If you were charged with a crime as an adult in Alabama, then you should be aware that there are police and court records about your arrest and court case, even if you were found not guilty or the charges were disposed of in your favor. There is good news, though, because in April of 2014 the Alabama Legislature passed a new expungement law.
Expungement is a term you may not have heard of before. it means to zap, clear or erase something. Alabama’s new expungement law provides a method by which people who were charged with a crime but who were found not guilty or had the charge disposed of in their favor can get their police and court records expunged. With limited exceptions, if a potential employer or other entity contacts the police department or court to ask about the expunged case, the police and court must answer that they have no record of the incident.
Employers often reject people with past criminal charges who they otherwise would have hired. When a person who has been granted an expungement is asked in an interview or on a job application “have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime,” in most circumstances the person will legally be able to answer “NO.”
Expungement is not automatic for those who meet the eligibility requirements. A new court action must be filed on your behalf in the circuit court. The procedure for filing an expungement action is highly technical. You should hire an experienced attorney who is very familiar with the both expungement law and criminal defense to represent you.
There are certain types of violent felonies that are not eligible for expungement. Those ineligible offenses are set out in Alabama Code § 12-25-32(14), which include primarily crimes of physical or sexual violence. Other than those offenses, all other Alabama criminal charges are eligible under the expungement law.
In certain situations a person may file a petition for expungement immediately after their criminal case has been disposed. In most cases a person must wait some period of time before they can file for an expungement. For example, if a misdemeanor (most DUI cases are misdemeanors) is dismissed “without prejudice” the person who was charged may file for expungement after two years if the charge was not refiled and the person has not been convicted of any other crime other than minor traffic violation during the previous two years. For a felony that was dismissed without prejudice the time period is five years. These are not the only applicable time periods. They are merely examples.
We would be happy to meet with you to discuss if and when your case is eligible for expungement. Let us put our experience to work for you on your expungement case. Our senior partner, Phil Price, has been representing people who have been criminally charged in Alabama for over three decades. We will sit down with you and discuss your case in depth with you to determine if you are a candidate for expungement.
Still have questions? Schedule a consultation with a lawyer from our team today by calling or completing an online form