Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Know The Law!

 


The Alabama Legislature has gone home for another year. The gunman for the NRA is gone and his latest bill that would allow anybody to carry a handgun in a vehicle without a permit died in committee in the house. I hope that we have heard the last from Senator Scott Beason. The gun laws remains the same as passed last year, you still need a permit to carry a handgun inside of your vehicle which, to me, is good for the public as well as law enforcement. I just don't understand why a law abiding citizen has a problem with having a background ran to determine if he or she is legally permitted to carry a handgun concealed or in a vehicle. It assures that this person is not an ex-felon, has been convicted of a domestic violence crime, or has not had serious mental problems that has shown up in his or her background.

On the subject of handguns, if you decide to get a handgun and are not familiar with the laws or even just the handling of your weapon, consider signing up for a course sponsored by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office or the Montgomery Police Department. Our course gives you information concerning the new handgun laws, information on the working of a handgun and allows time for you to fire you handgun on the range. The classes are held on Saturdays to allow you to attend without interfering with your work schedule. For more information go to our website at www.MontgomerySheriff.com or call our office at 832-1339.

Expungements

There was a bill pass by the Legislature in the last session that allows for the expungement of certain arrest records. ACT 2014-292 says that a person who has been charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense, a violation, a traffic violation, or a municipal ordinance violation may file a petition in the criminal division of the circuit court in the county in which the charges were filed, to expunge records relation to the charge in any of the following circumstances:

1. When the charge is dismissed with prejudice.

2. When the charge has been no billed by a grand jury.

3. When the person has been found not guilty of the charge.

4. When the charge was dismissed without prejudice more than two years ago, has not refiled, and the person has not been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor crime, any violation, or any traffic violation, excluding minor traffic violations, during the previous two years.

5. The circuit court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of a petition filed under this section.

Section 2 of this ACT states that a person who has been charged with a felony offense, except a VIOLENT offense as defined in Section 12-25-32 (14), Code Of Alabama 1975, may file a petition in the criminal division of the circuit court in the county in which the charges were filed, to expunge records relating to the charge in any of the following circumstances:

1. When the charge is dismissed with prejudice.

2. When the charge has been no billed by a grand jury.

3. When the person has been found not guilty of the charge.

4. The charge was dismissed after successful completion of a drug court program, mental health court program, diversion program, veteran's court, or any court-approved deferred prosecution program after one year from successful completion of the program.

5. Expungement may be a court-ordered condition of a program listed.

6. The charge was dismissed without prejudice more than five years ago, has not been refiled, and the person has not been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor crime, any violation, or any traffic violation, excluding minor traffic violations, during the previous five years.

7. Ninety days have passed from the date of dismissal with prejudice, no-bill, acquittal, or nolle prosequi and the charge has not been refiled.

8. The circuit court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of a petition filed under this section.

This bill may be a good thing for people who may have had an arrest for relatively minor crimes or who was charged with a crime and the disposition fell under one listed above. Your arrest record can be erased if ordered by the circuit court. The court does have discretion over the number of cases that may be expunged after the first case is expunged.

Please don't think expungement comes without a price. There is a $300 administrative fee, a filing fee, and if you decide to get a lawyer, he or she with add a hefty fee. You may be looking at around $1,000 or more when all is said and done. You will have to decide if the price is worth the expungement or not.

If you would like to read the entire ACT, you can find it on the Alabama Secretary of States website under the government records section.

The views of this editorial may not express the views of The Alabama Gazette.

 

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