If you have been charged with a crime in Alabama and were found not guilty or the charges were dismissed in some way, you may be able to have your criminal record expunged. The process of an expungement is time consuming and tedious, and thus you need an attorney to make sure your rights are protected. There is no guaranteed right to an expungement in Alabama. The court has complete discretion to deny or grant your petition. Be sure to higher experienced counsel ready to help you clear your name.
Alabama has of the harshest expungement statutes in America. Until recently, Alabama didn't even have an expungement statute at all. Now, only certain crimes that meet very specific criteria are eligible for an expungement.
- What is an Expungement – An expungement is a legal process that begins by filing a petition to expunge a criminal arrest record. These records may be erased if the charges are violations, misdemeanors, or non-violent felonies or drug offenses. Any crime of violence, even if a misdemeanor cannot be expunged under current Alabama Law.
- Can a Criminal Conviction be Expunged -- Short answer, no. Currently, only charges that were dismissed, a defendant was found not-guilty by a jury or judge, or by some type of diversion process that normally happens in drug cases.
- Where is My Expungement Complaint Filed -- In the county where the crime was committed.
- Will I Have to go to Court --- Not necessarily. In most instances, you will never see a courtroom and the Court will issue an order without the need for you attending a hearing. However, if the State or Sheriff or another interested party objects to your expungement then you may well have a hearing on the matter and present evidence as to why the Court should grant the expungement.
- Should I hire a Lawyer --- Would you do brain surgery on yourself? Pull your own teeth? Absolutely you should always have an attorney any time you step into a courtroom where your interests need to be protected.
Non-convictions for non-violent felonies, misdemeanors, violations, traffic violations, or a municipal ordinance or violations (in state or municipal court, not federal charges) may be eligible to be expunged in Alabama if certain other factors and criteria are met. Common examples of charges that if resulted in a non-conviction can be eligible to petition for expungement include:
-Possession of Marijuana 1st or 2nd Degree
-Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
-Domestic Violence, 3rd Degree (misdemeanors)
-Possession of a Controlled Substance
-Any “non-violent” felony (defined by Alabama law) non-conviction
-Any misdemeanor non-conviction
-Any ordinance violation non-conviction
An expungement of a criminal charge, even if that charge has been dismissed, is extremely important. That arrest record will stay with you forever unless you file and are granted an expungement. Anyone, including employers, present or future, banks, police officers, future husbands or wives, anyone will be able to do a simple background search and find these charges that may paint you in a bad light, even if they were not true. Don't let these charges hang over your head forever. Hire an experienced expungement lawyer and sleep soundly at night knowing your reputation is protected.
If you or a loved one have a criminal charge on your record, please call Sam Dixon today. He may be reached at 205-414-7425. Mr. Dixon has handled expungement cases successfully in the past and would be happy to help. Call for a free consultation!