Interviewer: What would qualify someone for expungement?
Brett Hollett: A person is eligible if they’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense, a traffic violation, or a municipal ordinance violation, and if any of those charges were either dismissed with prejudice, no-billed by the grand jury, the person was found not guilty, or the charge was dismissed without prejudice more than two years ago, has not been refiled and the person has not been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor during the previous two years. Additionally, some felony charges are also eligible for expungement if the felony was dismissed with prejudice, no-billed by a grand jury, the individual was found not guilty, the successful completion of a pretrial diversion program like drug court, mental health court, veterans court, or any other court-approved deferred prosecution program after one year from completion of the program. A person may also be eligible if the felony charge was dismissed without prejudice more than five year ago, has not been refiled and the person has not been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor during the previous five years. Violent felony offenses are not eligible for expungement.
Interviewer: What are some examples of some felony charges that are not eligible for expungement?
Brett Hollett: Violent felony offenses are defined by the Alabama Code, but some examples are murder, manslaughter, assault, kidnapping, rape, a lot of offenses that involve minor children such as sexual abuse. Burglary is also included, as well as arson, robbery, and then the higher degrees of domestic violence like domestic violence in the first or second degree. Domestic violence in the third degree is a misdemeanor and would still be eligible to be expunged.
An Expungement Works for a DUI
Interviewer: Would the expungement also work for a DUI?
Brett Hollett: It would. Yeah, a DUI in the state would be a misdemeanor charge, or if it were a felony, a DUI would be considered nonviolent.
Interviewer: What sort of drug possession charges could get expunged?
Brett Hollett: Right now, all of them, except for trafficking. Any felony possession, any misdemeanor marijuana possession case – all of those are eligible to be expunged under the current law.
Interviewer: How long does someone need to live in the state in order for them to be eligible for that?
Brett Hollett: That’s not a requirement. The only requirement is the petition has to be filed in the Circuit Court of the county where the case was brought against them. They could live here a month or two months or a year, 10 years – it doesn’t matter, as long as whatever has happened happened in the county where you want to file the petition. If you were charged with DUI in Jefferson County and you were found not guilty or the case was dismissed, we would need to file that petition in Jefferson County. There is no residency requirement.
Interviewer: What about federal or military charges? Can those be expunged?
Brett Hollett: Maybe. It’s a different court system, so different laws and rules would apply.
Interviewer: How will this process pertain to minors or people under the age of 18?
Brett Hollett: Their records are already sealed as a juvenile. Again, there wouldn’t really be a need for somebody who’s a juvenile also to have their record expunged because their record is already going to be sealed and it would fall under the same protections as what citizens would receive under the expungement.
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