Arrest records and criminal records can be the cause of discrimination in one's pursuit of becoming a more productive and law abiding member of society. Criminal records have a way of following somebody. Criminal records are not private in the least. Arrest records could affect one's ability to get an education, get a special license or permit, or get a job. Arrest records can even affect one's credit score, damaging one's chances of securing a loan.
In Alabama arrest records can record events up to 35 years prior and a court's ruling of not guilty may not result in the expungement of such records.
Arrest records of individuals are open to anyone who seeks such information about someone's arrest records. This information can lead to discrimination of all sorts despite one's efforts to reform one's ways. Alabama sees the dispersal of this information as critical to public well-being. Thus, employers reserve the right to make employment decisions based on this information for the greater good.
This information can unreasonably and unfairly damage the reputation of individuals in some cases. Therefore, Alabama expungement law considers the damaging effects of arrest records.
Alabama expungement law does not proscribe for the erasure of arrest warrants for a specific period of time. They are basically permanent. There are exceptions to this rule in circumstances in which an individual is judged to be innocent of a crime. The arrest and conviction records are not expunged automatically as a result of an innocent verdict. There is no automatic expungement of convicted juvenile offenses upon reaching 18 years of age.
The formerly accused criminal must make the proper motions with an attorney to have the records expunged. Generally, candidates for expungement of criminal records are disqualified if previous expungements were performed. In Alabama expungement law, all felony convictions are not expungeable. If a previous conviction was expunged from an individual's criminal record, the expunged record could still be used against the individual to increase the severity of a judge's sentence.
Expungement in Alabama generally erases records for viewing of prospective employers, credit bureaus, and licensing agencies. The criminal acts of kidnapping, arson, extortion, first degree assault, forcible rape, sale of controlled substances, and homicide are not available for expungement under Alabama law.
Under Alabama expungement law, it is up to the district attorney to have criminal records expunged. The following factors are considered by the Alabama district attorney:
● If the record caused the individual undue hardship in the ability of the individual to become reformed.
● The victim of the crime expressed a wish to discontinue the prosecution of a convicted criminal.
● The age and case of the defendant at the time of trial.
● The seriousness of the crime committed and its impact on the rest of the community.
● If the offender is mentally disabled.
● If the offender has family problems and cannot support his or herself alone.
● The offender's innocence in the criminal matter is determined by evidence from the original trial or later appeal.
Once one's criminal records are expunged, it is then legal to state that the individual has not been convicted of a crime. If the normal means of legal expungement of criminal records are not viable, it is possible to appeal to the Governor of Alabama for clemency