Interviewer: Can I get several things expunged from my record if I have several misdemeanors?
Brett Hollett: Currently there’s no limit. Again, it just says it’ll be under the sole discretion of the judge and you can request as many charges as you want to be expunged. I think this will help a lot of people that feel they were wrongly accused or they had unwarranted charges brought against them. We’re not talking about career criminals being able to just start over again. We’re talking about people that for whatever reason were caught up in some kind of dispute and a case was brought out of that dispute but then the case never progressed, meaning that the state or the district attorney decided there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed with the case so that case was eventually dismissed for some reason, or the case went to trial and that person was ultimately vindicated and a jury decided that person was not guilty.
Those are the type of people we’re talking about helping. We’re not talking about wiping clear career criminal’s records. We’re talking about individuals that have been wrongly accused or just may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Interviewer: They made an innocent mistake.
Brett Hollett: Yes. There’s a provision in the law that says if the citizen went through and completed a diversion program, whether that be a mental health court program or veterans court program or any kind of pretrial diversion program, and the case was dismissed, these are the type of people that can now have a second chance and get their arrest record wiped clean.
History & Future of Alabama Law
Interviewer: With Alabama law, do you think this is a game-changer, so to speak?
Brett Hollett: I think it is a game-changer for those people that were wrongly accused. I think there are tens of thousands of people out there that have been accused of a crime that they didn’t commit but have been forced to live with this record of their arrest all this time.
Interviewer: Do you know how long it took for that bill to pass, what the history of it was, and how long it has taken?
Brett Hollett: It’s come up almost at every legislative session for the last several years. I don’t know how many times they’ve tried to pass it, but it finally passed this year. Like I said, everybody is excited about it and everybody was hopeful. Again, I don’t think it’s the best expungement law in the country, but it’s a good start for us.
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