Criminal Record Expungement in Homewood
Technology makes it quite simple for a background check to turn up someone’s record of criminal charges and arrests, even if the charges were ultimately dismissed. This can have an impact on a person’s employment prospects, reputation, and opportunities to seek insurance, housing, and more. The state of Alabama offers a court process, if a person meets specific qualifications, to expunge a criminal record.
However, it is vitally important to retain the services of a Homewood expungement lawyer who can explain the nuances of your legal situation and help guide you through the process. Contact a compassionate criminal attorney to begin the petition process.Expungement Law
The first important thing to understand is that under current Alabama law, criminal convictions cannot be expunged from someone’s criminal record. If someone pled guilty or was found guilty by a jury of a charge, that charge is not eligible for expungement. Situations in which expungement of a criminal record is possible to include where the charges were dismissed with or without prejudice or where trial resulted in a not-guilty verdict.
Homewood expungement lawyers have seen that not all criminal records qualify for expungement. Violent felonies may not be expunged. Common types of arrest records that may be expunged are non-violent felonies, misdemeanors, traffic violations, and municipal ordinance violations. This means that records for many common crimes, such as DUI, third-degree domestic violence, and marijuana possession in the first or second degree are eligible for expungement.What are Waiting Periods?
The nature of how charges were dismissed can impact when someone is eligible to seek expungement. If the dismissal of a case was for the successful completion of a drug or alcohol treatment or deferred prosecution program, a person must wait one year from completion before seeking expungement.
If a person had misdemeanor charges dismissed without prejudice (meaning the District Attorney could refile the charges), they must wait for a two-year period and incur no further criminal convictions other than minor traffic offenses during the two-year period, before they can seek expungement.
If charges were dismissed against a person without prejudice for a non-violent felony, they must wait five years before seeking expungement. For non-violent felonies dismissed with prejudice, a person must wait 90 days before seeking expungement.Expungement Process
A person must file a petition for expungement in the Circuit Court of the county where their criminal charges occurred. The parts of a petition include:
- A sworn statement
- A statement of whether the person has previously sought expungement in any jurisdiction
- A certified arrest record
- A certified criminal record
- A specification of what agency or department made the arrest
Once a petition for expungement is filed, the District Attorney has 45 days to file a written objection if they object to the expungement of the person’s record. If the District Attorney files such an objection, there will be a hearing with a judge on the expungement. The factors a judge will consider include the nature of the criminal charges, the date of the alleged offense, age, whether it was an isolated incident, whether the dismissal of the charge was part of a negotiated plea, and evidence of rehabilitation.
Expunging a criminal record can make a big difference for someone’s future. The process can be complicated and it is important to put yourself in the best position to succeed, and not miss any steps. A thorough and experienced Homewood expungement lawyer can make all the difference in the success of an expungement petition, so do not hesitate to seek advice from a qualified attorney.