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Alabama Public Records

The Alabama Open Records Law, codified at § 36-12-40 of the Code of Alabama 1975, grants every citizen the right to inspect and copy any public writing of the state, unless otherwise specified by statute. This “public writing” encompasses various forms of state documentation, but certain records may be exempt from disclosure based on specific legal provisions.

How to request Alabama Public Records?

The simplest method to obtain a public record is to reach out directly to the state or city agency responsible. Access can also be secured via private sources, given the records are open to the public.

Table of Contents

To request Alabama public records, proceed with the steps below:

Where to find Public Records in Alabama

Depending on the type of record you are seeking, there are numerous options for where you can find public records in Alabama.

Vital Records (Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce):

The The Alabama Department of Public Health website is the principal source for obtaining vital records. These records can be requested online, by mail, or in person at the local County Health Department.

Property Records:

Typically, these can be found at the County Recorder's Office or Probate Office in the county where the property is situated. Some counties offer online access to these records.

Business Records:

The The Alabama Secretary of State website is your resource for this. They provide online business searches where you can locate entities registered within the state.

Court Records:

Court records can be located on the website of the Alabama Judicial System, or the specific county's Circuit Court Clerk's office where the case was filed. Note that each county may have different regulations and online systems.

Driving Records:

Driving records are maintained by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). These can be requested online, by mail, or in person

Professional Licenses

You can verify the license of a professional in Alabama via the Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors, or the respective department for different professions. Website.

Alabama State Archives:

For older, historical records, you can search the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Website.

Are Alabama Public Records Available Online?

Yes. Alabama public records can be accessed online. The Alabama Open Records Act gives you the right to access public information maintained by local and state government agencies.

Many government departments have established online portals or databases where you can search and access several types of public records. However, depending on the agency and the type of information sought, the availability of certain records online can vary.

State Public Records Law

The Alabama Open Records Act governs the public’s access to state public records in Alabama. Except for certain exceptions and limitations, the Act aims to promote transparency and hold government bodies accountable by allowing individuals the right to access public records. Here are some key aspects of the Alabama Open Records Act:

Which records are public in Alabama?

Which Records are Not Public in Alabama?

While many records in Alabama are accessible to the public, there are certain records that are not publicly accessible due to privacy or legal concerns.

Here are some examples of records that are typically not considered public in Alabama:

Alabama Background Checks

In Alabama, background checks serve to compile information about an individual’s history, facilitating evaluations of their suitability for various roles such as employment, rental agreements, or partnerships. Background checks encompass a wide array of inquiries that are tailored to specific requirements. In Alabama, common types of background checks include criminal background checks, verification of employment history, confirmation of education and credentials, credit checks, reference checks, and more. The breadth and depth of the investigation depend on the nature of the query.

Alabama has stringent laws and regulations that govern background checks to protect individual privacy rights. These regulations outline rules on the collection, use, and dissemination of personal information during the background check process.

When conducting background checks in Alabama, it’s essential to adhere to legal and ethical standards. It’s necessary to obtain the appropriate consent from individuals who are being screened, ensure the security and confidentiality of data, and provide those individuals with an opportunity to review and dispute any incorrect information found in their background reports.

What Can Be Included In a Background Check Report?

Criminal Records

This section may include any law infringements including convictions at both state and federal levels, any jail time, sex offenses, traffic violations, and a mention if they are listed on the national watch list for possible terrorism.

Social Security/Citizenship Verification

It's important to verify a potential candidate’s social security number, any aliases they might use and to confirm that they are a legal U.S. citizen.

Sex Offender Registry

Sex offenders are legally required to register in the area where they reside.

Terrorism Watch List

The government maintains a list of people with known or suspected ties to terrorism. This information should be included in the report.

Driving Records

Depending on the job requirements, it might be essential to know that a potential employee has a clean driving record. If driving is part of their job, it becomes crucial to determine whether they have a history of DUIs or reckless driving.

Education Transcripts

To ensure accuracy in applications and resumes, a simple verification of school transcripts can provide the actual information about grade averages and degrees earned.

Credit Report

A simple credit report can reveal how an individual handles their finances.

Alabama Court Records

Overview of the Alabama court system and its Structure

The Alabama court system comprises various levels and types of courts, each handling distinct types of cases. Here’s a look at the structure of the Alabama court system:

  • Alabama Supreme Court: As the highest court in the state, it reviews appeals from lower courts and has the authority to interpret state laws and the Alabama Constitution.
  • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals: These intermediate appellate courts hear appeals from the Circuit Courts. The Court of Civil Appeals handles civil matters, domestic relations, and juvenile cases, while the Court of Criminal Appeals deals with criminal cases.
  • Circuit Courts: The Circuit Courts are Alabama’s general jurisdiction trial courts. They hear civil and criminal cases, as well as appeals from District Court, Probate Court, and municipal courts in certain situations.
  • District Courts: District Courts handle less complex and lower monetary value civil cases, small claims, misdemeanor criminal cases, traffic tickets, and preliminary hearings in felony prosecutions.
  • Probate Courts: These courts handle matters related to estates, wills, guardianships, conservatorships, and other issues such as adoptions and name changes.
  • Municipal Courts: Municipal courts deal primarily with city ordinance violations and misdemeanors.

Each court within the Alabama court system operates under its own set of rules and procedures, adhering to state laws and regulations. The primary aim of the Alabama court system is to offer a fair and efficient resolution of legal disputes, ensure access to justice, and uphold due process and the rule of law.

Types of Alabama Court Records

Civil Court Records​

Criminal Court

Family Court Records​

Probate Court Records​

Traffic Court Records​

Restrictions, Limitations, and Confidentiality

Alabama court records have specific restrictions and confidentiality measures in place to safeguard sensitive information and ensure privacy.

Sealed records, which contain confidential or sensitive details, are inaccessible to the public unless a compelling reason or court order is granted for their unsealing. Juvenile court records are treated as confidential to protect the privacy of minors involved, with limited access granted to authorized individuals and relevant government agencies. Mental health and probate records may also be subject to restrictions, ensuring privacy and requiring a court order for access.

Courts take steps to protect confidential information within records by redacting sensitive personal data. Certain records containing trade secrets, proprietary information, or sensitive data may be restricted from public access, with courts having the authority to limit or redact specific portions to prevent harm or misuse.

In Alabama, court records are managed at the county level by each of the 67 counties’ Superior Courts, operating within the framework of state laws and guidelines.

What do these records contain

Courts in Alabama

Alabama Public Vital Records

Marriage and Divorce Records: Marriage records are typically handled by the county Probate Court where the marriage took place, while divorce records are processed by the Circuit Court in the county where the divorce was granted.

Birth and Death Records: The Alabama Department of Public Health – Center for Health Statistics is the main repository for all public vital records in the state, including birth, death, and stillbirth records.

Copies of public vital records in Alabama can be either certified or non-certified.

  • Certified records: These are requested by the person named on the documents, their immediate family members, or legal representatives. Authorized government agencies may also access certified records for official purposes.
  • Non-certified records: If you are not eligible to obtain a certified vital record under Alabama law, you can request a non-certified copy for informational purposes. Non-certified records may contain the same information as certified records but are not considered official documents.

You may request vital records in Alabama online, by mail, or in person. It is important to note that fees and specific requirements may vary by county. Please consult the appropriate county or the Alabama Department of Public Health for the most up-to-date information.

Birth certificates$15.00
Marriage certificates$15.00
Divorce certificates$15.00
Death certificates$15.00
Fetal death certificates$15.00
Stillbirth certificates$15.00

Note: For each additional copy of the certificate the fee is $6.00.

Alabama Public Criminal Records

Definition and Types of criminal records in Alabama

Criminal records in Alabama refer to official documents and records that document an individual’s involvement in criminal activities within the state. They provide a comprehensive record of an individual’s interactions with the criminal justice system. Alabama criminal records can include various types of records, such as arrest records, court case records, conviction records, sentencing details, and probation or parole information.

Alabama criminal records typically contain the following information:

  • Personal Identification Details: Criminal records include personal information about the individual, such as their full name, aliases or nicknames, date of birth, and sometimes their address.
  • Arrest Records and Charges: These records provide details of the arrest, including the date, location, arresting agency, and the specific charges brought against the individual.
  • Court Case Information and Outcomes: This section of the record contains information about the court proceedings related to the case, including the court’s name, case number, case status, and important dates such as arraignment, pretrial hearings, and trial outcomes.
  • Convictions and Sentencing Details: If the individual has been found guilty, the record will indicate the conviction(s) and the specific charges for which they were convicted. It may include information about the sentencing, such as fines, probation, community service, or imprisonment.
  • Probation or Parole Status: If the individual is currently on probation or parole, the record may include details about the terms and conditions of their supervision.

Police Records and Reports

Access to police reports in Alabama is generally restricted, but certain information may be released upon request in accordance with the Alabama Public Records Law. This may include the arrestee's name, filed charges, and factual descriptions of the incident, such as the crime committed, presence of weapons, injuries, and property damage.

To request police reports, contact the relevant law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest. A comprehensive list of law enforcement agencies in Alabama can be found on the official website of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. It's important to note that certain details, such as victim information and potential risks to the public or the agency, may not be disclosed. Accessing police records may require submitting a formal public records request in compliance with the Alabama Public Records Act.

Booking Records and Reports

Booking records, also known as arrest records or booking logs, are created when an individual is taken into custody. These records typically contain the person's name, arrest date and time, charges, and relevant details related to the arrest.

In Alabama, booking records are generally considered public information and can be accessed through law enforcement agencies or online portals, depending on the jurisdiction. Contact the appropriate law enforcement agency or check their website for instructions on how to obtain booking records in the specific jurisdiction of interest.

DUI Records

In Alabama, driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense. Arrest and conviction records for DUI offenses are generally public and can be accessed easily. To obtain information on incarcerated individuals, including DUI-related arrests, search the inmate population of the relevant county jail.

Additionally, county court records can provide details on DUI convictions in Alabama. It's important to note that if no charges or convictions occurred, there may not be a public record available. For comprehensive and official background checks, it is recommended to utilize official sources and authorized service providers.

Felony and Misdemeanor Records

In Alabama, accessing felony and misdemeanor conviction records can vary based on the jurisdiction and case specifics. County Circuit Courts maintain records of court proceedings for felony convictions. To access these records, search the court files in the respective county where the case was heard. If the individual is currently incarcerated, the Alabama Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (ADOC) website allows searching for arrest, booking, and charge details.

For misdemeanor records, search the county court where the case was heard. If the individual is in jail, use the ADOC website for information on the charges. Availability and access to records may vary based on the jurisdiction and the specific details of the case.

Parole Records

To obtain parole records in Alabama, contact the County Circuit Court that handled the conviction. Request the documents in person or by mail, providing the person's name, date of birth, Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) number, and specific information sought. Case history searches at the County Circuit Court might provide some information, but detailed criminal history may not be available.

Parole records document the supervision and conditions of individuals released on parole from prison. They include details about parole terms, interactions with parole officers, and progress reports. Access to parole records depends on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case.

Probation Records

Alabama probation records can be requested from the Probate Division of the relevant County Circuit Court. Searching for probation records must be done in person as they may not be available online. Provide the full name, date of birth, Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) number, and specific details needed.

Copying the records may incur a fee per page. Probation records pertain to individuals sentenced to probation instead of incarceration. They contain information about probation conditions, reports from probation officers, and updates on compliance with the terms. The availability and access to probation records depend on the jurisdiction and the nature of the case.

Warrant Search

In Alabama, active warrants are not publicly accessible under state law. The confidentiality of warrant information is protected to uphold individuals' right to privacy. Therefore, the general public does not have access to warrant records. If a warrant has been executed, resulting in a booking or arrest, the information may be available through the relevant law enforcement agency, county jail, or by searching the Alabama Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (ADOC) website.

Inmate And Jail Records

Inmate search refers to the process of obtaining information about individuals currently incarcerated in correctional facilities in Alabama. The purpose of an inmate search is to provide public access to certain information about inmates, including their location, booking details, charges, sentence length, release dates, and parole eligibility status.

What you can find

When conducting an inmate search in Alabama, you can expect to find the following information:

  • Inmate Location and Facility Details: An inmate search provides information about the specific correctional facility where the inmate is currently housed, including the facility’s name, address, and contact information.
  • Booking Information and Charges: An inmate search allows you to access details about the inmate’s initial booking into the facility, such as the date of booking, booking number, and the specific charges brought against them.
  • Sentence Length and Release Dates: An inmate search provides information about the length of the inmate’s sentence, including the start date and anticipated release date, which helps understand the duration of their incarceration.
  • Parole Eligibility and Parole Board Decisions: An inmate search may indicate the inmate’s eligibility for parole and provide information on parole board decisions, including the outcome of parole hearings and any conditions imposed.

How to Perform an Inmate Search in Alabama

To conduct an inmate search in the State of Alabama you can visit the official website of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) at https://www.doc.state.al.us/

  • Look for the “Inmate Search” or “Offender Search” feature on the website. This can usually be found on the homepage or in a dedicated section related to inmate information.
  • Enter the required inmate information into the search fields. The most common search options include the inmate’s first and last name, Alabama Department of Corrections identification number (AIS number), or the inmate’s state identification number (SID).
  • Fill in the requested information accurately. If you have incomplete information, try entering as much detail as possible to narrow down the search results.
  • Submit the search query by clicking on the search button or similar option provided on the website.
    Review the search results. The system will display a list of inmates that match the entered criteria. The information provided may include the inmate’s full name, AIS number, SID, current location, custody status, and sometimes their mugshot.
  • Click on the specific inmate’s name to view more detailed information, such as their physical description, offense details, sentence length, parole eligibility, and release date.
  • If you need further assistance or have additional inquiries, utilize the contact information provided on the ADOC website to reach out to the appropriate department.

Jails & Prisons in Alabama

State Prisons:

County Jails:

Can I look up mugshots in Alabama?

In Alabama, mugshots (booking photographs) are generally considered public records. This means that they can be accessed and viewed by the general public unless there’s a specific legal reason preventing their release. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Public Records Law: Under the Alabama Public Records Law, citizens have a right to inspect and obtain copies of public records, including mugshots. However, specific exceptions or other laws could limit the accessibility of certain records.
  • Online Databases: Many county sheriff’s departments and local law enforcement agencies in Alabama maintain online databases of current inmates, which often include mugshots. You can visit the official website of the specific county or city law enforcement agency to access these databases.
  • Purpose of Request: While mugshots are public records, the purpose behind obtaining and distributing them matters. Misusing mugshots, such as for extortion or for commercial gain without the depicted individual’s permission, can lead to legal consequences.
  • Expunged or Sealed Records: If an individual’s records are expunged or sealed due to a court order, their mugshot and other related details might no longer be publicly accessible.
  • Contacting the Agency: If you cannot find a mugshot online, you can contact the appropriate law enforcement agency directly. They might provide guidance on how to obtain the mugshot, if it’s available to the public.
  • Third-party Websites: Numerous third-party websites aggregate and display mugshots.

Alabama Arrest Records

Alabama arrest records refer to official documents and records that document an individual’s arrest by law enforcement authorities within the state. These records provide information about the circumstances, charges, and outcomes of an arrest. The primary purpose of arrest records is to create a comprehensive record of an individual’s involvement with the criminal justice system and to ensure transparency and accountability in law enforcement activities.

What Do These Records Contain:

Alabama arrest records typically contain the following information:

  • Personal Identification Details: Arrest records include personal information about the individual, such as their full name, aliases or nicknames, date of birth, and sometimes their address.
  • Arrest Information: These records provide details of the arrest, including the date, time, and location of the arrest, the arresting agency or police department, the name of the arresting officer, and the charges brought against the individual.
  • Booking Information: Arrest records may include details about the booking process, such as fingerprints, photographs (mugshots), and personal identifying information collected during the booking procedure.
  • Charges and Criminal Offenses: Arrest records outline the specific charges or criminal offenses for which the individual was arrested. This includes the nature of the offense and any applicable penal code sections or statutes.
  • Court Case Information: Depending on the stage of the criminal proceedings, arrest records may provide limited information about the subsequent court case, including the court’s name, case number, and other relevant case details.

Alabama Property and Asset Records Online

In Alabama, property and asset records are managed at the county level. Each county has its own registry of deed offices responsible for overseeing property records. However, the State Comptroller’s Office in Alabama does not provide a centralized search tool or registry for finding and claiming properties. To access property records, you will need to contact the registry of deed office in the specific county where the property is located.

Unclaimed Properties in Alabama

Searching for unclaimed money or properties in Alabama is a straightforward process. The Alabama State Treasury offers an online search tool where you can input your name and address to conduct a search for any unclaimed funds. This service allows you to check if you have any unclaimed assets in the state.

Driving Records

The Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), also known as the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), provides access to driving records. To obtain your driving records, you can visit the ALEA website and follow the instructions to request and print your own driving record. The fee for accessing your driving records may vary, and you will need to ensure that your printer is connected and ready to print the records. If you require an official hard copy of your driving record, you may need to complete a request form and submit it by mail to the ALEA.

Civil Driving Infractions

In Alabama, civil driving violations are considered minor offenses. Examples of civil driving infractions include speeding, running a red light, tailgating, unsafe lane changing, and not wearing a seatbelt. The penalties for civil driving infractions typically involve fines and, in some cases, community service. However, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is considered a more serious offense and is treated as a criminal misdemeanor. DUI offenses in Alabama can result in penalties that include jail time and substantial fines, depending on the circumstances.

Alabama White Pages - Find People, Addresses, and Other Non-Official Information

Address Search ​

Public members in Alabama have the right to conduct an address lookup, provided they adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Alabama Public Records Law. While addresses may be considered public information in certain contexts, it’s essential to ensure that any request aligns with the provisions of the law and respects any privacy concerns or restrictions. Moreover, individuals must be cautious with the use and sharing of this data, as there may be limitations on its dissemination based on legal or ethical considerations.

People Search​

In Alabama, conducting a people search can be helpful in gathering information about individuals. Various online resources and databases are available to assist in such searches. One option is to use public records websites that provide access to a wide range of information, including basic details like full name, address, and phone number.

Can I Search By a Phone Number and Identify The Owner?

Yes, it is possible to identify the owner of a specific phone number using reverse phone lookup services. These services correlate and provide information associated with phone numbers, including names, addresses, contact details, and occasionally profile photographs and social media profiles. There are multiple methods available for conducting a reverse phone number lookup, such as searching by address, name, or other associated details.

License Plate Lookup in Alabama

In Alabama, similar to most states, public requests for driver information based on license plate numbers are generally limited to specific situations. If you are the victim of a crime and have the license plate number of the vehicle involved, local law enforcement can run a license plate lookup to identify the registered owner. However, the obtained information is typically not made available to the victim or the public.

Third-party online services may offer vehicle history reports based on license plate numbers. These reports are based on the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) tied to the registered plate. They provide specific information about the vehicle, including safety recalls, significant repairs, sale dates and prices, and registration and sale locations. However, they do not include information about the registered owner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who and why can request public records?

Public records in Alabama are accessible to all members of the community, including individuals, groups, journalists, businesses, and researchers. The purpose of allowing public records requests is to ensure transparency and accountability in government operations. It enables citizens to gain insight into the functions and decisions of governmental entities.

Are there fees associated with requesting public records?

Yes, there may be fees associated with obtaining public records. Governmental bodies often charge reasonable fees to cover the costs of duplicating, digitizing, and assembling the requested documents. The specific charges can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the request. However, certain types of requesters, such as media representatives or non-profit groups, may be eligible for fee waivers or reductions.

Are public records Free to access?

While some public records may be available for free online, specific records that are not readily accessible may require a formal public records request, which may incur fees. Some government agencies proactively publish certain records online and make them accessible to the public at no cost.

What is the response time for public records requests?

The response time for public records requests can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the complexity of the request. State laws and regulations often set a timeframe within which government agencies must respond to requests, which can range from several days to multiple weeks. However, requests involving a large volume of records or requiring redactions to protect confidential information may require additional processing time.

Can my request be rejected?

Yes, a public records request can be denied under certain circumstances. Government agencies may reject a request if the records fall under specific exemptions or are legally protected from disclosure. Common reasons for denial include the protection of personal privacy, ongoing investigations, national security concerns, attorney-client privilege, and trade secrets.

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