Frequently Asked Questions

Q. This was a ticket i got as a juvenile. I was 16 at the time and got into some trouble right after and sent to boot camp. All of this was supposed to be taken care of by my probation officer so i thought nothing else of it when i got out. I straightened up got married and 10 or 11 years later i relieved something saying they were pulling my license. Can they do this and is there not a time frame where they can act on this ticket?

A. Your license could be suspended for several reasons. You could have accumulated too many driving record points on your license; received too many traffic violations; failed to appear in court or failed to pay any court ordered monies. It sounds like this ticket was never properly handled and you either failed to pay the fine and/or simply did not show up in court. If you failed to appear in court, an alias warrant could be issued for your arrest and your license would be suspended. I would suggest call the county or municipality that has the ticket and take care of this ASAP. Once the ticket is cleared up you will need to apply to have your license reinstated and pay the reinstatement fee.

Q. I was convicted of Manufacturing 2nd Degree, child endangerment, and resisting arrest. All of which was trumped up charges. I was caught at Wal-Mart with components used to manufacture methamphetamines. I did not have any drugs on me and my children were with me. I was thrown around and treated as if I was filth. I was slammed down and did nothing to obtain a resisting arrest charge. I was however taking those components to a person who was cooking meth. I was an addict and I am grateful for the sentence. It allowed me the time to realize that I did not want to love this way. I have a beautiful family that I would never leave again. I have an education and qualifications to obtain a decent career but I am overlooked because if my background. I can’t change my past, I can only move forward.

A. Unfortunately you are not eligible for an expungement. The expungement law in AL does not apply to convictions. An individual may only petition for expungement if their case was either dismissed or nol prossed. You can apply for a pardon with the Board of Pardons and Parole in Montgomery but that will not solve your problem with the background checks. A pardon is not an expungement. A pardon will not erase the record of an arrest or a conviction. If you are granted a pardon, the Parole Board may grant you a full pardon, which would restore all your rights (civil and political), or they may grant a pardon with restrictions. The Board could restrict your right to possess a firearm among other things. Receiving a full pardon is extremely difficult and only occurs in a few cases. However, if you received a pardon you could inform any would be employers that the State has formally forgiven your offense.

Q. Trying to find any cases in Alabama where diminished capacity or insanity plea was used successfully, I was on Haldol and had large brain tumor. What should i plead?

A. It depends upon the other facts in the case, namely the breathalyzer results, smell of alcohol, alcoholic beverage containers or other evidence of alcohol. Additionally, if there were field sobriety tests performed as a part of the arrest, can your doctor now say that any poor results were attributable to the tumor?

In Alabama, you can enter a plea of not guilty and a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. However, if you want to proceed with the mental disease or defect defense at trial, you will need expert testimony to state that the Haldol and or tumor were the reason that you appeared intoxicated. Additionally, even if the Haldol was responsible, the State could amend the subsection of the DUI code under which you are charged and proceed with a case for you being under the influence of that substance.

Q. I have been diagnosed in past with anxiety dis-order. I am struggling in A.A. meeting revealing personal info. CRO recommended I attend meetings for 9 months. Can this be reduced or eliminated if i pay court cost and fines?

A. The Court Referral Officer will likely file a delinquency report with the court and the Judge can issue a warrant for your arrest for failure to abide by the terms of your probation. You likely have a suspended jail sentence of 30 – 90 days and the Judge could put that sentence into effect.

The fines and court costs probably have less to do with it than talking to the CRO. The CRO would probably have the ability to release you early if they felt you had completed the “treatment” goals that were ordered.

Q. I sold a vehicle to a woman and she paid me cash, I mailed off the payoff but the company claims it was never received. The company then reposed the vehicle. The lady filed charges but never signed an arrest warrant because I had an attorney draw up an agreement saying I would pay her X amount a month until she was paid back her money. I never intentionally meant to hurt this woman and have cooperated with her fully. However, I am 7 months pregnant and without a job because of medical issues with my pregnancy. I am highly short on paying her this month, I will be giving her all I have but it’s barely a 3rd. Can she still file charges since I am trying to rectify? I can explain it to her but she is very wishy washy about being cooperative.

A. It sounds like she could still file charges, but I would suggest that you talk to her about your plight and see if she’ll work with you. Make sure you keep the written agreement in case she does attempt to file charges, and speak with an attorney ASAP if you feel that charges will or have been filed.

A. It depends on the facts of the case and the jurisdiction, among other things. A lot of times you can work out a deal with the District Attorney and the victim whereby the defendant can pay full restitution, in return for a reduction of the charge or even a dismissal.

Q. It depends on the store as far as how they would handle it, but yes a lawyer can contact the victim in the case. I already admitted to 4600 dollars and he had me write a note discussing how much i took and I was recorded. I know that was a bad thing for me to do but I didn’t know my rights and I was terrified. I thought if I didn’t say anything he would have called the police on me then and there. He gave me a “Restitution Agreement and Promissory Note” stating that I will pay back the 4600 dollars in payments every month. He and I sign it. He told me I wouldn’t be charge because he chooses if they press charges or not. He Lied, and now I’m going through this “First Degree Theft” thing. Will I be able to avoid jail time and just pay back the $ Iike we discuss?

A. You should hire a lawyer as soon as possible, keep all evidence of the promissory note and other recordings and have your lawyer begin discussions with the district attorney before the court date approaches.

Q. My husband was arrested for DUI in Foley, Baldwin County, by a Sheriff. When I bonded him out he had paperwork telling him to go to Veterans Court. I can’t find anything about it online. What can he expect there? Do they follow the same procedures as district court?

A. The Veteran’s Court will have a specific Judge or other court personnel that will run the program in that County. I would contact the Circuit Clerk for further information. Typically, Veteran’s Court would have rules and regulations for your husband to follow for a period of time, and if he did so, would result in the dismissal of the DUI case. In most jurisdictions it is treated like a deferred prosecution.

Q. Don’t I have some rights protecting me from this harassment?

A. It sounds like you are involved in a dispute in family court. If you are involved with DHR and the family court system regarding an allegation over your children, the court and DHR can request that you drug screen prior to making a finding of dependency or recommendation of placement of your children. Additionally, if dependency is found and drug use was part of the initial allegations, you will likely be required to drug test throughout the entirety of your case.

Q. I was given a breathalyzer test, after being pulled over, I did have a few drinks but I was curious if having chewing tobacco in at the time of my Breathalyzer could possibly aid in my defense?

A. Possibly. The officer should have verified that you did not have anything in your mouth prior to administering the breathalyzer. The smokeless tobacco in and of itself probably does not contain alcohol but the longer it remains in your mouth the greater the potential for alcohol to be absorbed into the tobacco. Nonetheless, the officer did not follow the proper protocol or procedure in administering this test and the results could now come into question.

Q. I took the plea of Possession of marijuana 1st because they offered to drop the other charges against me. Before I took the plea I asked the lawyer they appointed me was there anything I could do so I wouldn’t have this felony on my background because I’m in school and also working. He told me No. I have been talking to a lot of people since I took the plea in they all have told me about the Pretrial Diversion. So I called my lawyer back to see could he help me get into the program. He say the D.A wouldn’t allow me to do so. Is there any way I could still get into the program? Would hiring my own Lawyer help because I really need my job because I’m still paying on my Bond and I’m also attending college.

A. Pretrial diversion programs are voluntary. Meaning they are voluntary for you, the Defendant, and voluntary for the State. Acceptance into said program is not a right. Depending upon the time of your plea, you could file a motion to withdrawal your guilty plea and have your new attorney attempt to convince the DA to allow you to participate in the pretrial diversion program. However, without knowing the specifics of your case or your background it is impossible to guess why you may have been denied access in the first place.

Q. I need a lawyer who can file a rule 32 for my son. He has claimed self-defense and was convicted of manslaughter. Pictures were taken of him when he was arrested that portrayed a scuffle had taken place but they were never presented in court as evidence. At the time of his guilty plea he had no understanding of what was being said or could read because he had an 8th grade education.

A. Yes you can file a Rule 32 in AL. The rule states that any claim for ineffective assistance of counsel must be raised as soon as practicable, either at trial, direct appeal, or in the first rule 32 petition, whichever is applicable. You should contact a competent Alabama criminal defense attorney to discuss this matter further.

Q. Does a cop have a legal obligation to allow you to see an Arrest Warrant, when requesting entry into your home to search for said suspect? Can an officer force his way into your home if you refuse, because he will not allow you to see the arrest warrant? He flashed it from a pocket on his vest, but would not allow me to read it or see the names stated on it. Officers then, upon not finding the suspect went through personal items and stated they did not need a search warrant to do so. The major part of this is, the suspect they were searching for does not even live at the residence and we are not certain why our residence was even pertinent as we hadn’t seen the suspect in years and he was a distant relative.

A. No. The police have no legal obligation to show you a search warrant. However, all people are protected from unreasonable search and seizure by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The purpose of a warrant is to list the details as to what is to be searched and what evidence is to be seized. To be legal, the search warrant must be reviewed and signed off on by a Judge. Nonetheless, there are limits to a search warrant and if you have any doubts about the legality of a search warrant, you should contact an attorney.

Q. I was posted on crime stoppers with my youthful offender charges. I was under the impression that your YO status and information should not leave the court house unless you conflict another crime

A. All arrest records and court information are public records. Only after an individual is granted Youthful Offender status will that information be removed from the public domain and sealed under the Youthful Offender statue.


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