What is an Arrest Record?
An Alabama arrest record is composed of information maintained by a specific law enforcement agency pursuant to any arrests of an individual within that specific jurisdiction. An individual could potentially have multiple arrest records in multiple jurisdictions within Alabama. An arrest record is only one portion of all of the information that can be compiled in an individual’s criminal history record. According to the Alabama penal code, a criminal history record can include “Information collected and stored in the criminal record repository of the Department of Public Safety reflecting the result of an arrest, detention, or initiation of a criminal proceeding by criminal justice agencies.” Examples of such documents are arrest record information, fingerprint cards, information about entry and release from correctional institutions, physical descriptions, notations of arrests, detentions, indictments, or other formal charges. For more information about the Alabama penal code, visit codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/32/2/4/32-2-60.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
An Alabama arrest warrant is issued by a judge after the judge has determined that there is probable cause to arrest a person in connection with an offense. To have probable cause, someone must swear under oath to the conditions under which the person committed an offense. This is called an affidavit. An AL arrest warrants enables officers of the law to arrest the individual so that can have a hearing. The hearing will determine whether the person actually committed a crime. Until then, the person is innocent until proven guilty.
An Alabama warrant is considered an active warrant until the person named in the warrant has been arrested. If it takes a long time to find the person and arrest them, the warrant will be called an outstanding warrant. An AL warrant can become an outstanding warrant when a person flees from the police, or when the police are unable to find the individual. Sometimes a law enforcement agency will have too many warrants to serve and they won’t be able to get to all of them. In this case, they will be prioritized by the severity of the offense. For example, felony warrants will take precedence over warrants for unpaid traffic fines. It is generally in your best interest to settle any warrants for your arrest. Contact a lawyer for advice.
How to Search For an Inmate in the Alabama Prison System
The Alabama Department of Corrections provides an inmate locator tool that can searched by first and/or last name and by Alabama Institutional Serial number (AIS). By using this tool, you can view an inmate’s name, race, sex, date of birth, current location, and release date. The database only provides information about inmates currently serving time in the Alabama state prison system. To access the inmate search tool, visit this website: http://www.doc.state.al.us/InmateSearch.aspx.
Although the information in this database is updated frequently, there may be delays when inmates are transferred or released. To visit an Alabama inmate, give the facility a call to let them know you are coming and to find out for sure that the inmate is still located there.
To determine the location of AL inmates serving time in county jails, you must contact the local law enforcement agencies individually. These records are maintained by the jurisdiction where the inmate is incarcerated and there is no statewide system for tracking them. To find out where an individual is in jail, you must know where in Alabama the crime was committed. The inmate will likely be housed in the jail of that particular AL county. Ask for the records department when you contact a county sheriff’s office. Some counties offer online inmate locators similar to the AL state level database, but many do not.
Who Can Search For Arrest Records and Warrants in Alabama?
The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center does not provide information about private citizens’ criminal histories to the public. The will only provide individuals with their own criminal history records. For a potential employer to request a background check through the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, they must subscribe to the Alabama Background Check system, and they must obtain written permission from the individual authorizing them to conduct a background check. To learn more about the Alabama Background Check system, you can visit this website: background.alabama.gov.
Alabama does not maintain a statewide database of outstanding warrant information. Providing warrant information to private citizens must happen at the discretion of local law enforcement agencies, from which the warrants originate. Full disclosure of warrants in your own name will be provided, but you may or may not be given information about Alabama warrants for people other than yourself.
How to Request Records Under the Alabama Public Records Act
Alabama law does not specify whether records must be requested in writing or not. The law does not say how long the AL government agencies have to provide the requested records, either. To make your Alabama records request go smoothly, it’s a good idea to put the information you need in writing so that employees of government agencies will be better able to assist you in the locating the appropriate records. The only records that are exempt from the Alabama Public Records laws are library circulation records for adults and records related to critical infrastructure that could make the population vulnerable to attack if released. Parents of minors may review their own children’s library circulation records. Reasonable fees may be associated with copying public records.
How Long Does An Arrest Record or Warrant Stay On File In Alabama?
In Alabama, arrest records stay on file indefinitely. It is particularly difficult to have arrest records expunged or sealed in Alabama. In some cases, you may be able to have traffic violations sealed, but you must contact a lawyer to initiate this process.
Alabama warrants remain on file until the person named in the warrant dies or until that person is arrested or otherwise settles their warrant. Even if the issue date of an AL warrant was many years ago, it remains on file in the jurisdiction where it originated.