.)
  • Allegations of Child Abuse or Neglect
    • If you were investigated on a report of child abuse or neglect, but there was no conviction, any record of the report or related data must be expunged. (Alabama Code § 26-14-3.)
  • Completion of a Pretrial Diversionary Program
    • In some situations, a criminal defendant may be offered the opportunity to participate in a pretrial diversion program, like Drug Court, Veteran’s Court, Mental Health Court or some other program. Upon the successful completion of such a program, the defendant may seek that all records related to the diverted offense be expunged. (Alabama Code § 45-8-82.40.)
Share This Page:
Sundown Legal Marketing

© 2014 - 2017 Alsobrook Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This is a Sundown Legal Marketing law firm website.