The Importance of Alabama Criminal Records
If you had a brush with the law in Alabama, it is a public record that does not go away simply because you paid the fine or completed a jail or prison sentence. A criminal record follows you and could prevent you from getting a job or renting an apartment. An Alabama criminal record search has become a routine part of the process of hiring new employees and is a method used by landlords to screen prospective tenants. When so much is at stake, you want to know the records the state has about you are accurate.
Make sure that if you’re running an Alabama criminal record search for hiring or vetting tenants you use an FCRA certified background check service. Most other online criminal record resources are for reference only and cannot be used for those specific purposes.
Different types of Alabama criminal records
• Arrests and charges
• Dismissals, convictions and sentences
• Information about inmates in local jails and state prisons
• Probation and parole information
• Sex offender registry information
State and local government agencies compile a great deal of information about criminal offenses committed within their jurisdiction. When searching for your Alabama criminal record, you discover that it is more than just documents related to convictions.
The state also maintains records pertaining to criminal offenses committed by juvenile offenders. State law protects juvenile offenders by making their records confidential. As a general rule, access to the records is limited to parents, lawful guardians or attorney of record of the child in addition to law enforcement and official court personnel.
What is included in someone’s Alabama criminal record
A criminal record search usually reveals information about the arrest, the charges and the eventual disposition of the case. For example, records would show an arrest followed by either dismissal of the charges or a conviction. If the person arrested was fingerprinted, a copy of the fingerprint records would also be available.
Alabama criminal records include a chronological history of what took place starting with the date of the arrest. It follows the case to its conclusion through dismissal before trial, acquittal at trial, plea of guilty, or conviction after trial. A conviction or plea of guilty would be followed by sentencing information.
Criminal records include the following identifying information of the person arrested and charged with criminal activity
• The offender’s full name and address at the time of the arrest.
• Date of birth.
• Physical description of the person arrested, including height, weight and race.
• Fingerprints and photograph, which is frequently referred to as a “mugshot.”
Although they are public records accessible to anyone making a request for them, state law may limit access to some criminal records. For example, the law restricts access to records of cases involving juvenile offenders. It also prevents the release of fingerprints and mugshots when an arrest results in the person eventually being cleared of the charge.
How to look up Alabama criminal records
If you want to review your Alabama criminal record, you must complete a form provided by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and submit it with payment of a $25 administrative fee to the Criminal Records and Identification Unit. The form asks for your name and all nicknames or aliases that you have used along with date of birth and other identifying information.
The application must be signed by you in the presence of two witnesses. You can avoid the need for witnesses by signing the form in the presence of a notary public.
You must include with the application a copy of your driver’s license, passport or other government issued photo identification. The state will not release criminal record information without receiving a copy of your fingerprints taken by law enforcement agency on a fingerprint card authorized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The fingerprints are used to verify your identity and ensure the criminal records being accessed belong to you.
The importance of looking up an Alabama criminal record
If you were arrested and convicted of a crime, you want to know that the information people see about you when doing a criminal background search is accurate. Looking up your criminal record gives you the chance to check its accuracy and, if the information is wrong, challenge it.
The application the state gives you to request an Alabama criminal record includes an application to challenge the accuracy of the criminal history. The form includes a section allowing you to specify the portion of your criminal record that you believe is incorrect and provide an explanation supporting your belief.
You may also wish to look up an Alabama criminal record of another person. For instance, the records may show you that the person you plan to hire for a position with your company has a criminal record raising questions about their honesty and integrity. It may also give you peace of mind by letting you know that the person who wants to rent an apartment from you or the guy who asked you to go out on a date is not a convicted sex offender. If you need to look up the criminal record of yourself or of another person, there are online services you can use