It’s all to rare that we at Skier & Associates get to share actual good news out of the Alabama legislature, so the changes to Alabama’s Expungement law, which take effect this Summer, come as a very pleasant surprise to us. Some of the changes are those we have been advocating for in this space and elsewhere for years. Other changes were unexpected but still mostly positive.
The most dramatic change is a new provision allowing for those CONVICTED of many misdemeanor and felony offenses to be eligible for expungement under certain circumstances. We have written many times about the faulty logic behind excluding those who have received full pardons from the State of Alabama from expungement eligibility. This law addresses that issue. Further, the law clarifies some technical issues that caused confusion among Courts and practitioners, and revises the scheme for determining filing fees for expungement applicants. Those convicted of certain non-violent misdemeanors, and violations are now eligible to have their records expunged with various levels of eligibility requirements, waiting periods, and other requirements. Excluded from the qualifying convictions are “serious traffic offenses” like DUIs, “Crimes of Moral Turpitude” as defined by Alabama law, sex offenses and violent offenses.
The filing fee for each petition has been increased from $300 to $500, but importantly multiple charges stemming from a single arrest now require only ONE filing fee be paid, changing a provision that required a separate $300 filing fee for each and every count sought to be expunged. This will make a big difference to our clients.
The new law also cleans up some vague language in the prior law dealing with cases that were not dismissed by the Court, but instead Nolle Prossed by motion of the prosecutor. The new law includes language that will clear up the confusion in this area.
Perhaps the most dramatic change to the law concerns felony convictions. A person convicted of a felony may now petition to have their criminal record expunged if they have received a Pardon with Restoration of Rights via the State of Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. This represents a huge change in Alabama law, and one that we have advocated for years. If a person has proven to the Parole Board that they are worthy, we have long said that they should be entitled to apply for expungement of their case. Now this has become reality.
If you have questions about your eligibility under this new law, contact Skier & Associates today. One of our experienced lawyers who specialize in expungement cases will be glad to analyze your situation and let you know if we will be able to help you to leave your past behind.