How Does Expungement Work in Alabama?
Alabama residents, charged with a non-violent crime but not convicted, may be able to have that charge expunged, meaning erased from their criminal record and from the public record, as well. Alabama’s expungement law is relatively new, only becoming effective a year ago, but understanding some of the benefits and requirements for eligibility can be very useful, if you have been charged with a crime, but not convicted.
What does it mean to be “expunged?”
When a criminal record is “expunged,” it means that the arrest record is “sealed” or erased, in the eyes of the law. It does not mean that it becomes entirely secret. Alabama’s law says that a person whose criminal arrest has been expunged, still has the duty to disclose the “fact of the record” to any government, regulatory or licensing agency, any utility or its affiliates or any bank or financial institution.
Does the record continue to exist anywhere?
The record must be sent to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, to be archived in a protected file. The record cannot be used for any non-justice related purpose. The record can only be made available when a criminal justice agency gives notice of an investigation of the individual.
Who is eligible for expungement?
Anyone who has been charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense, a traffic violation, or a municipal ordinance violation, as long as the charge was dismissed with prejudice, no-billed by a grand jury, the person was found not guilty of the charge, or the charge was dismissed without prejudice more than two years ago and has not been refiled. Criminal convictions cannot be expunged.
Can felony charges ever be expunged?
Only non-violent felony charges can be expunged if they meet the above criteria. This would exclude all of the following violent felonies: capital murder, murder, manslaughter, assault, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, robbery, burglary, arson, stalking, sexual abuse and domestic violence 1 and 2.
If you have questions regarding expungement, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law either online or by calling us at (205) 296-4233.