Record expungement is a legal process to have your criminal record erased or sealed. In the state of Alabama, it was very difficult to get an arrest or charge cleared from your record, even if you had already completed probation. Now the Alabama Senate has approved criminal charge expungement, which paves the way for many prior offenders to have their records expunged. According to reports, the Alabama Senate approved a bill that would allow individuals who were charged, but not convicted of certain crimes to have their records cleared.
Criminal allegations should not follow you, especially if you were not convicted of the crime. The new bill would give criminal defendants who were not convicted of criminal charges the ability to have their records wiped clean. Our Birmingham criminal defense attorneys are staunch defendants of our clients. We are committed to helping them protect their rights from arrest, through trial, and on post-conviction matters. Record expungement can be complicated, so it is important to consult with an attorney who is abreast of any changes in Alabama law.
Individuals who are wrongfully accused of a crime or who were acquitted based on a lack of evidence should not continue to suffer because of a criminal charge on their record. In many cases, individuals who were found not guilty of alleged crimes have suffered lost job opportunities because of their arrest records. While these cases may involve adult offenders, young people who made mistakes in high school or college may find that their records have followed them into their professional lives. Prior to this bill, Alabama charges could not be removed except under special circumstances.
It is not uncommon for an Alabama arrest record to follow an innocent person for the rest of their lives. Take for example a group of teenagers who are pulled over and drugs are found in the vehicle. The officer may choose to charge everyone in the car, even though the convictions for all passengers will not stand. In these cases, an innocent person may have an arrest record that cannot be expunged. If the bill passes in the House, those who were arrested and found not guilty can get their records expunged.
Currently the bill allows individuals who were not convicted to apply for expungement. The Senate removed a section that would have allowed an individual convicted of a misdemeanor or traffic violation to apply for expungement. The bill has additional sections that state certain crimes, including violent crimes, cannot be expunged. If the bill passes in the House, individuals seeking expungement would file a petition and pay a $600 fee. If the prosecutor objects to the expungement, then there will be a hearing on whether the petition should be granted. According to the bill, if the expungement is granted, the defendant will benefit from the sealing of all arrest records, including booking documents, photographs, and other police records.
If you were accused of child abuse or neglect but not convicted, you can seek the expungement of records. If you are interested in expungement of your criminal charges, consult with an experienced advocate who can review the facts of your case.