With the laws regarding expungement changing in Alabama multiple times over the last several years, those who have been arrested or convicted of driving under the influence might wonder if they have a chance at a fresh start. Learn more about DUI expungement in Alabama, if it’s an option for you, and what your next step is.
If you’re considering pursuing expungement or weighing your options regarding a current DUI case, let us help. Call the team at Coumanis & York at 251-990-3083.
Deferred prosecution refers to programs that allow those arrested under certain charges to complete a pre-trial diversion program. This option is generally only available to first-time offenders and those who did not cause bodily injury while driving under the influence. If you violate the terms of your diversion program, the court moves forward with the trial process.
If you complete your program without issue, this generally results in charges being dismissed. This may allow you to pursue expungement. However, in this situation, you must wait for one year after the completion of your program to apply for expungement.
Expungement After a DUI Conviction
If your DUI arrest leads to a conviction, expungement is not an option for you. Currently, Alabama expungement laws only allow for expungement when charges are dismissed or when an individual is acquitted after trial. If you were convicted of driving under the influence, that will remain on your record for the rest of your life.
Expungement After a Case That Was Dismissed Without Prejudice
Having a case dismissed without prejudice is slightly different from having it dismissed with prejudice. A case dismissed without prejudice can still be refiled at a later date, so this essentially leaves the door open for prosecutors.
Because of this uncertainty, you must meet certain restrictions to apply for expungement after cases are dismissed without prejudice. The case must have been dismissed two or more years before you file for expungement. The case must not have been refiled. You must not have convicted of any other crime during the previous two years.
When Charges Are Dismissed
If charges are dismissed with prejudice, you can begin the process.
The process is the same across the board. You must file a petition and attend hearings scheduled by the court. While deciding whether or not to grant your expungement, the court will consider 10 different factors. These factors include the nature and severity of the crime, the date of the offense, how old you were at the time of the offense, and if it was an isolated or repeated incident.
Why You Need an Attorney
Hiring an attorney before you begin the expungement process is highly recommended. In addition to an administrative fee of $300, you’ll likely have to pay other county court fees to submit your petition and have it considered. Furthermore, this process can be very mentally draining and take a substantial amount of time.
Working with an attorney allows you to consider your case from every angle, think about whether or not expungement is likely to be granted, and find out whether or not there are ways you can strengthen your case. This allows you to make the most of your petition and avoid errors that could result in a denial.
If you are looking into expungement as an option for a DUI case that is still in progress, you should also hire a lawyer for that. Some people plead guilty to speed through the process, assuming that they will be able to have their record expunged down the road. If that’s what you’re thinking, contact an attorney now. A conviction cannot be expunged, and beyond that, there are dozens of ways a DUI guilty plea can affect you for the rest of your life. This is not an area where you want to gamble with your future.
Find Out How We Can Help
Expungement is one way to give yourself a fresh start and move on from past mistakes. If you qualify for expungement in Alabama, we’re here to guide you through the process. Set up a consultation now by calling Coumanis & York at 251-990-3083 or getting in touch online.