What Defines a Criminal Record in Alabama?
A criminal record is defined as an official document that records a person’s criminal history. The information is assembled and updated from local, county and state jurisdictions, trial courts, courts of appeals as well as county and state correctional facilities.
While the standard for criminal record collection and storage varies from county to county, a large percentage of Alabama criminal records are organized in online record depositories that are available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report. This report is accessed through a number of courts, police departments, and the official Alabama State Records Online Database.
Different sources collect information in various ways, sometimes using non-standardized state level protocols, storage classifications, requirements, organization and digitization processes. As a result, the amount of criminal records information presented on StateRecords.org may vary from individual to individual. Criminal records in the state of Alabama generally include the following subjects:
Alabama Arrest Records
An arrest record is an official document providing information regarding a person that has been questioned, apprehended, taken into custody, placed in detention, held for investigation and/or charged with, indicted or tried for any felony, misdemeanor or other offense by any law enforcement or military authority. An Alabama arrest record is composed of information maintained by a specific law enforcement agency pursuant to any arrests of an individual within that specific jurisdiction. An arrest record in Alabama is only one portion of all of the information that can be compiled in an individual’s criminal history record.
Alabama Arrest Warrants
An arrest warrant is an official document that is signed and issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the local and state jurisdictions, which authorizes a police officer to arrest or detain the person or people named in the warrant or to search and seize the individual’s property. An Alabama arrest warrant is issued by a judge after the judge has determined that there is probable cause to arrest a person in connection with an offense, as stated in the law.
A misdemeanor is a non-indictable offense that is generally less severe than felonies. However, like felonies, a misdemeanor charge is categorized by a number-based system designed to describe the severity of the alleged crime.
Each misdemeanor category in Alabama has a maximum sentence associated with it (as stated by law). Whenever a person is convicted of a misdemeanor, that person faces a maximum sentence of either hard labor or imprisonment in county jail; from class A, with the sentence of no more than a year, to class B – no more than six months, to class C – no more than three months. The fees are no larger than $ 6,000.
A felony offense is a criminal conviction with a maximum sentence of more than 1 year, which is to be served in a county jail or state prison. In some cases, a felony conviction can even be punished by death. Alabama law imposes additional prison time if a person convicted of a felony has also been convicted of one more felony in the past. The length of the enhanced penalty depends on the class (A, B, and C) of the prior felony and the number of prior felony convictions on record.
Alabama Sex Offender Listing
A sex offender listing is a registry of persons who were convicted of committing a sex crime that is often accessible by the public. In most cases, jurisdictions compile their laws into sections, such as traffic, assault and sexual. Judges are given discretion as to whether they require registration for crimes besides the charges listed under the sex offender registration law. A judge may order an adult to register as a sex offender if the crime they were convicted of involves sexual motivation.
Alabama Serious Traffic Violation
A serious traffic violation tends to involve willful disregard for public safety, death, serious bodily injury, damage to property and multiple minor traffic violations. In the state of Alabama the person who receives a traffic ticket must respond to a citation, usually by paying a fine or appearing in court, or else a warrant may be issued for your arrest and your driving license may be suspended. Points are also added to the offender's driving license. When a certain number of points is gathered the license can be suspended.
Alabama Conviction Records
A conviction record is an official document providing information that a person was found guilty, pleaded guilty or pleaded nolo contendere against criminal charges in a civilian or military court. The criminal charges can be classified as a felony, misdemeanor or other offense. Conviction also includes when a person has been judged delinquent, has been less than honorably discharged or has been placed on probation, fined, imprisoned or paroled. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include a final judgment that was deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed or otherwise rendered inoperative.
Alabama Jail and Inmate Records
Jail and inmate records are official documents of information about a person’s current and sometimes past inmate status. A person who is in jail or considered an inmate is someone who has been deprived of his/her civil liberties while on trial for a crime or while serving a prison sentence after being convicted of a crime. The state of Alabama has a Department of Corrections that maintains an inmate database that is often searchable online. These records often include the inmate’s name, incarceration date, expected release date, convicted offense and sometimes photos.
Alabama Parole Information
Parole records are an official document that includes information regarding the release of a prisoner who agreed to certain conditions prior to completion of their maximum sentence. While the prisoner is on supervised parole, the board shall require as a condition of parole that they pay a monthly supervision fee of not less than $30, unless the board agrees to accept a lower fee after determining inability of the prisoner to pay. The board may also impose any conditions of parole it deems appropriate, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the state of Alabama, to ensure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of Alabama are served.
Alabama Probation Records
Probation records are official documents that show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. Probation allows people convicted of a crime in Alabama to serve their sentences out of custody, as long as they comply with probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case. Probation typically falls into three categories: minimally supervised, supervised and intensive. Intensive probation is a form of very strict probation that has conditions that vary from state to state but that emphasize punishment and control of the offender within the community.
Alabama Juvenile Criminal Records
A juvenile criminal record is an official record of information regarding criminal activity committed by children or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Juveniles are not considered to be convicted of a crime like an adult but instead are found to be “adjudicated delinquent.” These criminal records are often mistakenly thought to be erased or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. If a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.
Alabama History and Accuracy of Criminal Records
The accuracy of the data of criminal records depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Alabama criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the 1970s when criminal and arrest data started to be centralized and compiled into an organized database much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by the human error in the past, but in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer, so the information provided on StateRecords.org will vary from person to person.
Alabama Megan’s Law
Megan's Law is the term for state laws that create and maintain a sex offender registry, which provides information on registered sex offenders to the public. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government implemented a requirement that all states establish sex offender registries and provide the public with information about those registered.
While each state's version of Megan's Law differs slightly, they all require some form of sex offender registration and community notification. Alabama's sex offender registry typically collects information that includes the offender's name, address, picture and the nature of their crime. States publish this information on freely available websites that the public can query in many different ways.