Since 2014, Alabama allowed expungement of records of individuals charged with a non-violent felony or misdemeanor. But individuals must comply with procedures to erase records from public view.
An individual’s eligibility for record expungement depends on their criminal law offenses. Records of charges of a misdemeanor criminal offense, a traffic violation or violation of a municipal ordinance are eligible. The individual had to be acquitted or the charge dismissed with prejudice, no-billed by a grand jury or dismissed without prejudice over two years earlier and not refiled.
Non-violent felony charges may be dismissed if there is a grand jury no-bill, dismissal of charges with prejudice or an acquittal. A person is also eligible for expungement after completing drug or mental health treatment, veterans court or another diversionary program.
Other grounds include dismissal of the charges with prejudice from five years earlier that were not refiled, and the person was not convicted of another felony, misdemeanor, or non-minor traffic violations during that time. Violent felonies are ineligible for expungement.
If approved, the court will order the expungement of all records in its custody and any other records held by agencies and officials. These include arrest records, booking or arrest photographs, index references for public reference searches and other documents or electronic records covering the arrest or charge.
Privileged reports of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole and the district attorney’s office are excluded.
Expungement means that the proceedings regarding the charges never occurred. Agencies must respond that no record exists if questions are submitted. Individuals do not have to reveal expunged information on job, credit, or other applications.
Individuals still must disclose expunged records to a government, regulatory or licensing agency, a utility or a bank or financial institution. These entities have to file notice with the court before inspecting these records.
Applicants needs to file a petition with the court in the county where the charge was prosecuted. It must contain a sworn statement, description of the charges, identification of the agencies involved and certified records for the case.
Applicants must pay a $300 administrative fee, any court costs, or administrative fees. All court fees, restation and fines must be satisfied.
The petition is also provided to the local district attorney, arresting agency and the clerk of court. The DA’s office should review the petition and try to notify any victims.
The DA may oppose the petition. The court will schedule a hearing to adjudicate any objections. The court may rule on expungement without a hearing if there are not objections.
Attorneys can assist with expungement. They may help protect your rights in criminal justice matters.