How Felony Expungement Works In Alabama
A felony charge in the state of Alabama carries some serious consequences. While most people think of felonies as violent crimes like murder, kidnapping, and arson, one can be charged with a felony for a variety of serious, but nonviolent crimes like shoplifting more than $500 of merchandise, or possession of a controlled substance. While these crimes may be serious, they shouldn’t disqualify a person from being able to get a job, own property, and regain control of their life once they have served their time. To regain their rights, many people in Alabama look to receive an expungement. The expungement process can be difficult and it can be confusing to navigate the expungement laws that just recently changed in 2021 on your own. Here is a simple explanation of how felony expungement works in Alabama.
What Is The Purpose Of Having A Felony Expunged From Your Record?
There is a major difference in the purpose of receiving an expungement versus receiving a pardon and restoration of civil and political rights. Receiving a pardon only occurs when one has been convicted of a felony crime and serves out their prison sentence. The difference between a pardon and receiving an expungement is that one can receive an expungement of the charge if found not guilty of the crime that one has been charged with.
Essentially, receiving an expungement makes it so that the charge never appears on your record, with some exceptions. An expungement makes it much easier to pass background checks when applying for a job. An expungement also makes it easier to navigate your finances by allowing for easier access to loans when purchasing a property.
It is very important to receive an expungement, to not limit the opportunities available to one in the future.
What Is The Process Of Receiving An Expungement?
The 2021 Alabama REDEEMER act has put an expungement system in place for Alabama residents that is broad and encompasses many different kinds of charges.
To receive an expungement, one must meet the qualifications for expungement. These qualifications can be found within the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s criminal expungement kit: https://www.alea.gov/sites/default/files/expungement-forms/Expungement-Kit.pdf
The petitioner will also need to pay a fine, that the 2021 REDEEMER Act increased from $300 to $500.
Once the petition is filed a judge will be assigned to the case and determine whether or not the record will be expunged. There will only be a hearing in an expungement case if a victim or district attorney files a written objection, but even in that case, the expungement may still go through.
Is Anyone Ineligible For An Expungement?
It is important to note that while the 2021 Alabama REDEEMER Act for expungement applies to all misdemeanor and felony charges, it only applies to some misdemeanor and felony convictions. The new felony expungement law does not apply to felony convictions that are violent, involve sexual crimes, serious traffic crimes, and crimes of moral depravity.
It is also worth noting that while an expungement removes the record of a charge or conviction to public background checks, the charge or conviction is still visible to government background checks, as well as to other government entities like the Court, and district attornies, and the Department of Human Resources.
If you are facing a felony or even misdemeanor charge and are looking for a top-tier attorney to help you avoid a conviction, look no further than Tim Fleming Law. Tim Fleming has been specializing in defending those who have been unfairly charged in Mobile, Alabama for over 30 years. Call or contact Tim Fleming Law today to get the quality, passionate legal defense that you deserve.