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Alabama Warrant Records

What is a Warrant in Alabama?

In Alabama, a warrant is a type of legal authorization, or a writ, that comes from a qualified officer and allows an act that would otherwise be illegal. The intention is to violate the rights of a person and, at the same time, offer protection from damages to the person carrying out the order contained in the warrant. In Alabama, judges and magistrates are examples of legal authorities that are competent to issue warrants of any kind.

A warrant issued by the state courts can come in various forms to serve different judicial purposes. They can be arrests, search aliases, and bench warrants. Others include Capias or Capias Pro Fine Warrants, Civil Capias Warrants, Fugitive, and Governor’s Warrant. Thus, persons may find themselves under an apprehension order, an order to search their property, arrest them, or some other reason.

A warrant is issued where there are sufficient facts to show that an offense was committed and there is probable cause to show that the accused is guilty. The warrant must identify the subject’s name, but a fictitious name will suffice if they are unknown. If a fictitious name is used, the warrant is regarded as a John Doe warrant and must include a physical description of the person in question.

How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant in Alabama?

If a person in Alabama has a warrant out on them, it means that a judge has signed a document that allows police officers to arrest and bring them to court. The police may also use court warrants to place suspects in jail and search their residences for more evidence. There are two main ways to check if a warrant has been issued against a person:

  • Search from law enforcement agencies
  • Alabama Warrant Search by counties
  • Alabama Background Check System

Individuals who want to find out if there is a warrant against them may contact the nearest police station for inquiries. A less direct approach is to search on the internet for an online database that contains outstanding warrants. An example is the US Drug Enforcement Administration which allows a search on its website for fugitives with federal warrants issued against them.

Alternatively, search the United States Marshals website for a list of fugitives with outstanding warrants under Alabama’s jurisdiction. It is possible to conduct an Alabama Warrant Search by county, as some counties, such as Barbour County, Calhoun County, Dale County, and Etowah County, maintain records of existing warrants.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) also allows interested persons to access current criminal records, including warrants of subjects, through the Alabama Background Check System. To do this, fill and submit an application form, provide a photo ID and pay a $25 money order or cashier’s check to complete this process. Persons who have reason to believe that they have an outstanding warrant in Alabama may need to contact an attorney. This will help them to better understand their rights and responsibilities to the state of Alabama when there is a warrant out in their name.

Records of warrants issued or executed in various jurisdictions are also maintained and by third-party websites. While third-party sites make accessing these records substantially easier, the information available on the sites may vary since they are not government run sources. To obtain warrant records from a third-party site, the requesting party may be required to provide:

  • The personal information of the alleged suspect
  • Information regarding the issuing officer
  • The location where the warrant was issued.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in Alabama?

Depending on the nature of the charge, a warrant may or may not expire. For instance, most warrants issued over felony charges do not expire. On the other hand, Misdemeanor warrants have a validity period that lasts 180 days or one year from the day it was issued. Yet, even when it expires, it can be re-issued upon a request from a relevant law enforcement agency. So, the warrant technically does not go away.

The consequences of an individual having a warrant on them are that they can be arrested at any place, be it work, school, or a party. So, a person that evades arrest for several years may be caught up by a routine stop by the police. It is important to note that where law enforcement gets a warrant and fails to execute it, the warrant may no longer be valid because the information used to obtain it is stale. Trying to wait out or evade a warrant is often a bad idea, as both local and federal law enforcement agencies work together.

The agencies use the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database to search for warrants and other records of the persons they stop. Persons who suspect that they have a warrant need to confirm from relevant authorities and take steps to deal with the situation. If it is confirmed that there is an active warrant, it is best to clear it up by contacting the court that issued the warrant or the relevant law enforcement agency. Willingness to resolve this issue is in the suspect’s favor, especially if there are charges involved.

What is an Alabama Search Warrant?

As provided by Rule 3.6 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, an Alabama Search Warrant is a written order signed by a judge or magistrate upon the request of a District Attorney or law enforcement officer. It is issued in the name of the state or municipality and empowers law enforcement officers to search a person or property to find evidence of a crime.

According to Rule 3.8 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, the grounds upon which a search warrant may be issued for a property are:

  • Where the property sought was or is expected to be obtained unlawfully
  • Where it is to be used to commit an offense under the Alabama State laws
  • If the property in question is in possession of a person with the intent of committing a criminal offense with it
  • The property is evidence of a criminal offense

As such, when there are reasons to believe a probable cause, a judge or magistrate may issue a warrant describing the person and property to be searched. Under Rule 3.10 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, the officer must search within ten days and bring an inventory of the property searched before the court that issued the warrant. A search warrant must also be executed in the daytime unless the property in question is an explosive, controlled substance, or a weapon of mass destruction.

What Can Make an Alabama Search Warrant Invalid?

The Fourth Amendment is the principal authority that may render an Alabama Search Warrant invalid. It provides that citizens of the United States are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. The failure to follow any of the laid down procedures necessary to obtain a search warrant may also render it invalid. Under the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, if any of the following criteria are absent, a search warrant may be invalid:

  • The search warrant must be sworn to under oath and contain all information enough to convince a judge or magistrate that there is probable cause.
  • Information contained in the “Affidavit in Support of Search Warrant” must be legally obtained.
  • The information contained in the affidavit must be recent
  • Where the information is from an anonymous source, they must be reliable
  • Probable cause must be present

What is an Arrest Warrant in Alabama?

An arrest warrant in Alabama is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that empowers law enforcement officers to arrest a person concerning a crime. Under Rule 3.1 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, it is issued where probable cause is shown, under oath, that the person named on the warrant has committed a crime. By the provision of Rule 3.2 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, the arrest warrant shall contain the name of the accused person, and where the name is unknown, a description.

It shall also contain the offense with which the accused is charged and command that the accused is arrested and brought before the court. If the offense is bailable, the arrest warrant may state the conditions for the release of the accused, usually by self-recognizance or by bond. Rule 3.5 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that a defect in form does not invalidate an arrest warrant. Instead, it may be amended to remedy the defect.

What is a Child Support Arrest Warrant in Alabama?

A Child Support Arrest Warrant is an order by a judge or a magistrate to arrest a person for offenses bothering child support. It is issued where a person who has been ordered by the court to show up for their child support hearing, fails to do so. A judge or magistrate may also issue a Child Support Arrest Warrant where a person has not paid child support in a long time or cannot be located. A Child Support Arrest Warrant aims to recover money owed and ensure the defaulting parent keeps up with child support payments in the future.

In Alabama, the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Alabama Department of Human Services (CSED) helps families secure compliance with child support court orders. The Child Support Arrest Warrant is of two kinds, civil and criminal. Most times, the court prefers to issue a civil warrant. Thus, the parent with custody will come before the court with proof that the noncustodial parent has not been paying child support. After observing the facts, the judge or magistrate may issue a warrant for contempt due to non-compliance with the court order of child support. The Noncustodial parent must show up in court to give reasons for their noncompliance. The warrant empowers the law enforcement agency to bring the parent before the court.

A criminal child Support Arrest Warrant arises when the non-payment of child support is regarded as a felony. This usually depends on the amount owed. Where a criminal warrant is issued, the parent is regarded by law as a wanted criminal. If a person is detained because of a Child Support Arrest Warrant issued against them, they will remain in custody until they pay the money ordered by the judge. Although, most times, the court is reluctant to jail a parent, as a jailed parent cannot raise the child support money.

What is an Alabama Bench Warrant?

The Code of Alabama defines a bench warrant as one issued by a judge to arrest a person accused of a crime by a grand jury. A judge may issue a bench warrant where a person has violated the rules of the court or is in contempt of court. Two of the ways by which a person can violate court rules are:

  • Where a criminal defendant on bail fails to show up
  • Where a witness under subpoena does not appear for trial

Once this warrant is issued, law enforcement officers may use it to bring the person to court like any other arrest warrant. What makes a bench warrant different from a regular arrest warrant is that the police institutes the arrest warrant process, where there is probable cause. However, the issuing of a bench warrant is at the discretion of the judge. If a person has a bench warrant issued on them, they need to speak to an attorney for legal advice. A defense attorney may approach the court on their behalf, to arrange an appearance before the judge instead of being taken into custody.

In Alabama, What is Failure to Appear?

Failure to Appear (FTA) refers to a situation where a person misses their court date. In such circumstances, the court may draw up a criminal charge against the person for not showing up. Under Title 45 of the Code of Alabama, the following consequences may arise from failure to appear:

  • A person released on bail who fails to appear before the court as required shall forfeit the bail security pledged for their release.
  • It may also lead to a change in bail conditions.
  • They shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor and be punished under the Alabama Criminal Code or any other applicable law.
  • Such a person shall be arrested and brought before a judicial officer and may face jail time or be made to pay a fine.
  • A person who avoids an FTA warrant may also have their driver’s license suspended. If it is a traffic offense, the court informs the Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS),ho then suspends the license until the original charge is resolved.

How Long Do You Have to Stay in Jail for a Warrant for Missing Court in Alabama?

In Alabama, failure to show up in court is a criminal offense, and the court may issue an arrest warrant against the defaulter. The effect of this warrant is that the police can arrest or jail the person till a judge is available to hear the matter. A person charged with a crime in Alabama and fails to appear for a court date may be charged with the crime of bail jumping in the first or second degree. Under the Code of Alabama, bail jumping is a Class C felony and attracts up to 10 years in prison and a fine that may be up to $15,000.

In the second degree, bail jumping is a Class A misdemeanor, and under the Code of Alabama, it is punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine, up to $6000. However, if the failure to appear was not intentional, the charge will not stick. It is advised that once a person misses a court date, the person should reach out to an attorney for legal advice.

In Alabama, What is Failure to Pay?

In Alabama, the courts may order an offender to pay fines or restitution. And under Rule 26.11 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, the court may order a person’s incarceration for failure to pay their fines. Before passing such an order, the court will hold an Ability to Pay Hearing. If it is clear that the individual could pay but refused to, the court may then grant an incarceration order. The incarceration for nonpayment cannot exceed one day for every $15 of the fine, or one year in total, where the offense is a felony.

What is a No-Knock Warrant in Alabama?

In Alabama, a No-knock Warrant is a type of warrant issued by a judge or magistrate that authorizes law enforcement officers to enter a person’s property without notifying them by knocking or ringing the doorbell. Often, law enforcement will announce their presence before entry, but in order to protect any evidence on the scene, a No-Knock Warrant becomes necessary. It is based on the belief that the suspect may have found a way to destroy evidence by the time law enforcement identifies themselves. However, given its misuse, the Justice in Policing Act 2020 prohibited the issuance of No-Knock warrants at the federal level. The legislation has encouraged states to follow suit.