Alabamians will soon have opportunity to expunge records

Beginning one week from today, it will be possible for a resident of Alabama who has been arrested but not convicted of a crime to have the arrest record expunged. It will not be free, but it might well be worth the cost. When the law takes effect Monday, July 7th, Alabama will be one of just 15 states where expungement of arrest records is possible. The rules differ in each of those states. In Alabama, there is a $300 administrative fee and other court costs to be determined. Then there is a process. It's not as simple as telling the courts you want your record expunged. It will apply to anyone who has been charged but never convicted of a misdemeanor criminal offense, traffic violation, violation of municipal ordinances and non-violent felony charges. Those with violent felony charges are not eligible. The district attorney's office has 45 days to object to the request as well as notify alleged victims in the case. If there is an objection, a hearing is set within fourteen days. If the request is granted it means arrest records and booking photos will be wiped clean. Even if the expungement is granted it doesn't the mean the arrest files will be sealed. The records are sent to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center where they will be kept and can be made available to criminal justice agencies if an investigation is underway.