Expungments

In the Press-Register today:

State Rep. James Gordon, who faces two criminal misdemeanor complaints, has filed a bill in the Legislature that would allow people to ask a municipal or district court judge to expunge certain misdemeanor charges and convictions from their records.

I’m betting that this won’t pass. Not because the sponsor’s motives are suspect, but because it includes expunging convictions. Criminal defense attorney though I be, even I would be dubious of wiping away the record of a conviction. That information is important, and folks like potential employers need to know it. It’s also reliable, being either the finding of a jury or the admission of the individual. 

That said, I really wish someone would introduce some legislation creating a process for expunging records of arrests that do not result in a conviction. As it is, in Alabama, if you get charged with a crime the record of the charges is going to follow you around for your whole life, even if a jury acquits you, or the charges are dismissed.   

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7 Comments on “Expungments”

  1. Loretta Nall Says:

    I think misdemeanor drug convictions (for personal possession) should be expunged. A drug conviction is the only kind of conviction that bars a person from receiving housing assistance, food assistance and federal student financial aid. Just think, you can molest a kid, get out of prison and qualify for all of thise things but if you get sent to prison for weed you are barred from those things. Not to mention that there should be no conviction for personal possession in the first place…but that’s a whole nother ball game.

  2. wheeler Says:

    “A drug conviction is the only kind of conviction that bars a person from receiving housing assistance, food assistance and federal student financial aid.”

    and you lose your alabama driver’s license.

  3. Old Prosecutor Says:

    However remember that Possession of Marijuana is a felony if you have been previously convicted of misdemeanor possession. If you expunge the misdemeanor doesn’t this do away with this provision

  4. wheeler Says:

    i guess – assuming the prosecution somehow knew about the prior – the defense would argue that the prior is gone, done away with, as if it never occured, but the state would argue that it happened, it’s just that the public does not get to know about it.

  5. Loretta Nall Says:

    Actually, the second possession is a felony is not really the case anymore. We passed a bill last year that Gov. Riley signed into law making it so that you would have to have four personal possession charges before jail time could even be considered. It is all done by scoring each offense and when you have X number of points you are eligible for jail.

    As for an expungement meaning the prosecution couldn’t convict you of felony possession…..well then that is all the more reason to do it. No one should ever see the inside of a jail cell for consuming/growing/possessing/ a natural plant.

  6. wheeler Says:

    loretta,

    the second is still a felony; the legislature just passed some sentencing guidelines. which, thus far in my experience, are pretty much ignored.

  7. staormina Says:

    My gripe is I was convicted of Assault 3 and that is a misdeamenor charge and the only reason I got that was I got into a fight when i was 21 and I hit a guy one time and broke his jaw on accident and I cant get a good job to save my life and I have nothing else on my record and your goin g to tell me this bill is not a good thing it need stricts provisions but it should be allowed speeding tickets come why cant certain other charges.


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