Alabama recently passed a new expungement law, which permits some criminal records to be sealed. Expungement seals arrest records as well as court records for criminal cases. It is important to know what expungement is, what it is not, and under what circumstances expungement may be right for you.
Expungement is available for misdemeanor and felony offenses. This may be especially helpful with drug offenses, where prospective employers are known to refuse to hire someone with a charge…even without a conviction. It appears that traffic offenses, such as D.U.I. may also be covered. Sealing a record of a D.U.I. arrest removes a number of problems people face in many important areas of life.
Expungement is not available for convictions. In other words, if a person was found guilty after a trial, or pleaded guilty on a charge, the record is not presently subject to expungement. However, where a person accepts deferred prosecution or “good behavior,” expungement is possible.
In later posts, I will describe the timing and procedure for expungement. At the outset, expungement petitions cannot be filed before July 7, 2014, because the new law will not go into effect until then. The background work necessary to successfully seal a criminal case file can begin immediately. For this reason, it is important to start right away. It will probably take several weeks (if not months) to gather and prepare all necessary paperwork, pleadings and other documents.
Anyone with an arrest or court record in a case without a conviction, should begin making plans to seal these records immediately. If I can be of help, please feel free to call me to discuss how this new legislation can benefit you.