AL – Search Alabama Arrest Records

Arrest records in Alabama are considered public records, but accessing them can be a bit of a maze due to the decentralized nature of the system. This article will guide you through the process of obtaining arrest records in Alabama, including the necessary steps, resources, and important considerations.

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Contact the Law Enforcement Agency

The first and often simplest method to obtain arrest records is to contact the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest. This could be the local sheriff’s office or police department. You can usually find their contact information on their official website. When you reach out, be prepared to provide the full name and date of birth of the person whose arrest record you are seeking.

Utilize the Alabama Judicial System’s Online Portal

Another option is to use the Alabama Judicial System’s ON-DEMAND Access To Alabama State Trial Court Records portal. This online database allows you to search for criminal records, including arrest information, using the individual’s name or case number. Keep in mind that there is typically a fee associated with this service, so be prepared for that expense.

Visit the Local County Courthouse

For those who prefer in-person access, visiting the local county courthouse is an option. Most county courthouses have public records departments that allow individuals to access arrest records. This approach is beneficial if you have specific details about the arrest but lack online access. Remember that the availability of records may vary from county to county.

Understand the Difference Between Arrest and Criminal Records

It’s crucial to distinguish between arrest records and criminal records. An arrest record simply indicates that someone was arrested for a crime; it does not confirm their guilt or conviction. Understanding this distinction will help you interpret the information you obtain accurately.

Are Criminal Records and Arrest Records Public Information in Alabama?

In accordance with Code of Alabama 36-12-40, the general public possesses the right to review or request copies of documents and writings produced by any government agency within the state. This includes both local and state government entities, unless statutory regulations explicitly prohibit the disclosure of such records.

There are exceptions to the disclosure of records, which include:

  • Juvenile records.
  • Records that might adversely affect the security of individuals, such as the identities of witnesses or victims in police reports.
  • Any record that poses a threat to the security of a government agency or facility, including confidential information.
  • Investigative reports related to ongoing criminal cases, the release of which could hinder the investigation.

In simpler terms, adult criminal records in Alabama are generally considered public records and are accessible for examination or duplication. However, these records may undergo redaction, where certain portions are blacked out or removed, to safeguard the identities of victims, witnesses, or jurors’ names in court transcripts. For instance, the names of victims may be redacted from an arrest report before it is made available to the public.
Additionally, a screenshot from the government’s central website for the Freedom of Information Act displays the agency search section, featuring an empty agency name search bar and a dropdown menu listing government agencies.

Albama Arrests


For federal agencies like the US Bureau of Prisons or federal courts operating in Alabama, compliance with the federal Freedom of Information Act is mandatory. This act stipulates that records generated by public entities are generally considered public records, unless their release could jeopardize national security or the safety of individuals listed in the records, such as witnesses or victims.
Arrest records in Alabama also fall under the category of public records and can be accessed through local law enforcement agencies or via statewide and national background checks.

Consider the Possibility of Expungement or Sealing

Arrest records may not always be accessible to the public due to expungement or sealing. In certain circumstances, an individual’s arrest record can be expunged or sealed, meaning it is removed from public view. If this has occurred, you will not be able to obtain the arrest record. It’s essential to check the person’s eligibility for expungement or sealing before pursuing their arrest record.

Be Prepared for Potential Fees

Keep in mind that there may be fees associated with obtaining arrest records. The cost can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the method you choose. Be prepared to cover these expenses, and inquire about the fees upfront to avoid any surprises.

Be Aware of the Lack of Centralization

Unlike some states, Alabama does not have a centralized arrest database. This means you may need to search multiple counties or jurisdictions to find a complete arrest record, especially if the individual has been arrested in different locations.


How can I obtain a copy of my own arrest record in Alabama?

To obtain your own arrest record in Alabama, you can contact the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC) and submit a request for a background check. You'll need to provide your fingerprints and a processing fee.

Can I access someone else's Alabama arrest records?

Generally, Alabama arrest records are considered public information. However, access may vary depending on the circumstances and the agency involved. Law enforcement agencies and certain employers may have access to these records for specific purposes.

How can I check if someone has an outstanding warrant in Alabama?

To check for outstanding warrants in Alabama, you can contact the local law enforcement agency, such as the sheriff's office or police department, for the county in question. They can provide information on active warrants.

Are Alabama arrest records available online for public access?

Yes, some Alabama counties offer online databases for public access to arrest records. However, the availability and completeness of these online databases may vary from county to county.

What should I do if I believe there's an error in my Alabama arrest record?

If you believe there's an error in your Alabama arrest record, you can contact the agency that maintains the record, such as the arresting law enforcement agency or the ACJIC, to initiate a correction request. Providing supporting documentation is often necessary to rectify inaccuracies.