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Alabama’s Expungement Law in Effect but Few Know About It


New Alabama Expungement Law Allows for Expungement of Felony and Misdemeanor Convictions

On April 23, 2021, Governor Kay Ivey signed into law a new Alabama expungement law. The new law went into effect on July 1, 2021. The new law is titled The Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment and Eliminate Recidivism Act; the REDEEMER Act.


Alabama Expungement Laws received a major overhaul in 2021 by the Alabama Legislature. With the passage of Alabama Senate Bill 117, not only may dismissed misdemeanor cases be expunged; now, in Alabama, any felony case dismissed may be expunged and convictions for certain criminal offenses, including misdemeanors and felonies, may be expunged from a person’s record. As well, records relating to administrative DUI suspensions and driver license suspensions may be expunged. Further amendment tweaked filing requirements, wait times and the breadth of records allowable to be expunged.

Dismissal of Misdemeanor Cases

Alabama Expungement Statute 15-27-1 dictates:

A person who has been charged in any court of law in Alabama (including municipal court, district court, or circuit court) with a misdemeanor offense, a violation, a traffic violation, or a municipal ordinance violation may file a petition in the criminal division of the circuit court in the county in which the charges were filed, to expunge records relating to the charge in any of the following circumstances:


  • When the charge has been dismissed with prejudice and more than 90 days have passed.

  • When the charge has been no-billed by a grand jury and more than 90 days have passed.

  • When the person has been found not guilty of the charge and more than 90 days have passed.

  • When the charge has been nolle prossed without conditions, more than 90 days have passed, and the charge or charges have not been refiled.

  • When the indictment has been quashed and the statute of limitations for refiling the charge or charges has expired or the prosecuting agency confirms that the charge or charges will not be refiled.

  • When the charge was dismissed after successful completion of a drug court program, mental health court program, diversion program, veteran’s court, or any court-approved deferred prosecution program; a petition for expungement may be filed one year from the date of successful completion of said program.

  • When the charge was dismissed without prejudice and more than one year has passed, the charge has not been refiled and the person has not been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor in the following two years (excluding minor traffic violations).



Dismissal of Felony Cases

Alabama Expungement Statute 15-27-2 allows for expungement of dismissed felony charges in Alabama based upon the following criteria:

A person who has been charged with any felony offense may file a petition in the criminal division of the circuit court in the county in which the charges were filed, to expunge records relating to said charge under the following circumstances:

  • After 90 days: the charge is dismissed with prejudice, no-billed by a grand jury, the person has been found not guilty of the charge or the charge has been nolle prossed without conditions and the charge has not been refiled.

  • When the indictment has been quashed and the statute of limitations for refiling the charge or charges has expired or the prosecuting agency confirms that the charge or charges will not be refiled.

  • After 1 year: when the charge was dismissed after successful completion of a drug court program, mental health court program, diversion program, veteran’s court, or any court-approved deferred prosecution program.

  • After 5 years: when the charge was dismissed without prejudice, has not been refiled, and the person has not been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor crime, any violation, or any traffic violation, excluding minor traffic violations, during the previous five years



Limit Expungements

Specifically, Alabama Code Section 15-27-2.1 limits expungements as follows:

  • Unlimited: Any dismissed Misdemeanor and Felony Case, except if the dismissal was via the successful completion of a drug court program, mental health court program, diversion program, veteran’s court, or any court-approved deferred prosecution program

  • Two: Misdemeanor Convictions; Misdemeanor or Felony dismissal via successful completion of a drug court program, mental health court program, diversion program, veteran’s court, or any court-approved deferred prosecution program;

  • One: Felony Conviction (**unlimited if conviction because the victim of human trafficking)

With the passage of Senate Bill 117, by the 2021 Alabama Legislature, a radical change took place to Alabama Expungement Laws. Now, as never before, State Law in Alabama allows for the expungement of certain misdemeanor and felony convictions. Of course, there are exceptions and rules that must be applied to each individual case to determine eligibility under the new Alabama Expungement Laws.


AVAILABILITY OF RECORDS AFTER EXPUNGEMENT

Under the new law, even though the records are expunged, the records will still be available to the following:

  • A criminal justice agency

  • A district attorney, or a prosecuting authority for criminal investigation purposes

  • A utility and its agents and affiliates

  • The Department of Human Resources for the purpose of investigation or assessment in order to protect children or vulnerable adults

  • Entities or services providing information to banking. insurance, and other financial institutions as required for various requirements as provided in state and federal law

  • The Court, or officers of the Court for use in any civil matters related to the criminal charges expunged or seeking to be expunged regardless of the outcome of the petitioned expungement.

Certain misdemeanor and felony convictions are excluded from eligibility under Alabama Expungement Law. Consult a professional for more information.

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