How to Research Alaska Statutes and Laws Online
Use Online Alaska Statutes to Search for Laws
Like all states, Alaska passes its own state laws. It also publishes an infobase of all Alaska state statutes. Those who would like to research laws online can use the infobase and its search features to find Alaska law. Searching directly in a database of statutes is not as efficient as using Westlaw or some other service that professional lawyers use for legal research. However, those who are just curious or just want to do some preliminary research without paying a lawyer can use it to find Alaska laws. They just need to find the laws and use some search tips to do their own legal research on Alaska law. As always, consult an Alaska lawyer for specific advice on legal problems or concerns.
Visit the Alaska website that has the infobase of Alaska statutes. There is a set of statutes going back to 1993 at the time of this writing. Of course, the Alaska legislature repeals some laws and passes new Alaska laws on a regular basis. However, the older statute codes may be relevant to certain civil and criminal cases because the law in effect at the time of an action or beginning of a case is often (but not always) the controlling law.
Click on the desired year to find the Alaska Titles. The Titles cover broad areas of law. Click on a Title to see the Chapters and Sections. Try to categorize whatever legal problem you are researching. For example, you can find out about crimes and criminal cases in Titles 11 and 12 (Criminal Law and the Code of Criminal Procedure). It can be very time consuming looking up statutes in this way. Again, though, it is free and will allow you to do some preliminary fact checking.
Use the "Query" link to run a search. Let's say you are looking to run for office and want to find out about the law of political action committees. Enter that phrase and see how many times it shows up in the statutes. Click on the number to see the text. Look for the red arrows to see where the phrase "political action committees" shows up. You can also see the Chapters and Sections at the bottom. Now, go back and to that main chapter and do more research within those sections. Use the Query feature as a time saver, but read through the whole Chapter and Sections related to the subject in question to do more detailed research.
You may also need to search the Alaska Administrative Code. Administrative rules and regulations are the laws created by administrative agencies. The legislature gives the agency the power to pass rules. These rules carry the full weight of the law as long as they are legally adopted by the agency. Of course, there are other kinds of law you may need to research. These include but are not limited to the Alaska Constitution and Alaska case law.
Case law is particularly important because it interprets and clarifies laws passed by the legislature or administrative agencies. You almost certainly need a lawyer with substantial legal resources to research Alaska case law. Always consult a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.
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