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.