How Do You Clear a Pot Conviction (or other minor convictions) From Your Record in Alabama?

This article asks the Question: “How Do You Clear a Pot Conviction From Your Record?”

In Alabama, you cannot get the conviction expunged; the only option would be to seek a pardon. Which is sad because:

For thousands of Americans, marijuana convictions still bring life-altering consequences, making it difficult to, among other things, find and keep a job, get a professional license or obtain a student loan. Communities of color have been hit especially hard by the decades-long war on drugs. Studies show a stark racial imbalance in drug enforcement; a 2013 American Civil Liberties Union report concluded that African-Americans were nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, although use of the drug was roughly equal among the races.

The Alabama expungement statute is terribly narrow. As I have argued before, its almost useless 15-27-1(a) reads as follows:

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 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 or (4) When the charge was dismissed without prejudice more than two 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 two years.

In other words, if your were convicted, you cannot have the conviction expunged. And its even worse, if the charge was a felony deemed violent. If the charge is deemed a violent felony, even if the case was dismissed or acquittal is obtained, you cannot have it expunged from your record.

Accordingly, in my opinion, the only option is to seek a pardon from the Board of Pardon’s and Parole (or mayor if a municipal conviction.) A pardon is purely exercise of grace in the chief executive.

An act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.

The pardon declares that the conviction never occurred.