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Huntsville Alabama
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Huntsville, Alabama 35801

Record Sealing / Expunging

Sealing or expungement of your arrest and criminal record is an important part of moving on with your life after an arrest or conviction in most states. However, Alabama does not offer general record sealing or expungement except for in very specific circumstances. An experienced criminal lawyer in Madison County, AL, will be able to help you determine the best route for your case if eligible.

Huntsville Criminal Record Sealing Attorney

Having a misdemeanor or felony arrest or conviction on your record can be damaging to your future. With nearly 40 years of experience in all aspects of a case, the Alabama defense lawyers at The Law Offices Of Segal & Segal can help you through the record sealing and expungement process where applicable, or guide your future through other means when you're not eligible for sealing or expungement.

If you've been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense and are seeking a better future in the Huntsville-Decatur area, including Madison, Albertville, Hartselle, Gunterville, and Arab, call the experienced attorneys of The Law Offices Of Segal & Segal at (256) 533-4529 today to set up your free consultation and learn if you are eligible for this process.

Alabama Record Expungement Information Center

Criminal Records That Can Be Sealed or Expunged

Alabama may not have a process for sealing and/or expunging all or most criminal records, but there are instances in which it is possible. These circumstances are covered in Alabama Code Sections 12-15-136, 36-18-26, 41-9-625, and 41-9-645, and are very specific in narrow in their scope. The latter three have to do with court error or the alleged offender's innocence and allow for:

  • The expungement of DNA records upon the reversal of a conviction and the sample originator's request
  • The expungement of fingerprint, photographic, and other identifying criminal records if the individual is released without charge or cleared of the offense
  • The expunging, modification, or supplementation of any portion or all of a record that is found to be inaccurate or false

Generally, only the records of those who are innocent are eligible for sealing and expungement. However, the section of code that offers the broadest chance at post-adjudication record sealing is 12-15-136, or the Juvenile Proceedings section. Under this law, an individual may have his or her juvenile record sealed if he or she meets the following requirements:

  • Individual has not been adjudicated delinquent or a youthful offender of any felony or misdemeanor involving drugs, weapons, violence, or sexual offenses
  • Individual has no pending charge of any misdemeanor or felony involving drugs, violence, weapons, or sexual offenses
  • Two years have elapsed since either the final discharge of the person from legal custody or any other final order of the court not involving custody or supervision

It is important to note that the sealing of a record is not an erasure. Certain entities, such as hospitals and other health care providers, will be able to access this record with permission from the court. Additionally, the sealing order will be nullified if the individual is subsequently adjudicated a youthful offender, delinquent, or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony involving drugs, sexual offenses, weapons, threats of violence, or violence.

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Pardons for Huntsville Crimes vs. Expungement of Criminal Record

Though Alabama does not offer an expungement process to its rehabilitated offenders, you may have another option for a better life through a pardon by the Board of Pardons and Paroles. A pardon does not offer the same benefit as an expungement, which essentially makes your criminal record nonexistent except for in specific circumstances, but it does offer the chance to prove your rehabilitation as well as get some of your rights back.

Once you have completed your sentence or three years of successful parole, you are eligible for a pardon. The only exception to this rule is if the petition for a pardon is based on innocence. Obtaining a pardon requires an application, generally involving a statement from you and others showing your rehabilitation, and a subsequent hearing with the board. If you are granted a pardon, you may regain certain rights – like the right to vote or hold public office.

The pardon you receive will most likely be a restricted pardon. The board grants full pardons to less than two percent of cases considered. This means you will most likely not have all of your rights restored – particularly when it comes to firearms and the sex offender registry. However, all pardons come with the benefit of being both on your record and in an official document. This means you can use your official pardon to prove rehabilitation to a prospective landlord, educational institution, or employer.

You may not be eligible for record sealing or expungement, but a pardon could be your next best option. An experienced Huntsville criminal record attorney will be able to explore all the options and find a favorable outcome for your case.

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Am I Eligible to Seal or Expunge My Alabama Criminal Record

If you have been rehabilitated from a misdemeanor or felony criminal offense in Huntsville, Madison County, Morgan County, Marshall County, Limestone County, or Jackson County and are looking for paths to a brighter future – consider the services of the experienced team at The Law Offices Of Segal & Segal.

We will fight hard for the sealing or expungement of your records where applicable, or for a pardon if necessary. We also have the skill needed to push for a more favorable outcome prior to your actual conviction. Call us at (256) 533-4529 today for your free consultation.