When researching what is required for a background check, Alabama is one that that may surprise many people, because there is more than just one kind of Alabama background check.
Like many states, there are different kinds of background checks used in Alabama for different purposes. And, all have unique requirements that are based on updated laws, such as the Open Records Law.
Be warned that the laws regarding background searches are constantly changing. Failing to understand the newest, most up-to-date laws (explained below) can result in penalties, or simply receiving an Alabama background check report that doesn’t include all records.
For these reasons, knowing what’s in these laws and which background checks to use is the key to performing a legal Alabama background check that is comprehensive and leaves no stone unturned.
How to Find Official Alabama Background Check Info and Public Records
Like most states, records in Alabama are held in several different places. Which source should be used will depend on a variety of factors, such as who is requesting the information, what the information is for, and what information is needed.
Some common checks include:
Many types of background checks will overlap. For example, in a caregiver background check, criminal records and sex offender registries and history will be searched.
Find Public Records for an Alabama Background Check
In general background checks and the retrieval of background check-related information, such as how to get a copy of criminal records, will involve one of two government agencies: The local county clerk office or the Alabama State police.
In Alabama, both the county clerk’s office and the state police will have access to any criminal history information for the state. This includes arrest records, convictions, and any other information that was part of the criminal proceedings. Due to the Alabama Open Records Law, public records in Alabama can be viewed by anyone with a few exceptions.
In general, the most common exceptions that would cause certain information not to be available to the public include records that are sealed due to expungement or due to the fact that the crimes were committed by a juvenile and the criminal records were sealed, as well as records that are part of ongoing investigations.
Find Alabama Public Records Through County Clerks
When obtaining information for a background check, Alabama records can most easily be accessed through the various county clerk offices throughout the state. This is especially useful for individuals trying to find criminal history information on a specific individual or for those who need to know how to run a background check on yourself.
Keep in mind that the county clerk will only have criminal history information, so individuals who need a complete background check should go through the state police. Information on getting an Alabama background check through the state police is outlined further down.
Finally, the last thing to consider before attempting to find public records through the county clerk is that each clerk will only have criminal history information for the specific county. Knowing what county the individual being searched has lived in, is essential. Performing an address lookup or who lives here search can be helpful in finding the right county to search.
Detailed steps for obtaining criminal history information through the county clerk include:
Step 1: Locate the Correct Circuit Court
The state of Alabama has a district court specific to each county. In order to obtain criminal history information for an individual, the first step is to identify the court where the case was held.
Step 2: Contact the Court Directly
The final step is to contact the court by mail or email with the records request. In general, case information and/or the name of the individual should be enough for the clerk to perform the search and return the findings back to the requester.
Below is a list of the county clerk website for every county in Alabama
Find Alabama Court Records (Just One Look Alabama)
Alabama court records can also be accessed through the Alabama Public Access to Court Records Portal. Detailed steps to use the online court records system are outlined below.
Step 1: Access the Just One Look website.
The Alabama online court records system can be accessed through the website of any district court or by using the Just One Look link.
Step 2: Create an Account
In order to search the online court records portal, individuals must first create an account. Only basic contact information is required to create an account such as a name and email address.
Step 3: Perform Search and Pay Search Fees
With an account created, simply perform the search on the homepage of the online portal. Searches can be completed using the first and last name of an individual or by entering the case number, if a specific case is being searched for. (Knowing the middle name of the person can also help narrow search results.)
Both a case number search and a name-based search cost $10 to complete. Images of the information can also be purchased for $5 for the first 20 pages and an additional $0.50 per page thereafter.
There is also the option to receive updates on a case for the lifetime of the proceedings for $19.99 for a district case and $29.99 for a circuit case.
Criminal Background Check: Alabama Fingerprint Process
Certain jobs may require more extensive background checks that require fingerprints. The Alabama state police is in charge of these checks and provides the required fingerprinting services.
In most states the local sheriff’s department will be able to provide criminal history information for the county, however Alabama Sheriff’s departments refer individuals to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency for all records requests.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is in charge of all criminal history information for the state. Detailed steps on how to obtain Alabama Criminal History Record Information is outlined below.
Step 1 : Access the Website of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
Once the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency website has been accessed, simply navigate to the services page and select the “criminal history information,” link.
Step 2: Fill out the Provided Form
Selecting the “Criminal history information,” link will take users to the ALEA Application to Review Alabama Criminal History Record Information (CHRI). The form can be printed and filled out by hand.
Step 3: Provide Required Information and Submit Application
The application has detailed instructions on page 3. These instructions include what information to include on the form, where and how to get fingerprinted, information regarding paying the application fee, and how and where to submit the completed form and accompanying documents.
Alabama Background Check for Employment
Many jobs in the state require a specific background check Alabama. Jobs such as those relating to child care or jobs involved with other vulnerable groups require additional and specific checks compared to those on traditional pre-employment background checks. Specific checks that are required for various jobs in the state of Alabama are outlined below.
Background Check Alabama Teachers
Teachers in the state of Alabama must go through a background check that is mandated by the Alabama Department of Education. The check includes a typical national criminal history information check as well as several other checks specific to teachers, such as child abuse and neglect registry checks and others.
Background checks are performed through a 3rd party company, more information can be found on their website. In general, basic contact information such as a name, address and social security number will be required as part of the check. Fingerprints are also required as part of the check with specific information as to how and where to get official fingerprints outlined in the provided link.
The background check application fee is $48.15
Healthcare Background Check AL
Individuals who work in the healthcare field in Alabama must also undergo a background check that is specific to their profession. This check includes all of the basic checks as well as checks of additional databases such as the FDA Debarment list, as well as several other databases that keep track of abuse and fraud in the healthcare industry.
Specific details and steps for a background check in Alabama that is specific to the healthcare field can be found here.
Education Background Check Alabama
Individuals who work in education are generally subject to the same background check as teachers. Information for specific checks and how to submit an Alabama department of education background check can be found here.
Alabama Child Care Background Check
Child Care background checks are generally one of the most thorough in the entire country and Alabama is no different. There are specific federal laws that dictate specific checks that anyone will be unsupervised with children must undergo. These checks include the normal criminal history checks as well as the following:
- FBI Identity History Summary Check
- National Sex Offender Registry Check
- State Criminal Registry Check
- State Sex Offender Registry Check
- State Child Abuse and Neglect Registry Check
Detailed steps for how to submit a child care background check in Alabama can be found on the Alabama Department of Human Resources website.
Alabama Inmate Lookup and Sex Offender registry Search
Searching for inmate information in the state of Alabama is extremely easy due to the well-maintained inmate search portal that is maintained by the Alabama department of corrections. Detailed steps on how to search for an inmate are provided below:
Step 1: Access the Alabama Department of Corrections website.
On the website’s homepage, simply select the “inmate info” tab and select inmate search to gain access to the search portal.
Step 2: Perform Search
On the inmate search page simply enter in the first and last name of the inmate to get access to inmate information such as where they are being held, sentencing information, and criminal information.
Sex Offender Registry Search
A sex offender regsitry search in Alabama is one of the easiest searches to perform and is completely free. Detailed steps on how to perform a state-wide sex offender registry search are provided below:
Step 1: Access the Alabama Sex Offender Registry website.
The sex offender registry search website can be accessed through the Alabama Law Enforcment Agency website.
Step 2: Perform Search
Follow the onscreen prompts on the Sex Offender Registry website to perform a search. Searches can be performed using the name of an individual or an email address. There are also additional search options available that allow users to view sex offenders with in a certain geographical range using and address or zip code.
Alabama Gun Background Check
Alabama gun background checks are performed the same way they are in many states, through an FBI database. Firearms dealers are required by federal law to conduct a background check through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System before the transfer of firearms takes place.
There is also an additional law that requires firearms dealers to view the purchaser’s identification prior to the transfer of the firearm.
The above laws only apply to licensed firearm dealers in the state of Alabama and private sellers are not required to perform background checks prior to the transfer of a firearm.
Alabama Background Check Laws
Alabama has very few laws regarding background check compared to the rest of the United States. In general the only background check laws that are applicable in Alabama are those required by federal law, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
How Long Does a Background Check Take In Alabama?
A background check in Alabama will normally take less than a week, but in some cases can take several weeks in case someone is wondering, “why is my background check taking so long to come back?” Additional checks and background checks that require fingerprints will almost always take longer.
In general, a typical pre-employment background check should not take more than a week in Alabama, assuming that only standard information is being checked such as state criminal history information and basic identity verification.
Requesting criminal history information from the state or a county clerk can sometimes take over a month, especially if the request is made by mail.
An Alabama background check is not that different from most other states. Although the state government has background check requirements for certain jobs, these checks are all performed by the state, which makes getting a background check Alabama a reasonably simple and streamlined process.