Alabama Expungement Clears a Criminal Background Report.

Alabama Expungement Criminal Background Reports, FBI Background Report, ALEA Background Report, Criminal History Alabama

Will an Alabama expungement clear a criminal background report? We are often asked that question by potential expungement clients and the answer is generally “yes”. An Alabama Expungement clears a criminal background report. After a Circuit Court in Alabama issues an Order of Expungement the process of the record of arrest / conviction being cleared from the client’s State of Alabama and Federal Criminal Background Reports begins. (See §15-27-6 and §15-27-7 Ala. Code, 1975)

Expungement of Records from State of Alabama (ALEA) and FBI Criminal Background Reports

All criminal justice agencies with records of the arrest / conviction that were ordered expunged and are subject to the Alabama expungement statute should receive a copy of the Order of Expungement (sent by the Circuit Clerk). Then they will have 180 days to certify to the Court that the required expungement action has been completed. (See: §15-27-6 Ala. Code, 1975) The following language or similar language will generally be contained in an Order of Expungement issued by Circuit Courts in Alabama:

“… ORDERED that any other Agency or Official having custody of records pertaining to the above-listed Charge and Case No. shall EXPUNGE, by collecting and sending said records to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), all records, including law enforcement records* , in the custody of the named Agency, Official, or Law Enforcement Officer pertaining to the above-listed Charge and Case No. ________ … It is Further Ordered that all proceedings related to the above listed charges are DEEMED NEVER TO HAVE OCCURRED. VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS PUNISHABLE UNDER ALABAMA LAW. “AN INDIVIDUAL WHO KNOWS AN EXPUNGEMENT ORDER WAS GRANTED PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER [§ 15-27] AND WHO INTENTIONALLY AND MALICIOUSLY DIVULGES, MAKES KNOWN, REVEALS, GIVES ACCESS TO, MAKES PUBLIC, USES, OR OTHERWISE DISCLOSES THE CONTENTS OF AN EXPUNGED FILE WITHOUT A COURT ORDER, OR PURSUANT TO A PROVISION OF THIS CHAPTER, SHALL BE GUILTY OF A CLASS B MISDEMEANOR.” Ala. Code § 15-27-16(a) (1975). *Including Alabama law enforcement records except privileged presentence or post-sentence investigation reports produced by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles and its officers, records, documents, databases, and files of the district attorney and the Office of Prosecution Services. Ala. Code § 15-27-6(a) (1975).” (See: State of Alabama Unified Judicial System Form CR-65D Rev. 4/2015)

For purposes of the Alabama expungement law, a “… RECORD… The term shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:

a. Arrest and conviction records.

b. Booking or arrest photographs of the petitioner.

c. Index references such as the State Judicial Information System or any other governmental index references for public records search.

d. Records relating to administrative suspension pursuant to Article 14 of Chapter 5A of Title 32, including driver license suspension records.

e. Other data, whether in documentary or electronic form, relating to the arrest, charge, or conviction.” Ala. Code § 15-27-9 (1975)

Additionally, for purposes of the Alabama expungement law, § 15-27-9(1) “CRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCIES” are defined in Section 41-9-590 as “… Federal, state, local, and tribal public agencies that perform substantial activities or planning for activities relating to the identification, apprehension, prosecution, adjudication, or rehabilitation of civil, traffic, and criminal offenders.

In practice, our law firm’s experience in Alabama expungement case procedure post-expungement order, the following generally happens: in a few weeks to a few months (but up to 180 days) the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) will mail a letter to the client informing them, in substance,  that the record(s) of the arrest and/or conviction that was ordered expunged has now been removed from the client’s State of Alabama Criminal Background Report and from the client’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Criminal Records Repository. An Alabama Expungement clears a criminal background report.

The result of this removal of records is a clear ALEA and FBI background report, in relation to the arrest and/or conviction that was expunged. Thereafter, if the client’s criminal history report is requested from ALEA (State of Alabama) or the FBI, the report will be clear and not reflect any indication the client was ever arrested, charged, and/or convicted in relation to the expunged case. If the client has had no other arrests / convictions, the client’s criminal report shall simply show in substance “Arrests: – None”. An Alabama Expungement clears a criminal background report.

Expungement of Records from Private Criminal Database Companies.

Is the record of the client’s arrest / conviction removed from non-government Criminal Background Reports (Private Criminal Database Companies)? Our Alabama Expungement law firm is often asked this question and the answer is generally, “Yes, when the private criminal database company either updates its records or is put on notice of the expungement order.” There are hundreds if not thousands of private criminal database companies that provide criminal history reports on individuals.

Unfortunately, some of these companies are more reputable than others resulting in many not updating records frequently. These companies provide many employers with backgrounds checks on potential employees during the job interview process. Federal law governs these companies because they provide “consumer reports” –  a non-government, private company providing criminal history reports for a fee.

However, Federal law currently does not mandate a minimum frequency of how often these companies must update their records. Reputable private criminal database companies may update their records very frequently, whereas less reputable companies may go a year or more without updating their records. Updating their records would include the company requesting any changes to the person’s criminal record from the court clerk and/or government (state/federal) criminal databases – ALEA / FBI.

Remember, after an order of expungement is issued in Alabama, the clerk of court and other agencies that previously had record of the charge that has since been expunged will respond that “no record exists” to requests for a case file that has been expunged (unless the request is from certain government agencies as provided in Alabama’s expungement statutes). Further, ALEA and FBI criminal reports will not reflect any record that the person was ever arrested / charged after the expungement order has been processed. Therefore, the private criminal database companies that request updates should then remove the record from their database at that point as well. 

Putting these private criminal database companies on notice of the expungement order is the fastest way to get the record removed with these companies. If our Alabama Expungement law firm represents you in successfully obtaining an order of expungement we can provide you with the resources that will put about 400 of the major private criminal database companies on actual notice of the expungement order resulting in them removing the record quickly. The reputable private criminal database companies are generally more than happy to remove an expunged record from their database when a copy of the order of expungement is provided to them.

If you need a clear criminal background report from a prior charge or misdemeanor conviction in Alabama that is eligible for expungement, contact Alabama Expungement Lawyer, Jordan M. Copeland to find out more details of representation in the petition for expungement process in Alabama. Email: [email protected] or call: (205) 924-3839.

Alabama Expungement Criminal Background Reports