Is it Possible to Expunge My Criminal Record in Alabama?

Do you have a previous arrest that is not only a source of embarrassment for you but is also an impediment in your career? Fortunately, a seasoned criminal defense lawyer can likely get it erased from your criminal records if the charge was resolved favorably and was not a violent felony?

 

Criminal charges do not automatically get expunged in Alabama, and you must take necessary action. A skilled expungement lawyer will help you in collecting all the records that are required for the petition. Besides, they will assist you in developing the petition to ensure that it is per the law as well as written in a manner that increases your chances for a favorable result. If a hearing is scheduled, your attorney will prepare for it with you, including preparing you for court testimony, if required.

 

What is Expungement?

Expungement aims to erase a criminal arrest, charge, and prosecution from your record. Under Alabama law, when a case is expunged, the arrest and charge are eliminated from your official criminal history in the state records. Following an expungement, the proceedings on the charges are deemed to never have taken place. Except in specific situations, the court and other agencies must reply to any query that no record exists on the earlier proceedings.

 

Moreover, the person whose record has been expunged does not have a duty to disclose the record or any matter relating to it, except in limited circumstances. However, the person still must disclose to any government regulatory or licensing agency, any utility and its agents and affiliates, banks, and other financial institutions.

 

What Types of Criminal Charges can be Expunged?

If one of the below-mentioned criteria is met, a non-felony charge (a traffic violation, a violation, a misdemeanor criminal offense OR a municipal ordinance violation) may be expunged:

 

  • there was a dismissal of the charge with prejudice
  • the charge was no billed by a grand jury
  • the defendant received a not guilty verdict for the charge
  • the charge was dismissed without prejudice over two years ago and has not been refiled subsequently, and the defendant has not received a conviction for any other misdemeanor or felony crime, any traffic violation, or any violation, besides minor traffic infractions, during the past two years

 

Expungement of a non-violent felony charge is possible in the following cases:

 

  • the charge was dismissed with prejudice
  • the charge was no billed by a grand jury
  • dismissal of the charge following the successful completion of a substance abuse court program, mental health program, veteran’s court or any court-approved deferred prosecution program, diversion program AND over one year has elapsed since the successful completion of the program
  • dismissal of the charge without prejudice over five years ago and the charge was not refiled as well as the petitioner has not received a conviction for any other misdemeanor or felony crime, any traffic violation, or any violation, besides minor traffic offenses, during the past five years
  • 90 days have elapsed from the date of dismissal with prejudice, acquittal, no bill or nolle prosequi and the charge has not been refiled subsequently

 

What does the Process for Filing an Expungement involve under Alabama Law?

A Petition for Expungement is filed in the same jurisdiction where the charge was initially filed. The petition is prepared and filed with the Circuit Court (in the respective jurisdiction), and must include the following:

 

  • Under the penalty of perjury, a sworn statement made by the individual seeking the expungement that they have upheld the requirements of the Alabama Expungement statute section of the Alabama Code.
  • Must inform whether the person seeking the expungement has applied for an expungement in any jurisdiction in the past.
  • A certified record of arrest, case action, or disposition from the relevant agency for the Court record seeking to be expunged
  • A certified official criminal record acquired from the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.
  • A specific criminal charge description from the record to be considered along with the department or agency where the arrest occurred or where the petitioner was detained or incarcerated.

 

Legal Assistance in Expungement of Criminal Record by Seasoned Defense Attorney in Alabama

Expungement is an excellent opportunity for you to clear your record. However, it can be a prolonged process, and approval is at the court’s discretion. For this reason, it is of paramount importance to work with a skilled expungement attorney. At the law offices of Zach Peagler, a seasoned Alabama expungement lawyer can help you navigate the complex judicial system.

 

We can help determine whether your arrest record is eligible for potential expungement and will guide you on the necessary steps for a more successful future. At Zach Peagler law firm, we believe in second chances. For a free case review, call (205) 871-9990 today.

 

How Does a Criminal Conviction Impact Future Employment?

Making mistakes is an indelible part of the human experience, but for some who have been convicted of a crime, the consequences can last for a lifetime. Sometimes, an impulsive decision can lead to humiliation and loss of freedom on being arrested and incarcerated.

 

Many people utilize their time in prison to rehabilitate themselves. Jail offers an opportunity to detox for inmates who were on drugs. Many people enroll in reading classes, obtain a GED, or even register for college classes while behind bars with the genuine intention of making their lives better. They fully intend to be honest, law-abiding citizens.

 

But the ability of such people to rehabilitate themselves is affected by laws or the absence of laws that allow employers to discriminate against people with a criminal record. Often times, these regulations are contrary to the public policy of enabling rehabilitation.

 

These laws compromise the initiatives of people who want to better their life situation. This dichotomous occurrence has prompted many government agencies to pass laws and implement programs to change this dynamic.

 

Collateral Consequences on Job Prospects

 

There are a variety of collateral consequences that a person may face after committing a crime. A common consequence for many people convicted of a crime is that their employment prospects suffer negative effects as employers do not give them a chance after they come to know about their criminal conviction.

 

Sometimes these consequences are reasonable and backed by a sense of logic. But in other cases, there is less logical reasoning. For instance, preventing someone from getting a job because of some indiscretion they committed several years ago.

 

Unfortunately, there is no federal law that forbids discrimination on the basis of a criminal record. In fact, it has been found by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and some courts that using a person’s criminal conviction to refuse employment may be classified as a type of racial discrimination.

 

The reasoning for the above is that the arrest and conviction rates for specific racial groups are disproportionately high, which means that the use of criminal convictions to refuse employment may, in reality, be a way of concealing racial discrimination.

 

Immediate Termination of Employment

 

If an employee has been convicted of a crime, particularly a felony, many employers provide for the immediate termination of the convicted employee. In certain cases, such termination is only limited to convictions that are directly related to the position or a felony conviction that highlights to moral issues.

 

Sometimes a conviction may not directly cause immediate termination, but the employee may lose their job anyway due to time off work during their sentence or while they appear in court to handle their legal matters.

 

Exclusion from Certain Professions

 

If a person has a felony conviction, they will be prohibited from working in certain professions. For instance, school districts may not employ such people to teach or undertake other tasks in the district. Registered sex offenders are disallowed from working in any profession that necessitates a check of such registration prior to employment. Union rules may prohibit employing a felon.

 

If you have been convicted of a felony related to alcohol and substances, transportation companies may not be willing to hire you as a commercial truck operator as you will likely be perceived as a safety concern to driving a large truck. Companies will not be willing to put themselves up for allegations of negligent hiring by knowingly employing a convicted felon.

 

In cases where a business is willing to hire someone with a criminal record, the insurer would insure the employee at much higher rates, which can further be a roadblock to potential employment.

 

Background Checks

 

Before extending the offer letter, many companies perform background checks. Such checks can reveal a possible criminal record of the applicant under consideration. The applicant can typically face termination of employment if they fail to report the conviction on an application.

 

Clearing a Criminal Record in AL

 

In the state of Alabama, there are no provisions for the expungement of adult convictions. But it is possible to expunge dismissed.

 

Misdemeanor and non-violent felony records, which did not lead to a conviction, are usually eligible to be expunged. Such erasure is possible even if the charges were dropped after the successful completion of a diversion program, drug court program, mental health court program, or veteran’s court program.

 

In addition, Alabama frequently grants pardons. The pardon process to record clearance is a feasible relief option in Alabama, unlike many states.

 

Legal Assistance from Well-Qualified Criminal Defense Lawyers

 

The criminal defense lawyers at Zach Peagler Law Firm are highly skilled in the area of pretrial litigation strategies. Our attorneys understand that every case can potentially change the life course of any person facing a criminal lawsuit.

 

We have a proven and successful track record, and we will have your back throughout the complex judicial process involved in criminal cases. To speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney, call today at (205) 871-9990.

 

Concussions From Slips And Falls

Today’s topic written by Aaron Crane, an experienced personal injury attorney in Phoenix at Cantor Crane, is a discussion about concussions. A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head, a fall or any other occurrence resulting in jarring or shaking of the brain inside the skull. A person can suffer a concussion without any visible injuries to the face or head.

Those who suffer from concussions don’t always lose consciousness as a result. People can recover from minor concussions within a few hours. More serious concussions may take a few weeks to heal fully. A person who has suffered a concussion will require monitoring by a medical professional.

What Causes a Concussion?

The brain is a soft organ surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid that acts as a cushion against shock or brain damage. Generally, the cerebrospinal fluid prevents the brain from striking the skull. However, if the head or the body receives a hard blow, the brain may crash into the side of the skull and become bruised.
Concussions often occur as the result of:

• Playground injuries
• Automobile accidents
• Slips and falls
• Fights

They can also occur during contact sports such as football and boxing. Hockey, skiing and snowboarding are other common causes of concussions.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

Depending on the severity of the injury, the victim of a concussion may display blatantly obvious symptoms or extremely subtle symptoms. These symptoms can occur immediately or hours and days later. Obvious signs of a concussion include loss of consciousness, vomiting, headache and slurred speech. More subtle symptoms include sensitivity to light and noise, ringing in the ears and changes in taste or smell. Some symptoms may develop over time and include:

• Sleep disturbance
• Amnesia
• Depression
• Irritability

When to Visit ER

The severity of your injury will determine your medical treatment. The Mayo Clinic recommends immediate emergency care if the injured party is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

• Loss of consciousness
• Stumbling
• Clumsiness
• Repeated vomiting
• Severe confusion
• Behavioral changes

If in doubt, always err on the side of caution. If you are unsure whether a person is exhibiting symptoms of a concussion, contact a medical professional immediately.

Multiple Concussions

Concussions are increasingly dangerous if they are experienced multiple times. Having a previous concussion may make you more likely to experience another if you hit your head again. Those who have had multiple concussions over the course of their lives are at an increased risk for long-lasting and potentially permanent impairments as a result of these injuries.

Let Us Help

A concussion can be a life-changing injury and should not be taken lightly. If you think someone else is at fault for your injury, consider contacting an accident injury attorney. An accident injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve after you’ve been wrongfully injured. The medical expenses incurred as the result of a concussion should not be taken lightly. If you or someone you know has suffered a concussion, contact Cantor Crane at (602) 254-2701 or visit our website at www.cantorcrane.com. We look forward to working with you.

Fultondale Man Sentenced After Pleading Guilty In Beating Death Of Elderly Man

Attorney Zach Peagler comments on news item in www.AL.com about a Fultondale man who will serve 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing an elderly man by beating him.

This seems to be a very favorable plea for this defendant, who was initially facing a capital murder charge.  If he had been convicted of capital murder, he would have been sentenced to either life without the possibility of parole or sentenced to death.  Additionally, by pleading guilty to the Class B Felony of Manslaughter, he will be eligible for parole in a shorter time frame than if he had pled or been convicted of the Class A Felony, murder. 

With 3 prior felony convictions, I would say this defendant should count himself lucky with this result.  That, most probably is a result of the State’s case being difficult to prove.  From a capital murder standpoint, the State would have had to prove that a murder happened during the course of another felony, namely burglary.  The article mentions that the two men knew each other, making burglary more difficult to prove, particularly if there were no other witnesses.  Additionally, the fact that they were in a dispute may point to the fact that the death was not caused intentionally. 

Danger At Work: After 4 Killed Tuesday In 2 Shootings, Experts Offer Advice On Prevention

Attorney Zach Peagler comments on news item in www.AL.com about an employee at UPS facility, who after killing two of his co-workers killed himself as well.

The tragedy at the UPS facility in Birmingham really hit close to home. This article addresses a serious consequence of the shootings, namely the additional fear and anxiety that results in the survivors of these senseless acts; not just the families but the co-workers and the public in general. The sadness and loss felt by the families of the direct victims is almost unimaginable.

From a legal standpoint, UPS is going to have to take a look at better security at not just this facility, but all of their facilities. I feel certain an internal investigation will be done and reveal inadequacies in various policies and procedures in place at the time of, and leading up to the shooting. Hopefully, these inadequacies can be addressed to prevent future incidents, and educate other businesses on how to better prevent senseless acts of violence such as this one.

If not, and even if so, there may be an outside investigation into these policies and procedures if the families of the victims demand answers on how an armed former employee, with presumably no current credentials, so easily infiltrated a secure facility and shot two former co-workers.