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DUI Expungement in Alabama

To “expunge” a conviction means to set it aside and not include it in the convicted individual’s record, making it as though the conviction never occurred in the first place. This means that in Alabama a court can use its discretion to suspend sentencing of an individual and instead place them on probation.  However, the Alabama legislature has limited this discretion by restricting the court’s ability to defer a sentence involving a defendant with a prior criminal felony conviction in the state.  Thus it is significantly more difficult to avoid sentencing if you are a multiple offender as opposed to a first time offender.

Based on the above law, it is possible to have a DUI expunged in Alabama in certain circumstances.  Arguably the most determinative of these is the requirement that the crime be a misdemeanor rather than a felony.  The result of this distinction is that only DUI convicts who have been convicted three times or less can file an application to have the conviction expunged.  If someone has been convicted four or more times for DUI, the conviction is a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor and as a result the defendant cannot appeal to the state of Alabama to expunge the record.

The process of having a conviction expunged is not automatic and requires hiring a lawyer and filling out the proper forms and applications.  Among the requirements for drug and alcohol convictions to be expunged is for the defendant to submit to a chemical dependency evaluation.  Convicts should also collect letters of recommendation from family and employers in order to demonstrate their good behavior, moral character, and overall value to society.  While this process can be long and potentially expensive, it can also provide huge dividends.  It can be extremely beneficial to expunge your record; for example, potential employers will not be put on notice of the offense if your record is expunged.

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