New Bill In Legislature Would Expand Alabama Expungement Law To Include Convictions For Misdemeanors And Some Felonies
A bill filed in the Alabama Legislature House of Representatives proposes to amend the Alabama Expungement Law to include convictions for misdemeanors, traffic offenses, city ordinance violations and Class C or D felony convictions. The bill also amends the law to specifically allow expungement for youthful offender adjudications.
The revision to the Alabama Expungement Law was filed by Representative Chris England on March 15, 2016 in the Judiciary Committee of the Alabama Legislature. The existing Alabama Expungement Law only applies to situations where the criminal charges are ultimately dismissed, no prossed, or where the person is acquitted. Under the new legislation the Alabama Expungement Law would be expanded to include convictions for misdemeanor criminal offenses, traffic violations, city ordinance convictions, and certain Class C and Class D felony convictions, as well as youthful offender cases. We have summarized the major changes proposed to the expungement law below.
Cases involving deferred programs, drug court, and diversion programs
The present law allows for expungement of cases which are ultimately dismissed. The new law provides that were dismissal is after successful completion of a drug court program, a mental health court program, a diversion program, veteran’s court, or other court-approved deferred prosecution program, the expungement will be available immediately if the parties to the case all agree. If no agreement is reached, a petition for expungement may be filed no earlier than one year after the successful completion of the program.
Cases involving convictions of misdemeanor criminal offenses, traffic violations, and violation of city ordinances
The proposed amendment to the expungement law allows for a petition to be filed to expunge a conviction of a misdemeanor criminal offense, a traffic violation, or a municipal ordinance violation, under the following conditions:
- All probation and parole requirements of been completed, including full payment of fines, costs, restitution, or other court ordered payments
- Three years have passed from the date of conviction
- The petitioner has no prior conviction of a violent felony offense as defined under Alabama law
- The petitioner is not a convicted sex offender
- The petitioner was not operating a commercial vehicle that require the person to possess a commercial drivers license at the time of the violation
- The petitioner was not convicted of any of the offenses set out in 49 C.F.R. § 383.51 (regarding disqualifications for CDL licenses)
Changes to the expungement of felony offenses where there is no conviction
The present law provides for the expungement of certain non-violent and non-sex related felonies where the charges are dismissed or the person is found not guilty, or where the charge is no-billed at the grand jury level. The proposed legislation changes the law to exclude from expungement cases in which a person is been found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Additionally, where the charge was a felony, and it was disposed of by a deferred program, a diversion program, drug court or other deferred prosecution, the expungement may be available immediately if there is an agreement between the parties. If there is no agreement between the parties the petition cannot be filed earlier than one year after the completion of the program.
Expungement of felony convictions for Class C and Class D felonies
The proposed new law allows for an expungement petition to be filed for the expungement of Class C andClass D nonviolent and non-sex related felonies under the following circumstances:
- All probation or parole requirements of been met and all fines cost restitution or other court-ordered amounts have been fully paid
- Five years is passed from the data conviction
- The person petitioning the court has no prior conviction of any felony offense
- The offense is not a violent felony is defined by Alabama law
- The offense is not a sex offense as defined by Alabama Code § 15-28–5
- The person is not a convicted sex offender
- The person does not have a criminal charge pending
Other Changes and Additions to the Expungement Law
Under the proposed law, if a petition is filed for the expungement of a misdemeanor or Class C or D felony conviction, the district attorney is obligated to make reasonable efforts to notify the victim about the petition for expungement.
The proposal adds a provision that the expunged records could be used in a criminal proceeding for the limited purpose of impeachment of a witness, but only where there’s a showing of contradictory testimony, and where the court enters an order allowing information to be used.
In addition the proposed law provides that the Alabama Justice Information Commission will prepare and present a written report to the Legislature on a yearly basis describing the type and number of records stored in the condition of their storage
Administrative Filing Fee
The filing fee of $300 for the expungement of cases where there was no conviction, or the person was found not guilty remains the same. For expungement petitions on convictions, the filing fee is set at $500.
The fact that this proposed legislation includes the expungement of convictions is very good news. We talk to people every day who call asking about expunging a case in which they had been convicted. Sadly, we explained to them that the present law does not allow for the expungement of a conviction regardless of whether it’s a misdemeanor, a traffic ticket or a felony. Hopefully, this legislation will pass and we will then be able to help many more people in Alabama expunge their criminal record. This is a very significant piece of legislation and we would encourage anyone interested in it to call their legislator and express their support for the passage of the bill.
The attorneys at Bradford Ladner LLP have assisted countless people concerning their desire to file exit on petitions to clear their criminal record. We filed numerous such petitions throughout the State of Alabama. If you are loved one has a question regarding whether your criminal record can be expunged, please do not hesitate to call. We would be more than happy to discuss your situation with you and determine whether you can find relief under the Alabama Expungement Law.
BRADFORD LADNER LLP