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Criminal Record Expungement FAQ


Back to Criminal Record Expungement Page

What is expungement?
The removal of criminal charges from a person’s criminal history record accessible for public purposes, such as an employee background check. Expungement is not applicable to a criminal conviction or any violation of the statutes, rules or regulations of the Alabama Securities Commission. Any expunged records are still available to the court or law enforcement.

Can a conviction be expunged?
No. Only charges for non-felonies or non-violent felonies under certain circumstances may be expunged. See the checklist for the specific list of charged offenses that may be expunged.

What if my official criminal history record does not show a charge for an offense that I know I have received?
Not all charges show up on a person’s criminal history record for a variety of reasons. Older records were not always sent to ALEA for entry into the state’s criminal history database. Some charges are not automated in which case procedures have been put in place to catch these files while being converted to electronic format. Some records have not yet been sent to ALEA and, on occasion, records may be lost or destroyed at the local level. Even if the charge does not appear on a certified criminal history record, a record may still exist in a local law enforcement agency, a prosecutor’s file or a court record system. These records may still be accessible or eventually sent to ALEA for inclusion into the official record. If a petitioner knows of a record, even though it does not show up, that person should still file for the expungement to prevent these records from being sent to ALEA at a later date. If granted, the record will be officially removed from any agency for public dissemination.

Can a police department or court keep a record of an expunged charge?
Any criminal justice agency with records on an expunged charge, such as arrest records, booking or arrest photos, or references in the State Court’s Information System, must be forwarded to ALEA. However, a law enforcement agency or official, district attorney or a prosecuting authority, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, or the Department of Human Resources may maintain an investigative file, report, case file, or log which may include any evidence, biological evidence, photographs, exhibits, or information in documentary or electronic form. Once an order of expungement is issued, though, this information cannot be disseminated for a non-criminal justice purpose.

Who can see an expunged record?
Expunged records may not be used for any non-criminal justice purpose and may only be made available to criminal justice agencies upon acknowledgement of an investigation or other criminal matter involving the person related to the expungement

Do I have to divulge that I have been charged for an offense that has been expunged?
The petitioner whose record was expunged does not have to disclose that fact on an application for employment, credit, or other type of application. However, the petitioner whose record was expunged shall have the duty to disclose the fact of the record and any matter relating thereto to any government regulatory or licensing agency, any utility and its agents and affiliates, or any bank or other financial institution. In these circumstances, the government regulatory or licensing agency, utility and its agents and affiliates, or the bank or other financial institution shall have the right to inspect the expunged records after filing notice with the court. A person applying for a position as a law enforcement or corrections officer must disclose and provide a copy of the expungement to the agency.

Will an expunged criminal charge show up on an employee background check?
Once an order of expungement is granted, that offense will no longer be part of a publically accessible record used for employee background checks.

Does an expungement apply to a non-government background check service?
An order of expungement does not necessarily apply to an unofficial 3rd party background service. However, if a petitioner provides notice to the service that an expungement has been granted, the record may no longer be intentionally disseminated by that entity.

Does an expungement restore my rights to carry a firearm?
An expungement order shall not entitle an individual to ship, transport, possess, or receive a firearm. Any person whose record of conviction is expunged may have his or her right to ship, transport, possess, or receive a firearm restored by a Certificate of Pardon with Restoration of Civil and Political Rights from the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.