THE ALABAMA REDEEMER ACT

New Alabama Expungement Law Passes

Allows Expungement of Felony and Misdemeanor Convictions

See More Information Below

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BRADFORD LADNER LLP
Serving Clients in Criminal and Civil Trials and Appeals
In all Federal Courts and Alabama State Courts
251-303-8800 / 205-802-8823

NEW ALABAMA EXPUNGEMENT LAW / 2021 / THE ALABAMA REDEEMER ACT

Alabama Expungement

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 will be effective on July 1, 2021. The new law is titled The Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment and Eliminate Recidivism Act; the REDEEMER Act.

The most significant change in the law is that the new Alabama’s Expungement Law allows for the expungement of criminal convictions of certain misdemeanor offenses, traffic violations, municipal ordinances, and felony offenses.

MISDEMEANORS

The old expungement law regarding misdemeanor charges that did not result in a conviction stays essentially the same, with the exception of slight modification of some time periods and the addition of expungement where the person completes particular programs.

Under the new Alabama expungement law, a person who has been charged with a misdemeanor, a violation, a traffic violation, or a municipal ordinance violation may file a petition to expunge the record under the following circumstances:

  • The charge was dismissed with prejudice and more than 90 days have passed.
  • The charge has been no billed by a grand jury and more than 90 days have passed.
  • The person has been found not guilty of the charge and more than 90 days have passed.
  • The charge has been nolle prossed without conditions, more than 90 days have passed, and the charge or charges have not been refiled.
  • 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 and the program was completed at least one year prior to filing.
  • When the charge was dismissed without prejudice more than one year ago, 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 two years.
  • When the person proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the person is a victim of human trafficking, that the person committed the misdemeanor criminal offense, violation, traffic violation, or municipal ordinance violation during the period the person was being trafficked, and that the person would not have committed the offense or violation but for being trafficked.

A MISDEMEANOR CONVICTION CAN NOW BE EXPUNGED WHERE THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA ARE MET:

  • All probation or parole requirements have been completed. Including payment of all fines, costs, restitution, and other court-ordered amounts. This must be verifiable with the applicable court or agency.
  • Three years have passed from the date of conviction.
  • The person was not operating a commercial vehicle at the time and convicted of any of the offenses enumerated in 49 C.F.R. § 383.51.
  • The conviction is not a violent offense, provided in Section 12-25-32.
  • The conviction is not a sex offense, as provided in Section 15-20A-5.
  • The conviction is not an offense involving moral turpitude, as provided in Section 17-3-30.1.
  • The conviction is not a serious traffic offense, as provided in Article 9 of Chapter 5A of Title 32.

FELONY ARRESTS AND CONVICTIONS

The old law regarding felony charges that did not result in a conviction stays essentially the same. Under the new Alabama expungement law, a person who has been charged, but not convicted of a felony may file a petition to expunge the record under the following circumstances:

  • The charge was dismissed with prejudice and more than 90 days have passed.
  • The charge has been no billed by a grand jury and more than 90 days have passed.
  • The person has been found not guilty of the charge and more than 90 days have passed.
  • The charge has been nolle prossed without conditions, more than 90 days have passed, and the charge or charges have not been refiled.
  • 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 and the program was completed at least one year prior to filing.
  • When the charge was dismissed without prejudice more than five years ago, 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.
  • When the person proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the person is a victim of human trafficking, that the person committed the misdemeanor criminal offense, violation, traffic violation, or municipal ordinance violation during the period the person was being trafficked, and that the person would not have committed the offense or violation but for being trafficked.

FELONY CONVICTIONS

FELONY CONVICTIONS CAN NOW BE EXPUNGED UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES

Where the person was convicted of a felony charge, they can file a petition for expungement where ALL of the following conditions are met:

  • The person has been granted a certificate of pardon with restoration of civil and political rights for the conviction from the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
  • All civil and political rights that were forfeited as a result of the conviction have been restored.
  • One hundred eighty days have passed from the date of the issuance of the certification of pardon.
  • The conviction is not for a violent offense as defined in 12-25-32.
  • The conviction is not a sex offense, as defined in Section 15-20A-5.
  • The conviction is not an offense involving moral turpitude, as provided in Section 17-3-30.1.
  • The conviction is not a serious traffic offense, as provided in Article 9 of Chapter 5A of Title 32.

ADMINISTRATIVE FILING FEE RAISED TO $500

The administrative filing fee is raised from $300 to $500. The administrative filing fee is in addition to any court costs or docket fee imposed by the specific circuit court where it i filed. At this time, we are not aware of any particular judicial circuits in Alabama who have imposed any additional court costs or filing fees on expungement petitions.

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.

MISCELLANIOUS CHANGES

The new law clears up the issue of whether the administrative filing fee is “per case or conviction.” In the past, some circuit courts were charging a separate filing fee for each individual case or charge. The new law makes it clear that when a petitioner is seeking the expungement of multiple charges arising from one arrest, only one administrative filing fee is due. But, where the person is seeking the expungement of multiple charges arising from multiple arrests, there is a separate administrative filing fee due for each arrest. It is still possible to apply for indigent status to file. If the circuit court finds the person indigent, the administrative filing fee is to be waived.

There is also an issue out there as to whether or not a person is entitled to have all separate charges that occurred at the same time expunged, or whether a court can restrict the expungement to just one of the charges and deny the remaining requests for the other charges that arose out of the same incident. This issue is presently before the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in an appeal that we are handling. But, the new law has removed the following language from the expungement statute: “The court shall have discretion over the number of cases that may be expunged pursuant to this chapter after the first case is expunged.” The removal of this language will most likely eliminate this issue.

The new law adds a provision that allows records to be made available to the Department of Human Resources for purposes of investigation or assessment.

The new law adds administrative drivers license suspension records to the list of records subject to expungement.

NEW ALABAMA EXPUNGEMENT LAW IN THE NEWS

MORE NEWS COVERAGE OF ALABAMA REDEEMER ACT

Bradford Ladner LLP has helped hundreds of clients expunge their criminal records since the passage of Alabama’s first expungement statute years ago. We are very excited about the changes to the law and the fact that we can now help expunge prior criminal convictions.

If you or a loved one has a prior criminal conviction that is preventing them from getting hired, advancing in the workplace, or is otherwise holding them back in life, contact us today and let us guide them through the new Alabama Redeemer Act and to a better life.

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