WHAT HAPPENS IF MY RECORDS ARE EXPUNGED?

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If the court approves the request, what happens to the records?

The court is to order the expungement of all records in the custody of the court and any records held by any other agency or official, including law enforcement records, except privileged investigation reports by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles and files of the district attorney. The related agencies are then to certify to the court within six months that the expungement has been completed.

What if somebody asks about the case after it's been expunged?

"The proceedings regarding the charge shall be deemed never to have occurred," the act says. The court and other agencies are supposed to reply to any inquiry that "no record exists on the matter," and the person shall not have to disclose the related facts on job or credit applications and other applications.

So it becomes totally secret?

The law says a petitioner has the duty to disclose the "fact of the record" to any government, regulatory or licensing agency, any utility or its affiliates or any bank or financial institution.

Will the record exist anywhere?

The related agencies have to send the records to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center which will archive them in a protected file. The records cannot be used for a non-justice purpose and can only be made available when a criminal justice agency provides notice of an investigation of the individual.

What records are expunged?

Arrest records, booking or arrest photos, index references for public records searches and other documents or electronic files concerning the arrest or charge.

 

Section 15-27-6

Order of expungement; certification; inspection of expunged records.

(a) Except as provided in Section 15-27-10, upon the granting of a petition pursuant to this chapter, the court, pursuant to Section 15-27-9, shall order the expungement of all records in the custody of the court and any records in the custody of any other agency or official, including law enforcement records, except privileged presentence or postsentence investigation reports produced by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles and its officers, records, documents, databases, and files of the district attorney and the Office of Prosecution Services. On July 7, 2014, and for 18 months thereafter, every agency with records relating to the arrest, charge, or other matters arising out of the arrest or charge that is ordered to expunge the records shall certify to the court within 180 days of the entry of the expungement order that the required expungement action has been completed.

(b) After the expungement of records pursuant to subsection (a), the proceedings regarding the charge shall be deemed never to have occurred. Except as provided in this chapter, the court and other agencies shall reply to any inquiry that no record exists on the matter. The petitioner whose record was expunged shall not have to disclose the fact of the record or any matter relating thereto 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.

(Act 2014-292, §6.)

 

Section 15-27-7 Archive of records; withdrawal of records from national criminal records repository.

(a) Upon receipt of the order of expungement, a criminal justice agency in possession of records subject to the order shall immediately forward the records to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center. The center shall digitally archive the records in a manner prescribed by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center Commission and designate the records as protected notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter. Such 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. Any expunged records that were added to a federal database shall be requested to be removed and not made available within any interstate criminal database.

(b) Records expunged under this chapter may not be transmitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation national criminal records repository. Any record subject to be expunged under this chapter and transmitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation prior to the expungement of such record shall be requested for withdrawal within the national system by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.

(Act 2014-292, §7.)

 

Section 15-27-8 Records forwarded to and retained by Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.

Once the records are expunged pursuant to this chapter, the records shall be forwarded to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center in a manner prescribed by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center Commission for purposes of archiving, and the records shall be stored in a manner prescribed by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center Commission. The records shall be retained by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center indefinitely.

(Act 2014-292, §8.)

 

Section 15-27-10 Maintenance of files, reports, etc., by law enforcement agencies, officials, etc.

Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a law enforcement agency or official, district attorney or a prosecuting authority, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, or the Department of Human Resources from maintaining an investigative file, report, case file, or log which may include any evidence, biological evidence, photographs, exhibits, or information in documentary or electronic form.

(Act 2014-292, §10.)

 

Section 15-27-11 Personal information subject to expungement.

An order of expungement, pursuant to this chapter may include, but is not limited to, the petitioner's true name, all aliases, current physical address, date of birth, Social Security number, or any other vital identifier sufficient to notify the record keeper of the records to be expunged.

(Act 2014-292, §11.)

 

Section 15-27-14 - Applicability - Alabama Securities Commission.

Nothing in this chapter shall be applicable to the Alabama Securities Commission, its statutes, rules, regulations, policies, information repository, or records, nor shall any expungement information, record, document, whether printed, electronic, or otherwise, or file which is expunged under this chapter be considered nondisclosable or nonreportable to or by the Alabama Securities Commission. Any requirement for licensing or registration which includes information that has been otherwise expunged under this chapter shall remain reportable as required by the Alabama Securities Commission, applicable federal law, or adopted rules and regulations or as required by any securities-related self-regulatory organization rules, policies, or procedures.

(Act 2014-292, §14.)

 

Section 15-27-15 Applicability - Right to ship, transport, possess, or receive 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 pursuant to this chapter 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.

(Act 2014-292, §15.)

 

Section 15-27-16 Disclosure of information from expunged file without a court order; liability.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, an individual who knows an expungement order was granted pursuant to this chapter and who intentionally and maliciously divulges, makes known, reveals, gives access to, makes public, uses, or otherwise discloses the contents of an expunged file without a court order, or pursuant to a provision of this chapter, shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

(b) In addition to any other immunity or other civil protection or legal remedy available that an individual or entity may rightfully claim, an agency, department, custodian of records, corporation, business entity, or individual that makes public or disseminates a record that has been judicially expunged pursuant to this chapter shall be immune from civil liability absent unreasonable, wanton, willful, or intentional conduct.

(c) In addition to any other immunity or other civil protection or legal remedy available that an individual or entity may rightfully claim, an agency, department, custodian of records, corporation, business entity, or individual that employs, hires, contracts with, or holds any business or contractual relationship with an individual and is unaware of the existence of a criminal record due to an expungement pursuant to this chapter shall be immune from civil liability for damages caused by the person, absent unreasonable, wanton, willful, or intentional conduct.

(Act 2014-292, §16.)