Steps For Expunging Your Criminal Record

Having a criminal record can limit opportunities. Records can impact everything from job prospects to housing applications. However, people may be paying for their past crimes longer than they need to. A process called expungement offers people a chance to build a better future. It allows certain criminal records to be erased from public view. When your record is expunged successfully, you can move forward without the weight of your past. 

What Is Expungement?

Expungement is not just about hiding records; it’s a legal procedure that erases eligible criminal records from public databases. This means these records won’t appear in background checks done by employers, landlords, or banks. Once expunged, the law and public records act like these incidents never occurred.

Who Can Apply for Expungement in Alabama?

The state of Alabama has more lenient expungement laws compared to many other states. You might qualify for expungement if you:

  • Have completed all terms of your sentence, including any probation or parole, and paid all fines and restitutions.
  • Have not been convicted of another crime during a specified period after your initial offense.
  • The person did not face convictions for certain types of crimes, such as violent acts, sexual offenses, driving under the influence, or specific drug-related crimes.

The Expungement Process in Alabama

The expungement process may differ slightly depending on the specific county and the details of the offense. However, here are the general steps:

Steps to Obtain Expungement

  • Initial Consultation: Contact a lawyer with experience with expungement cases. They will evaluate your situation, clarify the expungement steps for you specifically, and answer any questions about the process.
  • Preparing the Petition: The lawyer will collect the necessary documentation, create a petition for the court, and ensure it complies with legal requirements.
  • Filing and Court Hearings: The petition is filed with the court, followed by a hearing where the judge examines your case and hears any objections from the prosecution.
  • Receiving a Decision: An expungement order will be issued upon the judge’s approval of the petition. When this happens, the general public can no longer see your record.

The Benefits of Expungement

Achieving expungement can be life-changing and open doors that were once closed:

  • Job Market Access: Apply for jobs confidently without worrying about your criminal record.
  • Housing Opportunities: Increase your chances of securing your desired housing.
  • Educational Pursuits: People may gain access to educational opportunities and scholarships without the setback of a criminal record.
  • Financial Aid Eligibility: Qualify for loans and grants that were previously unattainable.
  • Community Participation: Engage in volunteer work and community services without the shadow of your past.
  • Personal Development: Gain peace of mind and a fresh perspective on life.

Because expungement involves intricate legal procedures, having the guidance of an experienced lawyer is often essential for a favorable outcome.

Contact John M. Totten P.C.

At John M. Totten P.C., we know how a criminal record can affect your life and are ready to help you through the expungement process with empathy, knowledge, and a commitment to your future. If you’re located in Northern Alabama and believe you might qualify for expungement, don’t allow your history to dictate your future. Contact us for a consultation to learn more about how we can support you.

John M. Totten