In Alabama, you can now get some arrests and even criminal convictions erased permanently off of your record. This is called an Expungement. However, many stipulations do apply, so you may be wondering.. How do I know if I qualify to have my criminal record erased, or expunged? Keep reading to find out!
Many people have made some poor choices in their past and are still carrying around an arrest or criminal record. Having these items on your record greatly impacts one’s ability to land a great paying job, pass a simple background check, get car insurance, or even qualify for a home loan.
Alabama Updated Expungement Laws:
The good news is that in 2014, Alabama passed its first ever expungement law allowing people who had been charged of a nonviolent crime, but never convicted, to have their criminal record sealed or expunged. The even better news is that in January of 2021, Governor Kay Ivey signed into law, known as the “Redeemer Act” or Alabama Code Title 15. Criminal Procedure Section 15-27-1, an updated version of the 2014 law that allowed those who had been convicted of certain non-violent crimes to have their record expunged.
With the new law in effect those who may not have qualified with the 2014 law, may now qualify.
Who Qualifies to Apply for an Expungement:
It is important to note that regardless of whether you were charged with a misdemeanor, felony, the case was dismissed, or you were convicted, IF that original charge is considered a “violent” offense, you more than likely will not qualify for an expungement in Alabama. If you were convicted of any type of sex crime (unless you fall under the classification of being a victim of human trafficking), you more than likely will not qualify for an expungement in Alabama. For a list of what the state would consider a “violent” crime, click here.
When attempting to expunge any arrest or conviction, many other rules and regulations apply depending on the type of arrest or conviction. It is best to contact a qualified Criminal Defense Attorney located in the city or district you were originally arrested, charged or convicted.
Types of Cases:
We will address the following case situations, separately, in order to determine qualifications for an expungement in Alabama:
Misdemeanors (Public Intoxication, minor drug charges, first time DUI, etc.)
- Misdemeanor Charges, NO conviction.
- Misdemeanor Charges, AND a conviction.
Felonies (Multiple DUI’s, Drug Trafficking, Extortion, Burglary or Theft, etc.)
- Felony Charges, NO conviction.
- Felony Charges, AND a conviction
Misdemeanor Charge, but NOT Convicted:
If you were charged with a nonviolent misdemeanor, such as a Public Intoxication, DUI that resulted in no injuries or harm, a misdemeanor drug possession charge, or any other nonviolent misdemeanor, you could qualify to have those charges expunged off your record. However, your charge must have either been dismissed or you completed some type of pre-trial diversion program, drug program or any other court deferred prosecution program. Along with the completion of the program you participated in, you should have paid off any fines or fees and completed any court appointed classes or community service. Furthermore, you must wait a period of 90 days or up to a full year (12 months), depending on the type of charge and how the charge was eventually dismissed.
Misdemeanor Charge AND Conviction:
If you were charged AND convicted of a nonviolent misdemeanor, such as a Public Intoxication, DUI that resulted in no harm, a misdemeanor possession charge, or any other nonviolent misdemeanor, you could qualify to have that charge expunged from your record. Because there was an actual conviction, different rules will apply than a non-conviction expungement. You must make sure that any and all probation requirements have been completed along with any and all fines or fees paid in full. Furthermore, you must wait a period of three (3) years from the date of conviction to apply for an expungement. Also – it is important to note that you are only allowed to expunge two misdemeanor convictions in the State of Alabama.
Because no two cases are the same, we strongly suggest that you contact a qualified Criminal Defense Attorney located in the criminal court district that you were originally charged. A qualified attorney should be able to review your previous charges and determine whether you qualify to apply for an expungement.
Felony Charge, but NOT Convicted:
If you were charged with a felony, but NOT convicted, many of the same rules apply regarding your qualifications as they do with a non-conviction misdemeanor charge. Again, the original felony charge cannot be classified as a violent crime. Furthermore, the felony must have either been dismissed or you completed some sort of court deferred prosecution program. However, there is one difference, if there was an indictment, you must prove that the statute of limitations for refiling the charge or charges has expired, or the prosecuting agency has confirmed that the charge or charges will not be refiled. Learn More.
Felony Charge AND Conviction:
If you were charged with a felony AND convicted of that felony – you have a long road ahead attempting to get that felony conviction expunged from your record in Alabama. Not that it isn’t possible – but it will be extremely difficult.
The first and most important step you must achieve, is to be granted a certificate of pardon from the Board of Pardons and Paroles. However, not only do you need a certificate of pardon, you will need a certificate of pardon that includes a restoration of civil and political rights. (Click here to learn more about applying for a Pardon in the State of Alabama.) If you can get your pardon granted, you will then have to complete the process of getting your civil and political rights reinstated. And finally, you must wait 180 days from the date of the issuance of the pardon.
Now that you know who may qualify for an expungement in Alabama, it is also important to know that applying for an expungement is no guarantee that your charge or conviction will get expunged! The expungement process can be long and tedious. Furthermore, applying for an expungement is not free. There are usually attorney fees along with state required filing fees.
If you think you may qualify for an expungement and are ready to get your record cleared, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney, like Trip Walton, to schedule your expungement consultation today!