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Alabama Court Records

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Alabama Warrant Search

An Alabama warrant is a writ issued by an officer of the law authorizing law enforcement agencies to perform an arrest or residency search. Warrants are typically issued when there is probable cause to suspect someone of committing a criminal offense within the state. They allow law enforcement officers in Alabama to conduct arrests and/or searches without risking civil or criminal liability.

Typically, an Alabama warrant search will furnish inquirers with the subject's personal information, warrant issue date, main summon or arrest charge, warrant degree, warrant number, the court/judge of warrant issue, bail amount, and court appearance date (if applicable). 

Interested members of the public may perform an Alabama warrant search through authorized custodians who issued or executed the warrant. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) also grants interested persons access to current criminal records, which includes a history of any warrants issued on the subject. 

Are Warrants Public Records in Alabama?

Yes, The Alabama Public Records Law under Al. Code §36-12-40 classifies warrants as public records. Thus, citizens have the legal authority to view and copy them, except otherwise expressly provided by state statute.

However, certain warrants may not be subject to public disclosure. For example, unexecuted search warrants are undisclosed to the public since their disclosure may impact their execution. Likewise, in some counties like Baldwin, the warrant Office does not release warrant information to the general public because of privacy policies. Notwithstanding, if someone believes they have a warrant for their arrest, they may visit the County Sheriff's Correctional Center booking office or take a photo ID to any local law enforcement agency to verify. Ultimately, warrants are kept confidential if public disclosure affects the investigation's progress or an individual's safety. 

Types of Warrants in Alabama

All warrants in Alabama serve specific administrative judicial purposes. The circuit's district attorney or any circuit judge issues several types of warrants for specific administrative or judicial reasons. Alabama warrants include:

  • Arrest Warrants: An arrest warrant is a written court order issued by the circuit, district, or municipal court judge demanding the immediate arrest and detainment of a named individual for an offense violating the state's criminal justice system code. 
  • Search Warrants: A search warrant is a legal authority to search an individual's residence for evidence of a crime. Search warrants are issued by the judge if there is probable cause to believe the evidence may be a leading premise for ongoing court proceedings. They are also issued to aid in investigation at the request of law enforcement. 
  • Alias Warrants: (Section 15-11-5) When a writ of execution is returned not satisfied or satisfied only in part, an alias writ of execution may be issued.
  • Civil Capias Warrant: Capias warrant is an apprehension order issued in an Alabama civil court case for a person who has already appeared before a judge and has pleaded guilty or been found guilty. Essentially, they owe money to the court, or they could not comply with the conditions of their probation or whatever court orders have been given.
  • Recall Warrants: A recall warrant is a court order to an issuing entity or peace officer that authorizes the cancellation of a subject's warrant of arrest.

What is a Search Warrant in Alabama?

According to Alabama code §15-5-1, a search warrant is an official document authorizing the examination or search of an individual's personal property. Search warrants are issued on probable cause and supported by an affidavit describing the subject of the warrant and the property to be searched.

Al. Code §15-5-2 establishes reasonable grounds for issuance

  • Where the property was unlawfully obtained (stolen or embezzled)
  • Where the property is suspected to be used as the means of committing a felony under the laws of the State of Alabama or any political subdivision thereof
  • Where the property is in the possession of any subject with the intent to use it as a tool for committing a public offense or in the custody of an accomplice to whom he may have delivered it to conceal its discovery
  • Where the property is suspected to constitute crucial evidence of a criminal offense under the laws of the State of Alabama 

Only the authorized officers to whom the search warrant is directed may execute the search, or by no other person in aid of such officer at their request, the officer being present and acting in the warrant's execution. A search warrant must be executed and returned to the judge or the magistrate by whom it was issued within 10 days after its date; if not executed after such time, it is void. (Al. Code § 15-5-12).

How Long Does It Take to Get a Search Warrant?

An Alabama judge may only issue and sign a search warrant once the probable grounds for a search and seizure are verified. There is no specified length of time according to the law. The timeline predominantly depends on the judge and the convincing power of the requesting peace officer.

What is an Arrest Warrant in Alabama?

Per Al. code. § 15-7-4, a "warrant of arrest" is an official document ordering the apprehension and detention of a defendant before a court appearance.

 Depending on available information, warrants may include or exclude the arrestee's name. However, the alleged offense, the county where it was issued, and the judge's or magistrate's signature must appear on the warrant. Arrest warrants must be issued and executed by "any lawful officer of the state."

Except as provided by §15-10-11, a warrant or writ of arrest may be executed in the county where it was issued unless the defendant is in another county. In this case, it may be executed by any law enforcement officer having the warrant or writ. The law enforcement officer shall summon the assistance of local law enforcement, if possible, to assist in making the arrest.

Arrest Warrant Lookup in Alabama

 To conduct a warrant lookup in Alabama, interested persons may visit the county Sheriff's Office or local court in person during office hours. The requester must provide the name, ID, or date of birth of the subject of the warrant. 

Most counties, like Baldwin County Sheriff's Office Warrant and Report Division, work closely with the Court Clerks, Judges, and District Attorney's offices in processing arrest warrants. The Warrant Office processes approximately 18,000 warrants per year. 

How to Find Out If You Have a Warrant in Alabama

Interested members of the public may find out if a warrant has been issued to them by visiting the police station, superior court, or sheriff's office within their jurisdiction. 

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) also grants citizens and residents access to current criminal records, including warrant history, through the Alabama Background Check System. Inquirers may fill out and submit a Criminal history form, provide a photo ID, and pay a $25 money order or cashier's check to complete this process. 

Requesters may also find out if they have a warrant in Alabama via their designated county's website or office address. Counties like Barbour County, Calhoun County, and Dale County maintain records of active search and arrest warrants.

Records of issued or executed warrants are also maintained by third-party websites. Information on these sites may vary since they are not government-owned. Thus, it's necessary to confirm through the official government website or hire an attorney within the jurisdiction for proper compliance.

Free Warrant Search in Alabama

Interested persons may visit local law enforcement department(s) within their jurisdiction to request a free warrant search in Alabama. Requesters may also call or use the self-service computers available in the courthouse lobby to search for these documents at no cost. However, inquirers requiring copies of the document must pay a fee to cover the cost of reproduction. 

How to Find Out If Someone Has A Warrant Online

An Alabama online warrant search can be carried out via the sheriff's office search tool or the issuing local courts. Inquirers may conduct these searches with the subject's first or last name. On the other hand, third-party websites offer online warrant search services for interested persons at a nominal fee.

How Long Do Warrants Last in Alabama

The court expects a peace officer to execute an issued warrant within 10 days. Failure to do so renders the warrant void (with possible re-issuance). Generally, warrants issued by a judge or magistrate remain valid until the person is arrested, brought to court, or if the court decides to issue a recall of writ. The court may also issue an alias writ per §15-11-5 if a defendant fails to appear on the day to which an examination is adjourned.

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Alabama Warrant Search