Background Checks
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State LawsAlabama

Alabama Background Checks

A guide to Alabama background checks

Background checks may be an important screening tool for Alabama employers, but fair and comprehensive pre-employment background checks must comply with federal, state, and local laws. This guide explains what goes into an Alabama background check, how to conduct one, and how laws may impact your screenings.

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What Is An Alabama Background Check?

An Alabama background check searches public and private sources to collect information about a candidate’s history and qualifications to help employers make informed hiring decisions. A background check may look into criminal history, driving records, work experience, and more to determine a candidate’s suitability for a job or volunteer position. Pre-employment checks are often considered due diligence to help gain a fuller picture of a candidate’s background and qualifications before hiring them.

Why Do Employers In Alabama Conduct Background Checks?

An Alabama background check for employment may help employers verify a candidate’s qualifications or gain insights into their eligibility for a role. In some cases, pre-employment background checks are also required by law. For example, Alabama law requires licensees and employees at childcare and adult care facilities, foster care and adoptive parents, and agents at child placement agencies to submit to fingerprint-based criminal history checks and fully disclose all past convictions. Positions in law enforcement or healthcare may also require background checks.

Beyond criminal history, pre-employment background checks may help employers better understand a candidate’s skills, knowledge, and experience by verifying a candidate’s education or employment history or contacting professional references to get an additional perspective. Depending on the position, employers may also want to learn more about a candidate’s driving record, credit history, or more.

What Does A Background Check Show In Alabama?

An Alabama background check for employment may show a candidate’s past criminal convictions, education and employment history, driving records, and more, depending on the types of background screening an employer chooses to conduct, the scope of each search, and the industry or role. 

Here is what common background checks show in Alabama: 

  • Criminal history search: An Alabama criminal background check may search national, federal, state, or county records and show felony or misdemeanor criminal convictions and pending criminal cases. 
  • Civil records search: A search of civil court records may show past judgments and liens, bankruptcies, and restraining orders. 
  • Driving history: Motor vehicle records may show a candidate’s license type and status, history of moving violations, or convictions such as DUIs, which may be important information for positions that require driving on the job.
  • Employment credit check: Positions that involve finances or handling money may require a credit check which shows a candidate’s credit and payment history, accounts in collections, and bankruptcies.
  • Education verification: Verifying a candidate’s education can help ensure they’re qualified for a position by confirming schools attended, dates of attendance, and degrees or certifications earned.
  • Employment verification: Verifying a candidate’s past employers, dates of employment, and job titles can help determine whether the work experience shown on a candidate’s resume is accurate.
  • Professional reference checks: Getting additional perspective on a candidate’s work experience from professional references can provide a more holistic picture of their accomplishments, work style, and character.

How Long Does A Background Check Take In Alabama?

Turnaround times for a state of Alabama background check can vary depending on the scope of search and who is conducting it. Employers who choose to directly search Alabama department and government databases for a candidate’s criminal history or driving records is a manual process that takes time. Additionally, some county criminal records are not digitized and require dispatching a staff member to the county courthouse to search for records in person. Connecting with contacts to verify a candidate’s education or schedule a reference interview, for example, may also be a time-consuming task. 

Qualified consumer reporting agencies (CRA), like GoodHire, often use automation and advanced technology to shorten turnaround times and help create efficient workflows. GoodHire has access to thousands of databases and relationships with court runners nationwide to provide fast, accurate background check results.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go In Alabama?

The lookback period for Alabama background checks can vary depending on the type of background check and whether you work with a CRA or conduct your own background screenings.

Some states limit how far back employers may search a candidate’s criminal history, often restricting searches to no more than seven years. However, state law does not limit a criminal background check to seven years in Alabama. An Alabama criminal records check can go back indefinitely, although employers that partner with a CRA must comply with the lookback restrictions of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Civil suits, civil judgments, paid tax liens, collection accounts, and arrest records that did not result in a conviction are limited to seven years. The lookback period for bankruptcies is limited to ten years. The reporting period for credit checks is limited to seven years for positions with an annual salary of $75,000 or less and ten years for positions with a salary over $75,000. 

Some types of screenings are generally not subject to time restrictions. For example, employment and education verification may go back as far as necessary to confirm the information. 

How To Get A Background Check In Alabama

Employers can choose to search records directly or work with a CRA to conduct pre-employment background checks. Employers that want to conduct their own Alabama background checks online can sign up for a subscription on for $95. This annual subscription allows employers to search the Alabama Background Check database for criminal records and the Alabama Motor Vehicle Driver License Abstract database for motor vehicle records (MVRs). Employers pay a per-record fee for each record returned.  

However, running an Alabama criminal history search online may not provide comprehensive results. A criminal background check from GoodHire, for example, may include national, federal, state, and county searches that show out-of-state records or records of federal crimes. Additional screenings, including drug testing, reference checks, license verifications, or employment credit checks, must be conducted separately when you’re conducting your own background checks. 

Partnering with a qualified CRA, like GoodHire, can streamline the process and give you access to a wide range of screening choices. GoodHire also supports compliance by offering automated workflows that make it easier to obtain consent, keep candidates informed, and handle adverse action, if needed.

How Much Does An Alabama Background Check Cost?

Costs for conducting your own Alabama background check depend on the number and types of screening you choose. A subscription with, which is required to search online databases as an employer, costs $95 per year, plus $15 per criminal history record and $10 per MVR. Additional costs may add up for online searches, credit reports, drug tests, and the staff time required to complete background reports.

Working with a CRA can consolidate your costs and provide efficiencies. GoodHire offers a customizable range of background check packages starting at $29.99, depending on the scope and number of checks you choose. 

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Alabama Background Check Laws

Alabama employers must comply with federal, state, and local hiring laws when conducting pre-employment background checks. Alabama does not currently have a statewide ban-the-box law that impacts employers’ ability to ask about or investigate a candidate’s criminal history during the hiring process, but the following state law may have implications for employers conducting background checks. 


The Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment and Eliminate Recidivism Act (REDEEMER Act) enables individuals with certain misdemeanor or felony convictions to petition the court for expungement. Additionally, those with expunged records do not have to disclose expunged convictions to prospective employers. Anyone who discloses an expunged conviction without a court order may be guilty of a misdemeanor. 

Alabama employers must comply with local fair hiring laws, including a ban-the-box law in the city of Birmingham. Employers that work with a CRA must also follow the requirements of the federal FCRA, which include providing the candidate with written disclosure of your intent to conduct a pre-employment background check and obtaining written consent before proceeding. If the information contained in a background report results in consideration against hiring the candidate, you must also follow the adverse action process.

County Resources

Baldwin County

Baldwin county is home to 231,767 residents, most of whom reside in rural, unincorporated areas. Located in southwestern Alabama on the Gulf of Mexico, Baldwin County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. Its county seat is Bay Minette.

Public Information & Records: 

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Jefferson County

The most populous county in the state, Jefferson County has 674,721 residents. Its largest city is Birmingham. In addition to growing healthcare and finance industries, Birmingham is home to a thriving music and arts scene. In 1963, racial discrimination and protests in Birmingham were pivotal to the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Public Information & Records: 

A local ban-the-box law applies to positions within the city government in Birmingham.

Madison County

The third most populous county in the state is home to fast-growing Huntsville, which some predict may outgrow Birmingham as Alabama’s most populous city. With 215,006 residents (388,153 live county-wide), Huntsville was the first capital of the state and is now a center for the aerospace and defense industries.

Public Information & Records: 

Mobile County

Mobile County has the second largest population in the state with 414,809 residents. The county’s biggest city, Mobile, is home to the state’s only deepwater port on the Gulf Coast and is the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the US. Mobile’s industry clusters include aerospace, healthcare, and logistics.

Public Information & Records: 

Shelby County

Shelby County and its 223,024 residents are part of the greater Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Shelby County is a convenient locale for people who work in Birmingham but want to enjoy the great schools and open spaces of smaller cities like Alabaster and Columbiana.

Public Information & Records: 

A local ban-the-box law applies to positions within the city government in Birmingham located in nearby Jefferson County.

Tuscaloosa County

Nearly 39,000 of Tuscaloosa County’s 227,036 residents attend the University of Alabama, home to Crimson Tide football. Tuscaloosa is also home to the first Mercedes-Benz assembly plant to be located in North America, opened in 1995. 

Public Information & Records:

Get An Alabama Background Check Today

Pre-employment background checks can help employers make more informed evaluations of candidates and prospective volunteers. Working with a qualified screening partner that specializes in background checks, like GoodHire, can save employers time and simplify compliance. GoodHire offers multiple screening options with packages to fit every employer and position. Get started with an Alabama background check today.

Get An Alabama Background Check Today

Get Started
GoodHire's background check platform makes it easy to order reports and review results.

The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.