Tag Archive for: Trafficking

Alabama Expungement Law Takes Effect. Have you ever filled out a job application? If you have, you’ve probably been asked, “Have you ever been arrested?” It’s a pretty loaded question.

What if you were arrested, but prosecutors dropped the charges? What should you say then?

If you say no, you’re lying. If you say yes, the person reading the application will judge you for something you didn’t even do. “Well, they were arrested. Therefore, they must’ve done something wrong,” they’ll think. In addition, if they want, they can search the records and see the arrest for themselves.

Alabama’s lawmakers are fixing this problem.  On July 7th, a new expungement law will go into effect that allows Alabamians who have been arrested, but not convicted of a crime, to wipe away their arrest records. The expungment law also covers those that entered and completed deferment programs like drug or DUI court.  If your records are expunged, you may not have to disclose your arrest records on job, credit, or other applications.

Do you qualify to have your arrest records expunged? Let’s find out:

If you were charged with a misdemeanor, traffic violation, or municipal ordinance violation, your arrest records can be expunged. For instance, they can be expunged immediately if your charge was dismissed with prejudice, no-billed by a grand jury, or if you were found not guilty. For example, if the charge was dismissed without prejudice and prosecutors haven’t refiled it, you have to wait two years to expunge your records.

However, if you were charged with a felony, expungement depends on whether or not you were charged with a “violent” felony. Section 13A-11-70 of the Alabama Code lists the felonies that are considered violent. They are:

Most likely, any other felony charges are non-violent and can be expunged immediately if they were no-billed by a grand jury, dismissed with prejudice, or if you were found not guilty. Although, if you were offered a diversion program like mental health treatment, drug rehab, or veterans’ court, you can expunge your records one year after you complete the program. Finally, if your charge was dismissed without prejudice and prosecutors haven’t refiled it, you can get it expunged after five years if you haven’t committed any other crimes during that time.

So you qualify under the new law. How do you start expunging your arrest record? First, send a petition to the circuit court where the charge came from. Your petition will only be considered if you’ve already paid your other court fees and fines. Furthermore, you need to send a copy of your petition to the DA and the law enforcement agency that arrested you. The petition requires:

  • A sworn statement that you meet the law’s requirements;
  • A case action summary or certified copy of the arrest and case disposition;
  • A certified copy of the arrest record from the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center;
  • A description of the charges to be considered for removal and a description of the agencies involved in the arrest and any incarceration;
  • And $300 plus any local filing costs or court costs that the court charges.

Firstly, after you submit your petition, the DA’s office and the alleged victims have 45 days to file their own petition to keep the arrest records public. If nobody opposes, the judge can expunge the records right away, but otherwise, the judge will set a hearing at least 14 days from the date of the opposing petition.

Lastly, having a lawyer can make this process much easier.

However, if you have old arrest records hanging over your head, the new law could be a great opportunity for relief. Don’t miss it. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today to see if you qualify for expungement. If you do qualify, that attorney may be your best ally as you draft your petition. Therefore, an attorney can negotiate with the DA, explain your circumstances to the judge, and represent you at a hearing if victims object to your petition. Moreover, should you choose to call an attorney, the defenders at Boles Holmes White, are prepared to help you expunge your old arrest records. Contact us today for a free consultation at 205-502-2000.

Three Arrested in Jefferson County Drug Bust. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Wednesday documenting the arrests of three men accused of trafficking methamphetamine from Georgia to west Jefferson County, and of selling heroin.  However, the arrests come at the conclusion of a four month long investigation conducted by the sheriff’s office that began in October of 2013.

According to the press release, the three suspected drug dealers had been purchasing large quantities of meth from a dealer in Atlanta, GA, and selling it within Jefferson County. On February 28th narcotics investigators executed a search warrant for a home in the 4600 block of Birmingport Road in Mulga and found the suspects in possession of 19 ounces of the drugs.  Chief Deputy Randy Christian said the amount was enough for 532 individual doses of heroin, plus meth with a street value of roughly $106,500.  An unknown amount of GHB was also recovered at the home.

The three suspects arrested on meth trafficking charges were:

  • David Leigh of Mulga
  • Bradley Gipson of Edgewater
  • Matthew McGaha of Morris

Sheriff Mike Hale classified Gipson and Leigh as “mid-level” drug dealers.

Three Arrested in Jefferson County Drug Bust conclusion: McGaha, 32, has since been released from jail after he posted a $50,000 bond, Gipson, 23, remains jailed in lieu of a $52,000 bond and Leigh, 34, is held in lieu of a $152,000 bond.

Sheriff Hale held a press conference at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, he praised the community for the tips they provided to investigators which played a huge role in the drug bust.

Alabama Man Receives Life Sentence for Heroin Trafficking. Charles Askew Williams, 28, of Birmingham, was sentenced to Life without Parole last week after being convicted of heroin trafficking. A sentence of life without parole for a drug crime is a rare case.  Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Virginia Vinson even commented on how extreme the sentence was in her order. Judge Vinson stated that after looking at the law. She was left with no choice but to impose a sentence that would keep the man in prison for the rest of his natural life. The Judge further stated that if she “were able to give [him] a lesser sentence [she] would.”

Sentences for Life without Parole are usually reserved for the worst of the worst crimes in this state, such as Murder. However, under the Alabama Code, one convicted of drug trafficking, if the weight meets certain statutory guidelines, can also be sentenced in this manner.  Alabama Code § 13A-12-231 (1)(d) requires a mandatory sentence of life without parole for trafficking in marijuana if the total weight is over 1000 pounds. Therefore, in Alabama, even when considering the state’s new mandatory sentencing guidelines for drug offenses. One can still be sent to prison for life without parole for a first offence.

Similar mandatory sentencing provisions exist for trafficking in excess of 10 kilos of cocaine or amphetamines. In addition, 56 grams or more of opium; 10,000 pills of methaqualone. Furthermore, hydromophone; or 56 grams or more of LSD.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, figuring out your minimum and maximum punishments is one of the most important steps to take. Contact the Birmingham Legal Team at Boles Holmes White today for a free consolation. Let us get the help you need for your case. Even if your case is much smaller than the one discussed above, the Birmingham Legal Team can help.