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If you have been arrested but not convicted, you may be interested in seeking an expungement in Vestavia Hills so that your background records no longer bring up your prior arrest. Having arrest records come up during a background check can create problems for employment, education, obtaining a loan or professional license, and other matters, but a Vestavia Hills expungement lawyer can help protect your reputation following an arrest that does not lead to a conviction.

Some states allow expungements of convictions under certain circumstances, but Alabama typically does not. Alabama expungement cases only deal with pre-trial and arrest records. Post-conviction expungement requires a pardon, but a person may seek to have their arrest records cleared with the help of an experienced criminal lawyer.

Expungement Court Considerations

The court takes several factors into account when determining whether granting an expungement is appropriate, including but not limited to:

  • The type and severity of the alleged crime
  • The circumstances that led to the alleged offense
  • Length of time since the offense took place
  • Age of the person accused at the time
  • Probation and parole records
  • Whether the court accepted a plea bargain

What Cases Qualify for Expungement?

No matter what type of charges you would like to see removed from your record, your skilled Vestavia Hills expungement lawyer can seek to have your arrest record cleared through the circuit court that originally heard the charges. An individual can seek expungement for most cases that were dismissed if the charges were dropped, the accused was acquitted, or the grand jury failed to indict. It does not matter why the arrest never resulted in conviction, only that the prosecution failed to obtain a conviction.

Expunging Misdemeanor and Felony Charges

Most types of misdemeanors and traffic charges are eligible for expungement, as are many nonviolent felony charges. Violent felonies are not typically eligible for expungement in Alabama, even if the charges never resulted in conviction of the accused. A Vestavia Hills expungement attorney can examine the original arrest and charges brought and determine whether a case may be a good candidate for expungement.

When seeking expungement of an arrest in Vestavia Hills, it makes a difference whether the case was dismissed with or without prejudice. Cases dismissed with prejudice may not later be re-filed, but cases that are dismissed without prejudice can be brought again at a later time.

Statute of Limitations

Someone seeking expungement must legally wait at least two years from the date their case was dismissed without prejudice. In other words, if the prosecution has not proceeded again after two years, a conviction is less likely, and thus the case is eligible for expungement. Accused persons may seek expungement 90 days after of the dismissal of a nonviolent felony case dismissed with prejudice.

Deferred prosecution programs usually require that participants wait at least one year from the time the program is completed before they may seek expungement, even though these types of programs typically end with dismissed charges. Some examples of deferred prosecution programs include those focused on mental health, veterans’ health, and drug court. It may be critical for you to seek the advisement of a Vestavia Hills expungement lawyer.