An Alabama arrest warrant can be defined as an order from the local judiciary that summons all police officers to apprehend an accused and present him/her before the tribunal for being tried in connection to a criminal act. Rule 3 of Alabama Criminal Procedures lays down the laws for the issue of an arrest warrant. Such a directive can only be issued upon the return of an indictment or after the sitting magistrate of a tribunal with criminal jurisdiction has reviewed case facts and established probable cause.
If an indictment is sought from the grand jury by prosecution, this generally means that the investigating officers have enough proof against the suspect for the grand jurors to investigate the matter and deliberate on the evidence brought before them. It is the prosecution's right to seek an indictment. A warrant is generally issued after the indictment hearing where the jurors agree on the culpability of the offender. At this point, the judge orders the clerk of court to release the arrest order.
However, if there is a risk of the accused turning into a fugitive, the prosecution can directly approach the court and seek the detention of this individual through the use of an arrest warrant. The probable cause requirement has to be met before a judicial order for arrest is issued.This is further explained in rule 3.1 (a) which is in essence a restatement of Alabama law on warrants.
The rule makes it explicitly clear that a warrant can only be issued when it reasonably appears through the information offered in the police complaints filed in court or through the testimony of witnesses that an offense has been committed and there is probable cause to hold the person against whom the warrant is being sought culpable for this criminal act.
Probable cause is defined as grounds which would be sufficient for a person of reasonable disposition to conclude that the criminal acts mentioned in the police affidavit was committed by the individual in whose name the warrant is being sought.Alabama Constitution Article 1 & 5 categorically mentions that neither a person nor property can be seized without probable cause. The same rule also holds for the issue of search warrants.
A bench warrant can also be issued to order the arrest of a person in Alabama. However, these legal provisions are generally used by the civil tribunals and they do not have to conform to the probable cause requirement. In other words, bench warrants unlike active warrants can be issued without holding the local sheriff's office responsible for the submission of case facts.
When looking for Alabama arrest warrants, people assume that active orders for detention are somehow different from outstanding warrants. All arrest warrants are deemed active upon issue; however, when they remain un-served, they are called outstanding warrants and sent to the appropriate local and national databases.
Under the provisions of an arrest warrant, the accused can be detained in any part of the state or the country since these orders are aimed at law enforcement agents from all across the nation. Time is also not a factor when it comes to the execution of warrants. In fact, to ensure the quick arrest of the offender, information about people with Al outstanding warrants to their name and those who figure in the state's most wanted list are sent to the FBI.
These directives can be served even years after their issue. Similarly, arrest at night or during the day makes little difference for the officer who is serving this decree; as long as the accused is involved in a legal infraction which brings him before law enforcement and an outstanding warrant is found in his name, he will be arrested.
It is imperative to understand here that information on outstanding warrants from AL may be hard to come by for civilians but law enforcement agents can easily tap into the central, FBI repository and look up information on all warrants issued in the state that are yet to be executed.
Given the gravity of these orders and their clout in judicial cases, information on these directives is maintained by multiple agencies and not just the office of the sheriff. Among these other state departments are the court of the magistrate, the county clerk's department, the Alabama Department of Corrections, State Police and their crime history information wing and the FBI.
Despite the fact that arrest records and information on all warrants, whether they have been executed or are outstanding, is maintained in the court dockets and by several other government agencies, it can be hard to find information on these directives for a civilian applicant. The problem here is that Alabama is a closed records state; this essentially means that while you can ask for a personal background report, you cannot inquire about the criminal background of third parties.
In fact, even if you were to go to the local law enforcement office in search of warrants against your subject, you will simply be told that such a request cannot be granted and that you will have to leave the name and other information pertaining to your subject with the cops and they will handle the matter if a warrant is found against this person.
Personal crime history check:Start by downloading the form at http://www.acjic.alabama.gov/documents/form_criminalrecords.pdf; along with this duly filled document, you will need to furnish a set of fingerprints and a search fee of $25. Mail all of these to P.O. Box 300660, Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0660. You can also submit the request form in person; for this, you will need to take an appointment by calling on 334-517-2400.
Crime history records: At the time of writing this article, only agencies involved in imparting care and treatment to children, disabled individual and senior were allowed to look for third party background information. Once again, for this kind of an inquiry, the applicant will have to mail in a duly filled request form with the $25 fee.
Arrest records: Although it is can be nearly impossible to find data on arrest warrants through the Alabama Justice Information Center that maintains all arrest and warrants related data along with criminal court records, you can look for information on warrants that have already been served through the Department of Correction's inmate search tool.
To use this feature on the agencies website, go to http://doc.state.al.us/InmateSearch.aspx. If you want to look for criminals who have been charged with predatory crimes, try the state's sex offender registry which is available at http://community.dps.state.al.us/. For generic crime related data pertaining to the state of Alabama, visit http://acjic.state.al.us/crime.cfm.
The simplest way to initiate a warrant search in AL is by using the services of a third party information vendor. These online agencies are not slotted in the category of credit reporting agencies hence they are above the law which governs the information offered by such establishments.