What is a background check?
A background check is an investigation into an individual’s criminal record, employment history, driving record, education, finances, or other aspects of their personal history.
Background checks are often performed by an organization or company in order to screen a subject before a significant financial or legal agreement. However, individuals regularly perform background checks on themselves to make sure that the public information on them matches their personal records.
For more general information on background checks, consult our Background Checks FAQS page.
How do I run a criminal background check in Alabama?
Want to find out if there is a record of you being arrested in the state of Alabama? One way to do it is to submit an Application to Review Alabama Criminal History Record Information to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, an Alabama state agency that is part of the Executive Branch of the State Government and tasked with overseeing public safety in the state.
Note that the ALEA application only allows you to view your own arrest records, and not the records of others. To view arrest records of others, you should use an online background check service, or make an in-person request at a government office or law enforcement agency.
The process of filling out and mailing the application is complicated, and requires additional documents and a form of payment, so follow these steps to make sure that the process is done correctly:
- Fill out the PERSONAL INFORMATION section.
- Fill out the WORK INFORMATION section with information about your employer. If you are self-employed, fill in your own name and address and write the name of your business or profession.
- If you intend to challenge or correct information on your arrest record, follow the additional steps in the section below.
- Sign and date the application.
- Have the application notarized by a licensed notary public OR have it signed by two witnesses.
- Make a copy of your unexpired driver’s license, passport, certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship, or state ID and place it in the envelope that you are mailing the application in.
- Obtain a classifiable copy of your fingerprints from the local police department and place it in the application envelope.
- Obtain a money order or cashier’s check made out to ALEA for $25 and place it in the application envelope.
- Once you have the completed application, copy of identification, copy of your fingerprints, and money order/cashier’s check in the envelope mail it to the following address:
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
Criminal Records and Identification Unit
ATTN: Record Challenge
P.O. Box 1511
Montgomery, Alabama 36102-1511
After your application is mailed and received, ALEA recommends that you allow a minimum of 4-5 weeks for the application to be processed. If you have any issues with the procedure, or the organization has not responded within the recommended time frame, you may reach ALEA at 334-353-4340 or 1-866-740-4762
What can I do if my Alabama criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?
In addition to allowing people to request access to their arrest records, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency application gives individuals the opportunity to dispute or correct inaccurate information on an arrest record.
The APPLICATION TO CHALLENGE section is the 2nd page of the ALEA application. Individuals are given the opportunity to dispute up to six separate incidents on their arrest record.
If you wish to have information on your arrest record corrected or removed, follow the steps below in addition to completing the earlier steps outlined in the above section.
- Print your name in the space at the top of the page.
- Fill in the date in the appropriate space below your printed name.
- List the details of the incident(s) that you want to challenge, including the date of the arrest, the agency responsible, and the charge or disposition challenged.
- Fill in the three boxes near the bottom of the page, providing reasons why the information is inaccurate, writing out the actual sequence of events, and listing the court/or agency that you received supporting evidence from that backs your version of events (if applicable).
- Sign and date the APPLICATION TO CHALLENGE at the bottom of the page.
How do I search Alabama court records?
The Alabama Judicial System recommends that individuals use Alacourt.com to search and view Alabama trial court records.
Alacourt.com is a subscription service that offers two subscription choices depending on the volume of court records that you wish to access:
- Monthly subscription – The cost ranges from $84 to $134 a month and all plans offer unlimited case details. Visit this page or call 1-877-799-9898 to set up a monthly subscription.
- Case-by-case basis – This option allows you to pay per search or court record. The cost is $9.99 per case detail, which can be searched using a name search or case number search. Visit AlacourtAccess.com to use the service in this fashion.
Where can I find Alabama driving records online?
Unlike in many other states, Alabama does not allow you to request a copy of your driving record online, which the state calls a “Driver Record”. Requests must be made in-person or through the mail. Individuals may request a 3-year Driver Record or a Driver Abstract which includes a full driving history.
How to request an Alabama 3-Year Driver Record:
- Fill out and sign the appropriate form: 3-year Driver Record Request
- Prepare a cashier’s check, money order, or certified check for $5.75 payable to “Alabama Law Enforcement Agency”.
- Prepare a self-addressed, stamped return envelope.
- Mail the form, payment, and return envelope to:
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
Driver License Division
P.O. Box 1471
Montgomery, AL 36102-1472
Expect to wait a week to 10 days for ALEA to process and respond to the request.
How to request a Full History Driver Abstract:
- Fill out and sign the request form.
- Bring the form and a government-issued photo ID to one of the offices listed at the bottom of the request form. Be prepared to pay the $15 fee using cash, card, or money order.
How do I look up Alabama vital records such as birth certificates and marriage licenses?
Vital records are records of important life events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that are kept by government agencies and accessible upon request.
Vital records are not public records that can be viewed by anyone, but the subject(s) of the record and authorized family members can view them in-person or order copies through a number of means. Additionally, one or more vital records may be required to complete a background check.
The Alabama Department of Public Health enlists the services of the third-party vendor Vital Chek to enable individuals to order copies of vital records online. The government-endorsed service offers vital records from 50 U.S. states and territories.
Available vital records include:
- birth certificates
- death certificates
- marriage records
- divorce records
Click here to place an order with Vital Chek.
If you have questions about Alabama vital records, email the Alabama Department of Public Health.
How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in Alabama?
Individuals found guilty of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against children in Alabama are required to register in the Alabama Sex Offender Registry. The registry includes over 16,000 offenders.
Click here to search the Alabama Sex Offender Registry.
Users can perform the following searches:
- By area
- By city
- By name
- Non-compliant offenders
- Internet names/E-mail
How do I perform a credit history background check in Alabama?
Performing a credit check in Alabama follows the same process as in other states. A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) grants every American one free annual credit report each from the three main U.S. credit bureaus:
In order to obtain your free credit report from one of these three bureaus, you must provide the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social security number