The New Alabama Expungement Law Provides Relief Where Cases Dismissed, Nol Prossed, Or For Not Guilty Verdicts
FAQs ABOUT THE NEW ALABAMA EXPUNGEMENT LAW
KINDS OF CASES CAN BE EXPUNGED?
Misdemeanors, violations, traffic citations and violations, and municipal ordinance violations can be expunged. Felony cases can be expunged with certain restrictions. Under the new Alabama expungement law only cases where the charges are dismissed (with or without prejudice), no billed by the Grand Jury, or where the person is acquitted after a trial can be expunged. In cases where the charges were dismissed without prejudice, special restrictions apply. If there is a conviction, the case is not eligible for expungement under the new Alabama expungement law.
A case that is dismissed without prejudice may be refiled at a later date. Because of this, the Alabama expungement law requires that the case have been dismissed at least two years prior to filing the expungement petition, that the case has not beed refiled, and that the person has not been convicted of any other crime (excluding minor traffic violations) in the past two years.
SPECIAL RESTRICTIONS ON FELONY CASE EXPUNGEMENT
Under the new Alabama expungement law felony cases involving “violent felonies” may not be expunged. More information on what crimes are classified as “violent felony” offenses in Alabama. Additionally, if your offense was a felony, and the case was dismissed without prejudice, you must wait five years from the time of the dismissal before you can apply for expungement. In addition, the charges cannot have been refiled and you cannot have been convicted of any other criminal offense during the five year period (excluding minor traffic offenses). If the case is a felony, and the case is dismissed with prejudice, you must wait ninety days before you can apply for expungement under the Alabama expungement law.
WHAT COURT HEARS EXPUNGEMENT PETITIONS?
The Circuit Court in the county were the charges were originally filed has jurisdiction over an expungement petition.
CASES HANDLED THROUGH DEFERRED PROSECUTION PROGRAMS
Generally Yes. Most deferred prosecution programs ultimately result in the charges being dismissed. Therefore, they fall under the types of cases which may be expunged under the Alabama expungement law. Note, however, that you must wait for one year after completion of the program before you can apply for expungement.
COST FOR FILING A PETITION FOR EXPUNGEMENT
The new Alabama expungement law provides that you must pay an administrative filing fee of $300.00 to file the expungement petition. This could be in addition to any court costs or docket fee imposed by your local Circuit Court Clerk.
If either the prosecuting authority or the victim / complainant objects to the expungement, the Court must schedule a hearing. If there are no objections, and the judge has enough information from what is contained in your Petition to make a decision, no hearing may be necessary.
The Alabama expungement law sets out a list of 10 factors that the judge in your case must take into consideration when deciding to grant your petition for expungement. A list of those factors is fully set out and explained here.
SHOULD I HIRE A LAWYER TO ASSIST ME IN FILING MY PETITION?
Absolutely, Yes. The Alabama expungement law is full of technicalities, restrictions, and exceptions. An experienced Alabama criminal lawyer can determine whether you are in fact eligible for expungement. In addition, an attorney can draft a proper petition for expungement which will maximize your chances of obtaining an expungement. The law does not guarantee an expungement. There may be objections to having your record expunged and it may be necessary to attend a hearing on the petition. You will need the assistance of an attorney to help you obtain the expungement.