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Alabama Arrest Records: How to Find Arrest Records in Alabama

Alabama Arrest Records: How to Find Arrest Records in Alabama
September 11, 2022

The state of Alabama operates using what is called the Code of Alabama, which is essentially a list of offenses that are prohibited in the state. The law enforcement officers in the state are authorized to arrest any individual violating the state code's provision.

 

The law enforcement officer in charge of the arrest is also responsible for preparing a report on the arrestee, referred to as an arrest record.


The arrest record in Alabama contains personal details about the subject and states the offense committed and the category of the offense. The arrest records serve as the basis for the criminal trial of the arrestee. 


Can Citizens of Alabama Access Arrest Records?


The Alabama Open Records Law allows interested parties to request and access the state's criminal records. Arrest reports for arrests made in Alabama are also typically included in criminal records. 

 

The Alabama Law Enforcement Criminal Records Department (ALECRD) is the organization in charge of maintaining the state's public criminal records. 

a gavel on a table in front of the Alabama flag


Citizens of Alabama who want criminal history reports can submit an application in person or by mail to the ALECRD. Alternatively, you can also access the arrest records by visiting local police stations to search for paying a small fee. 

 

The state allows different people ranging from the subject of the arrest record, employers, insurance companies, and any interested party to have access to arrest records. 


Laws Guiding the Use of Arrest Records


Although arrest records are made public in Alabama, some exemptions might prevent the full release of specific records. These conditions involve arrest records for an ongoing investigation, crime classification, and the subject's age (juveniles). 

 

However, despite these conditions, other requirements guide how arrest records can be accessed and what they can be used for.
The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act stipulates the process arrest records can be used by a specific group of people. 

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For example, employers are expected to seek the consent of their prospective employees before carrying out background checks, like requesting their arrest records. 


The same rule also applies to landlords who seek to carry out checks on their potential tenants. The state of Alabama firmly upholds the fair reporting act, and contravention can result in serious legal consequences.


How to Find Alabama Arrest Records?


The Sheriff's office or the local law enforcement agency in charge of the arrest is the best place to search for arrest records. These agencies usually handle most crimes committed in the state. 

 

Arrest records are also available at state courts, and for a federal offense, such records might be available in the relevant federal district court. However, most of these agencies require you to pay a small fee for administrative processing and copying of the record. 


Another alternative way to find arrest records in Alabama is through third-party websites. These websites search law enforcement databases for details regarding a person's arrest history. 

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A third-party search website requires you to provide specific information about the offender to make the search simple. 


Some required details include the physical description of the person, their name or known aliases, and any known or present residences. These websites also charge you to obtain this information. 

 

However, it is often faster as they have an extensive database and can provide the information you need in a shorter time than local agencies.


How Long Does Arrest Record Remain Public in Alabama?


In Alabama, there is no specific defined length of time that arrest records must remain public. However, in most cases, a person's arrest history typically remains on their record for a long time, possibly permanently. 


These arrest records are kept by the state, local, and federal government organizations and by the Department of Justice of the United States. Only by sealing or expunging the record is an arrest removed from a person's record.

a 3D illustration of an arrow sign that reads public records


How to Seal or Expunge Arrest Records in Alabama?


An arrest, charge, and prosecution can be removed from a person's record through expungement. The law regards criminal proceedings as having never taken place after an expungement. 

 

However, the process for expungement is not automatic and needs to be applied through state agencies. 


Alabama requires the following process for expungement filing:


1. Fill out the appropriate section of the Expungement Kit
2. Provide official fingerprints set by a law enforcement agency in the state
3. Present an application photo ID
4. Pay the stipulated fee, which is often $25


Conclusion


The state of Alabama has its local enforcement officers managing cases of arrest in the state and also the responsibility of making them available to the public. The process requires you to apply while respecting the fair credit act in the state. 


You can also be charged an administrative fee before accessing the requested arrest records. Alabama does not have a stipulated period before arrest records are removed from the public database; however, the state allows for the expungement of the record by following due process. 
 

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