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Legal Information: Alabama

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
June 12, 2018

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to Alabama, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC. If not, your order may be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in Alabama.

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted and secure so outsiders cannot access it.

How do I register my protection order in Alabama?

To register your protection order in Alabama, you must present a certified copy of your order to the clerk of the circuit or district court.1 You will likely be asked to sign an affidavit (a sworn statement) saying that, to the best of your knowledge, your order is still in effect.2 The clerk will file your order and will give you a stamped copy of the registered order.3 You can find contact information for courthouses in Alabama on our AL Courthouse Locations page.

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Alabama for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our AL Advocates and Shelters page.

1 Alabama Code § 30-5B-5(a)
2 Alabama Code § 30-5B-5(d)
3 Alabama Code § 30-5B-5(b)

Do I have to register my protection order in AL in order to get it enforced?

No. Alabama state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long the protection order has the names of the people protected by the order and the name of the abuser, and you can show the officer a valid (real) copy of your order or the officer otherwise believes that a valid order exists.1

It is helpful if the order clearly says the expiration date of the order. The order does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by an Alabama police officer.2

1 Alabama Code § 30-5B-4(a)
2 Alabama Code § 30-5B-4(d)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our AL Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

What if I don't register my protection order?  Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Maybe. While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for an Alabama law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real.  In other words, it could take longer to get your order enforced.

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Alabama. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in Alabama, go to our AL Advocates and Shelters page.

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

No. There is no fee for registering your protection order in Alabama.1

1 Alabama Code § 30-5B-5(f)