Can You Have Your Criminal Conviction Expunged from Your Record?

Interviewer: If someone that had a prior arrest or conviction, could their case get sealed or expunged?

Zach Peagler: We just had an expungement law passed for the first time in Alabama this last legislative session, so it doesn’t go into effect until July but it’s going to be a great mechanism for people that were charged with certain cases where they were either not guilty or did a deferred prosecution arrangement. If they meet certain parameters, they can apply to the circuit court it that jurisdiction to have their record expunged.

Look-Back Period

Interviewer: Is there a look-back period where a second offense is considered to be a first offense again?

Zach Peagler: In the realm of DUI there is a look back period of five years. If you’re charged with your second DUI but it’s more than five years after your first DUI, then it’s still considered a first-time offense. Now, the caveat to that is that first-time DUIs are punishable by up to a year in the county jail and carry high fines, so the judge and prosecutor are going to be aware that you’ve had a previous DUI, even if it doesn’t fall under the five-year window. They could still choose to punish you more harshly, knowing that it was your second DUI.

In the felony realm, there’s a habitual offender law in Alabama. There is no look-back period on those. If you’ve got a previous felony conviction, then you’re going to be subjected to higher incarceration periods and higher fines, regardless.

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