Alabama Expungement Frequently Asked Questions
*UPDATED for the New, Expanded 2021 Alabama Expungement Law (REEDEMER Act) effective July 1, 2021 by: Alabama Expungement Attorney – Jordan M. Copeland
What is an “expungement” of a criminal record?
In Alabama an expungement of an eligible criminal record is the legal process initiated by the filing of a Petition for Expungement with the proper court requesting an Order of Expungement of a person’s prior, eligible criminal records. If ordered expunged, records of the eligible criminal charge / conviction will be expunged (“cleared”) to the extent of Alabama’s expungement law. Said records are then also removed from the State of Alabama Criminal Record Database with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and a request is sent to the FBI to remove the records from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Alabama cannot expunge charges from another state or a federal charge.
Can Criminal Convictions Be Expunged in Alabama?
At the time of updating these FAQs, beginning July 1, 2021 some misdemeanor convictions in Alabama will be eligible to petition for an expungement in Alabama. Also, some felony convictions that have been fully pardoned by the Alabama Bureau of Pardons & Paroles will also be eligible to petition for an expungement in Alabama. The new, expanded 2021 Alabama Expungement Law (the REEDEMER Act) provides the specific types of misdemeanor convictions and felony convictions that are eligible to petition for an expungement and the prerequisite requirements that must be met to be eligible. You may find more specifics on the conviction eligibility information on this website or contact our law office for eligibility requirements in your particular case.
Can my case be eligible for expunged if I was not convicted in Alabama?
Yes, if you meet the prerequisite requirements in the statute. Many people are unaware that even if your case was dismissed, you were found “not guilty” at trial (an acquittal), no-billed by a grand jury, nolle prossed, or some other form of non-conviction, the arrest records will continue to appear on your Alabama and Federal Background Reports. This is a major purpose of petitioning to expunge a case that resulted in a non-conviction.
Under the new 2021 Alabama Expungement law, if all other prerequisites and qualification factors are met, you can be eligible to petition to expunge ANY Alabama felony charge that resulted in some form of a non-conviction. This is an expansion of Alabama’s prior expungement law where “Violent Offenses” that resulted in non-convictions were only eligible if you were found “not guilty” at trial. This is no longer the law. Now, no matter the felony charge, if the case resulted in any form of a non-conviction, that case can now be eligible to petition for an expungement in Alabama. There are limitations on the numbers of some felony non-conviction cases that can be expunged depending on the circumstances of the non-convictions. Please review the information on this website for more details.
Also, under the new 2021 Alabama Expungement law, if all other prerequisites and qualification factors are met, ANY Alabama Misdemeanor or Violation that resulted a non-conviction may be eligible for expungement. This is an expansion of Alabama’s prior expungement law where “nolle prossed” misdemeanors were not specifically eligible for expungement under the plain language of the old expungement law. This is no longer the law. Now, “nolle prossed” misdemeanors and violations in Alabama, if the case resulted can now be eligible to petition for an expungement. There are limitations on the numbers of some misdemeanor and violation non-conviction cases that can be expunged, depending on the circumstances of the non-convictions. Feel free to review the information on this website for more details.
Is there a period of time I must wait before my case is eligible for expungement?
Yes. Depending on is your charge was a misdemeanor or a felony, non-conviction or conviction and how your case was disposed, the period of time you must wait before you are eligible to file a petition for expungement could be any where from 90 days to 15 years per the new Alabama Expungement law. We will evaluate you charge and let you know this information what the period of wait time is for your particular case before being eligible to file a petition when you reach out to our Alabama Expungement Law Office via email or phone. For certain types of charges, there is also a requirement that you have had no convictions in any other case within certain time periods before filing a petition for expungement.
Which Court In Alabama Will My Petition For Expungement Be Filed?
An Expungement Petition is filed with the Circuit Court of the county where the arrest or conviction for the charge seeking to be expunged took place. For example, if you were seeking to expunge the arrest record for a prior Domestic Violence, 3rd degree charge in the Municipal Court of Pelham, Alabama – your Petition for Expungement would be filed in the Circuit Court of Shelby County, Alabama.
What Must Be Included In My Petition for Expungement?
The statute law in Alabama provides for the mandatory information and content that must be included in a Petition for Expungement. Also, the statute provides for the requirement that either a Certified Record of Arrest or Certified Case Action Summary of the case must be attached to your petition as a mandatory exhibit. Also, your Alabama Criminal History Record from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) must be attached as a mandatory exhibit with your Petition for Expungement in Alabama. Further, the statute provides for the required method of filing the petition with the court and the necessary parties that must be served.
When you retain Alabama Expungement Lawyer, Jordan M. Copeland – we can represent you in handling the entire Petition for Expungement process. Visit the “Is My Case Eligible” section of our website here: https://expungementalabamalawyer.com/is-my-alabama-expungement-case-eligible/ to determine if your prior charge may be eligible for an Expungement in Alabama, or contact us for more information.
Will The Court Have a Hearing About My Expungement Petition?
It depends. The court will schedule a hearing if the alleged victim or the District Attorney files a written objection to the Expungement Petition being granted within forty-five (45) days from the filing and service of the petition. Otherwise, if there is no objection filed, and if the judge has enough information from your Petition to make a ruling, generally no hearing will be set. The judge may possibly set your petition for a hearing even without an objection from the District Attorney’s Office or alleged victim.
Are There Any Factors That the Court Takes Into Consideration When Ruling On My Expungement Petition?
Yes. The new 2021 Alabama Expungement Law states in part that “… there is no right to the expungement of any criminal record, and any request for expungement of a criminal record may be denied at the sole discretion of the court.” §15-27-5(c). There is a list of at least ten (10) specific factors the Alabama Expungement Law provides for the judge to consider when deciding whether to grant your Petition for Expungement when there is any objection from the District Attorney’s Office. Our law office prepares customized petitions for each expungement client to bolster and strengthen the petition. Our Alabama Expungement Law Office drafts petitions with the most positive supporting information for each client.
If I Still Owe Cost, Fees, Restitution or Fines, Can My Record Be Expunged?
Unless all court ordered monies have been paid in full, including court costs, restitution, fees, fines or statuary fees, an order cannot be issued expunging your arrest record, according to the Alabama Expungement law.
If I Do Not Live in Alabama, Can You Represent Me Seeking To Expunge An Arrest From Alabama?
Yes, if you live out of state or out of the area, we can represent you and an office visit is not necessary. No matter what state you reside and no matter what County in Alabama you were arrested, Expungement Lawyer, Jordan M. Copeland can represent you in seeking an expungement of your arrest record. The only time you would be required to appear would be if your case is set for a court hearing.
Do I Need To Hire a Lawyer To Represent Me?
Generally, it is advisable to hire an attorney to assist you with the preparation and filing of your Petition for Expungement for many reasons to put yourself in the best position possible to have a successful outcome. Further, in the event an objection is filed and your case requires a court hearing, it is also generally advisable not to represent yourself against the District Attorney’s Office in a court hearing in front of the Circuit Court.
For more information on your potential expungement case, email us at: [email protected], or call our office at (256) 378-6087 or (205) 924-3839.