Understanding New Expungement Laws in Alabama

Criminal charges can hang on your record forever, impacting your chances of getting certain jobs and putting your financial freedom at risk. Single charges can often snowball into a longer rap sheet once the system fails you. Thankfully, there are avenues of getting certain charges removed through expungement, and a recent change in Alabama law is giving more people a chance to wipe away charges from the past.

The REDEEMER Act

In July 2021, the Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment and Eliminate Recidivism Act became law in Alabama. That’s a mouthful, so you’ll more commonly see it referred to as the “REDEEMER Act.”

This act intends to clear the records of more Alabamans, allowing them to pursue their goals and, in some cases, prevent them from falling back into the prison system.

Charges without conviction

Thankfully, the law does not change the long-standing ability for people who are charged but never convicted to file for expungement. In these cases, there is a long list of reasons someone can get the charge removed from their record. If you’re unsure if your case qualifies, be sure to work with an experienced attorney in Alabama who understands state law.

Misdemeanor convictions

This is where the biggest change in the law comes into play. Ultimately, the entire purpose of a sentence following conviction is to ensure the offender serves their time and repays their debt to society. Once you’ve done that, doesn’t it make sense that you’d be allowed to re-enter society without the charge hanging over your head?

The REDEEMER Act outlines specific criteria to get misdemeanor convictions expunged from your record:

  • All court-ordered sentencing is completed. This includes prison time, parole, probation, fines, court fees, and community service
  • Three years have passed from the date of your conviction
  • The conviction is not for a violent crime and/or sex offense
  • The conviction is not considered a serious traffic offense (e.g. charges involving serious bodily harm or extreme negligence of Alabama law)
  • The conviction is not for a crime of “moral turpitude” (crimes listed here)

Felony convictions

The change also extends to certain non-violent felony convictions, as well. Because these carry a heavier sentence and are more serious in nature, the guidelines are more strict. However, the removal of a felony conviction from your record could go a long way towards helping you turn your life around and open many doors.

The REDEEMER Act outlines specific criteria to get felony convictions expunged from your record. Your situation must follow ALL of the following:

  • You receive a certificate of restoration of civil and political rights from the Board of Pardons and Paroles
  • The governor grants you a pardon AFTER receiving the certificate above
  • 180 days pass from the date of your pardon
  • The conviction is not for a violent crime, sex offense, crime of moral turpitude, or a serious traffic offense

Set your record straight

We want to fight for your future. Our firm is well-versed in state law and has extensive experience in criminal defense. If you think you’re eligible for expungement under the new state laws, contact the law firm of John M. Totten, P.C. today to get your case started.