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You were convicted of a crime. You served your sentence and probation.  Now you face more obstacles – your conviction stops you from obtaining employment, from renting apartments, and above all, you are embarrassed and uncomfortable being a convicted criminal.

Many criminal offenses can be expunged, or removed completely from your record. In some circumstances, where you were arrested but not charged with a crime, a Gulf Shores expungement lawyer can expunge the record of arrest for you. Contact a qualified and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can tell you more.

Criminal Offenses that Can Be Expunged in Alabama

Non-violent felonies can potentially be expunged in Alabama. Alabama law lists “violent felonies” and states that any felony that is not included as violent, is therefore non-violent.

To determine if an offense is eligible for expungement, it is generally easiest for individuals to review the list of violent felonies to see if the offense is not on the list. Eligible offenses include misdemeanors, which can include theft crimes, minor crimes against persons such as assault and battery, driving under the influence charges, minor drug charges such as possession, trespassing, public intoxication; violations, such as zoning issues, nuisance offenses, fish and game charges; and traffic violations and municipal ordinances.

The Process of Expunging Your Conviction

A Gulf Shores expungement lawyer will first run a complete records check on an individual’s behalf to document all arrests and convictions. The attorney will then meet with the individual to make a determination whether their convictions are eligible for expungement.

The lawyer will verify through court records that the individual has completed all the terms of probation, and paid all fines. Individuals must do so before they can have their conviction expunged. The attorney will prepare a sworn statement on the individual’s behalf under penalty of perjury, that the individual has met all the requirements for expungement.

A Gulf Shores expungement attorney will obtain a certified copy of the arrest and conviction from the court the individual appeared before, and include it in the Petition. The lawyer will then obtain a certified copy of the conviction from the Alabama Criminal Justice Center.

There are several other minor steps and notifications the lawyer must make, then they will present the Petition for Expungement before the proper court and notify the district attorney that prosecuted the individual’s case. If the District Attorney or alleged victim in an individual’s case files an objection, a hearing will be scheduled by the Court to hear their position and listen to arguments for expungement.

Court Considerations in Expungement Cases

The Court will consider 10 separate factors in deciding an individual’s Petition for Expungement as set forth in Alabama Code section 15-27-5, summarized below:

  • Nature of the offense
  • The circumstances of the offense
  • The date of offense
  • One’s age at the time of the offense
  • Whether this an isolated incident or part of a pattern
  • Conditions surrounding the offense
  • Review of probation reports
  • How the conviction was reached; by a plea, lowering of charges, or trial
  • One’s evidence of rehabilitation, including performance on probation
  •  Any other matters related to the offense or expungement the Court wishes to consider

How an Attorney Can Help

Criminal charges are not as straightforward as many people believe. Sometimes people are not guilty and get convicted, and sometimes, people make mistakes. There is no reason that you should have to continue to suffer for those mistakes, and that is where an expungement attorney can help. A Gulf Shores expungement lawyer can help you clean up your record, allowing you to move on with your life. Contact a qualified attorney and get started today.