As you work through the legal system with your criminal case, you may hear about the option of expungement. Expunging your criminal charges may be possible under certain conditions and with the help of a lawyer. Before you attempt to have anything on your criminal record expunged, there are a few things you should know. Here are four of those key points to know about expungement in Alabama.
1. Expungeable Offenses
The first step in having a criminal record expunged is to ensure your offense meets the qualifications for expungement. In Alabama, there are several types of criminal offenses or violations that can be expunged from your record. If you have multiple offenses, you may be required to obtain expungement for each offense individually.
One of the expungeable offenses is an arrest that did not result in conviction. For example, you may have obtained a computer from your work. If you quit the job and still had the computer, the business may have told you to turn it in. You turned it in, but the paperwork for theft was not stopped and you were arrested for theft of property. The authorities determined that you did not steal the item and the arrest was a mistake. You could then have this arrest taken off your record.
Basically, if you were ever arrested of a crime you didn’t commit or you otherwise weren’t convicted of that crime, you may be able to have the arrest expunged. A lawyer can help determine if other offenses on your record or expungeable.
2. Deferred Prosecution Expungement
There are some cases where you may have been accepted into a deferred prosecution program. These programs are generally for drug courts, traffic offenses, or similar cases. The courts will decide which program you are eligible for, and after serving a certain amount of time in that program, the charge will be dropped.
If you were part of this type of deferred prosecution program, and you successfully completed the program, you may be eligible to have the arrest and related charges expunged from your record. But you will need to ensure that you have notification from the court that you successfully completed the program.
Keep in mind that there is a one year waiting period, following the conclusion of your deferred prosecution program, before you can begin to file for expungement.
3. Paperwork and Petitions
You will need to petition a court to have any charges expunged. This petition requires the right paperwork to be included. Though your lawyer will let you know if there are specific items you need for your specific case, there are some forms you can gather on your own. These forms are items that you have access to from the local courthouse or annex.
You should include a letter stating that you satisfy the requirement for expungement, and that letter should be notarized. You will also need a certified copy of your criminal record that will show the charges and also show any circumstances or notifications that were connected to the charges. A certified arrest record may also be required.
4. Dismissed Cases and Waiting Periods
If you have a dismissed case, your case will be listed as dismissed with prejudice or without prejudice. The categorization of the dismissed case will matter when it comes to the waiting period for expungement.
If your case was dismissed without prejudice, then you must wait five years from the date of dismissal. After the five years has passed, you may then proceed with requesting expungement.
If your case was dismissed with prejudice then you must wait 90 days. However, during that 90 day period, the case must not be appealed or refiled. After the case has gone for 90 days with no appeal, refile, or acquittal, then you may proceed with filing for expungement.
If you believe that your criminal record meets the basic requirements to be expunged, contact The Friedlander Law Firm. We can schedule a consultation to review your case and determine the best way to proceed if expungement is an option.