Bedford’s expungement bill now law
On June 17, Gov. Robert Bentley signed a bill authored by Sen. Roger Bedford (D-Russellville) that allows a person charged with certain misdemeanor criminal offenses, traffic violations, or municipal ordinance violations to have their record expunged under certain conditions.
The criminal expungement bill was written to provide relief for thousands of innocent Alabamians who are mistakenly arrested, acquitted or found not guilty, but are unduly burdened with an arrest record that could interfere with employment opportunities, college admission, or military service.
“I am so proud that the expungement bill for which I fought so long and hard, is becoming law,” Bedford said.
“Until today, Alabama has been one of the few states in the nation where when you are charged with something and later found not guilty or that charge was thrown out, it remained on your record for the rest of your life. I’ve never thought that was fair, so I fought to change it.”
Beginning July 17, individuals will be able to apply for an expungement in circuit court, regardless of the venue the original offense was adjudicated.
If granted by a judge, those eligible records would cease to be available to the public in court records, police records and on National Crime Information Center background checks.
Violent Felony charges are not eligible for expungement. Under Alabama law, those offenses include murder, assault, rape, burglary, robbery, kidnapping and extortion.
The criteria for expungement includes:
• If 90 days has passed from the date of dismissal with prejudice, acquittal, nolle prosequi or when a grand jury decides not to move forward with charges.
• If five years have passed since the charge was dismissed without prejudice.
• If the person has been found not guilty.
• If one year has passed since the charge was dismissed after successful completion of a drug court program, mental health court program, diversion program or veteran’s court program.