Expungement in Alabama: Wipe your criminal record clean

There are new opportunities to get your Alabama criminal record expunged which may assist many individuals in obtaining employment.

A criminal charge can follow you throughout your life, making it difficult to obtain a job, secure credit or find housing. In 2014, Alabama passed legislation allowing many individuals arrested or charged with a crime- but not convicted- the opportunity to have crimes erased from their record. Expungement gives individuals a fresh start and the freedom to make decisions without worrying about the implications of a criminal record.

What types of crimes can be expunged?

Generally speaking, arrests or charges that meet the following two conditions are eligible for expungment:

  • The charge is a traffic violation, misdemeanor, non-violent felony or municipal ordinance violation
  • You were found not guilty, the charge was "dismissed with prejudice," or "no billed" by a grand jury

Charges "dismissed without prejudice" or dismissed upon the completion of certain programs may also be eligible for expungement in some cases after the required time has passed. An attorney can provide further guidance in this area.

Benefits of expungement

Although "innocent until proven guilty" is a hallmark of our judicial system, a potential employer doing a background check may not give a job applicant the benefit of presumed innocence. Charges for a DUI or other offense may result in an applicant not getting a position. Moreover, an applicant may never even be told why they did not receive a job offer.

With advancements in technology and electronic data, people's criminal backgrounds are more available than ever. Expungement gives people a clean slate. They can pursue a job or make other decisions without worrying about past charges affecting their future.

Records that are expunged include arrest records, index references for public records searches, and other documentation related to the charge or arrest. An individual no longer needs to disclose expunged charges to employers (there is an exception for law enforcement or corrections positions). In response to inquiries, courts and other agencies must state that no record exists.

How to get your record expunged

There are several steps that need to be taken to get your record expunged including paying a fee of $300 to the court. The District Attorney and any victims (if applicable) may oppose the expungement petition so there is no guarantee an expungement will be granted. Joel L. Sogol can assist you in gathering the required documentation, filing the petition for an expungement, and advocating on your behalf in any proceedings.

Keywords: expungement, criminal record, Alabama