Expungement law goes into effect - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Expungement law goes into effect

The new Expungement law is in effect starting Monday. (Source: MGNOnline) The new Expungement law is in effect starting Monday. (Source: MGNOnline)
A new state law that will give many people who have been arrested a clean slate went into effect on Monday morning.

Alabama residents who have been arrested for non-violent felonies but  have never been convicted now have a way to wipe out their arrest records.

A local attorney said this new law will help a lot of people, especially when they're applying for jobs and schools.

However, in order to qualify to have your arrest record cleared, you had to be found "not guilty" or had your case "dismissed." Those applying also have to supply documents about the case to the court that handled it. 

A district attorney will then have 45 days to review the request and notify a judge if the prosecution opposes. A judge can grant the request without a hearing if there is no objection. 

Applicants will also have to pay a $300 fee. The law does not apply to arrests for violent felonies or convictions.

Helen Gillespie is one of the owners of Cup of Everything in downtown Huntsville. She said she has never refused to hire a potential employee just because of a criminal past and she thinks the new law is a good way to give people a second chance.

“My father had a record back before the Miranda Law, so he would have probably been found not guilty today,” Gillespie said. “But he had employers give him a chance so he was able to earn a living for his family.”

Gillespie also said employers will still be able to find out potential employees past, even if they get their records wiped clean.

“The internet never lets go of anything,” Gillespie said. “You’ll still be able to find it somewhere.”

One man who has experienced first-hand the difficulty of obtaining a job with a record, said a person's background should not be an obstacle for someone trying to make an honest living.

"If you want a job in this country, you should be able to have one," said Greg Grabes. "You should be able to work and be a productive citizen and earn your money and earn your way. We shouldn't hinder people from earning their way."

According to the Madison County Circuit Clerk’s Office, no files have been submitted so far.

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