As a criminal defense attorney in Alabama, many times people I meet with or talk to ask: “What is the difference between getting an expungement or pardon in Alabama?” The first thing to know is: an expungement is a potential remedy of clearing an arrest record and applies to people who were NOT convicted or found “not guilty” (does not apply to “violent felonies). A pardon is a potential remedy for a person who was convicted or pled guilty to a crime to vacate or nullify the conviction of that crime. Further, certain civil rights that are lost with the conviction of that crime may be restored.
There is a big difference in an expungement or a pardon in Alabama. Again, the biggest thing to know is that at the time of this blog post NO conviction is eligible to be expunged in Alabama. A Petition for an Expungement is filed in the Circuit Court of the county where your arrest took place. The presiding Circuit Court Judge will ultimately be the deciding authority of whether a Petition for Expungement is granted or denyed. However, an Application for a Pardon is filed with the Board of Pardons and Paroles in Montgomery, Alabama and the Board is the deciding authority of whether a pardon is granted after a hearing and what, if any, civil rights are restored. For detailed FAQs on the expungement law in Alabama, see our guest blog post on Attorney, John Aaron’s website: http://aaronlawfirm.com/faqs-on-alabamas-criminal-record-expungement-law-by-alabama-expungement-attorney-jordan-m-copeland/
[Correction/update: as of August 1, 2017 “violent” felony charges that resulted in a “not guilty” are eligible to be expunged under an amendment to Alabama’s expungement law.]
Keep in mind that expungements and pardons in Alabama only apply to charges or convictions that take place in Alabama and in State or Municipal Courts. In other words, Federal charges/convictions must be dealt with in the Federal system and charges/convictions from other States must be dealt with in that State where they took place.
If you were arrested for a non-violent felony or misdemeanor in Alabama and you were not convicted because your case was either dismissed, you were found “not guilty” at trial, no-billed by a grand jury, or you completed a drug court (other pre-trial diversion program) you may be eligible to seek an expungement. There are also other requirements that must be met to be eligible (see the “Is My Case Eligible” section of our ExpungmentAlabamaLawyer.com website). Even if you live in another state other than Alabama, Attorney Jordan M. Copeland can represent you filing a Petition for Expungement in the proper Circuit Court in Alabama. If you have been convicted of a crime in Alabama and wish to discuss the possibility of seeking a pardon in Alabama, contact Attorney Jordan M. Copeland to schedule an in office or phone consultation.
Are you seeking to clear your arrest record from an arrest in Jefferson County, Mobile County, Montgomery County, Baldwin County, Shelby County, St. Clair County, Madison County, Tuscaloosa County, Lee County or any other county in Alabama? We assist clients with their expungement cases across the State of Alabama. Feel free to call our office or contact us via our “Contact Us” section of our website and leave us a phone number and good date/time to call you. If you prefer, simply send me an email to Jordan@ExpungementAlabamaLawyer.com and we will reply with information to schedule a consultation.