Section 13A-9-12

Offering false instrument for recording; nullifaction or expungement from record.

(a) A person commits the crime of offering a false instrument for recording if, knowing that a written instrument relating to or affecting real or personal property, or an interest therein, or directly affecting contractual relationships contains a material false statement or material false information, and with intent to defraud, he presents or offers it to a public office or a public employee, with the knowledge that it will be registered, filed or recorded or become a part of the records of that public office or public employee.

(b) Offering a false instrument for recording is a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) A person commits the crime of offering a false instrument for recording against a public servant if the person offers, for recording, a written instrument which relates to or affects the real or personal property, or an interest therein, or a contractual relationship of a public servant, knowing that the written instrument contains a materially false statement or materially false information, with the intent to defraud, intimidate, or harass the public servant, or to impede the public servant in the performance of his or her duties. For the purposes of this subsection, public servant is defined as in Section 13A-10-1.

(d) Offering a false instrument for recording against a public servant is a Class C felony.

(e) A recording official may nullify or expunge from an official record a false or fraudulent lien or instrument. A person or entity whose rights are affected by the filing of a lien or other instrument may petition a recording official to nullify or expunge the filing. If a lien or instrument is recorded with more than one recording official, then the petitioner may file such a petition with any such recording official, but may file only one such petition and any decision rendered on that petition in accordance with the procedures outlined in this subsection shall be equally applicable to all other filings. Such petition shall be in writing and sworn under oath and based upon the personal knowledge of the petitioner. A copy of such petition shall be delivered via certified and first class mail to the person or entity who filed the lien or instrument or who claims the rights or interests thereby at an address shown on the lien or instrument. Within 14 days of the filing of such a petition, the recording official shall give written notice of the filing of the petition to the person or entity who filed the lien or instrument or who claims the rights or interests thereby. Such notice shall be sent by certified and first class mail, shall be deemed delivered when placed in the mail, and shall state that any additional proof of the validity of the lien or instrument shall be filed with the recording official within 14 days of the date of mailing the notice and that the failure to do so could result in the lien or instrument being nullified or expunged. If the recording official does not grant the petition within 28 days of the date that it is filed, the petition shall be deemed denied. An order granting or denying a petition, if rendered, shall be delivered to the parties by the recording official by certified first class mail, but shall not be enforced, acted upon, or effective before the expiration of 28 days from the date of mailing or the final adjudication of any and all appeals of that decision, at which time any final order granting the petition shall be recorded and indexed in order to provide notice that the lien or instrument has been nullified or expunged. A party may appeal the decision of the recording official to the circuit court of any county where the lien or instrument was filed or to the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama. Such appeals must be filed within 28 days of the recording official’s order or deemed denied. Such appeals shall be filed and commenced as a civil action under the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, which shall otherwise apply to such actions on appeal. A notice of the appeal shall also be filed with the recording official, who shall file the notice as a lis pendens filing. The appeal shall be de novo by the circuit court without a jury. The prevailing party on appeal shall be entitled to a judgement against the other party for the prevailing party’s attorneys fees and expenses arising out of and relating to the appeal, and court costs shall be taxed against the non-prevailing party. The remedy and procedure provided in this subsection is not exclusive or mandatory. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the enforcement or challenge of any recorded lien or instrument as may otherwise be allowed by law. Nothing in this section alters or modifies any other requirements for the filing, enforcement, or challenge of any lien or instrument required or allowed by law.

(Acts 1977, No. 607, p. 812, §4035; Act 2012-209, p. 349, §§1, 2.)