Ohio Background Checks and Public Records

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State of Ohio

Ohio, also known as the Buckeye State, is the seventh-most populated state in the United States. Its largest city is Columbus.

Its name was derived from the Iroquois word ohi-yo, meaning “great river.” It’s home to the “One and Only Presidential Museum” and it houses the world’s largest cuckoo clock. The state is also regarded as the Mother of Modern Presidents – as of this writing, seven presidents were born in Ohio.

Ohio has a thriving economy. Its agriculture industry contributes over $93 billion to its annual economy. The state is also considered a great location for business mainly because of its favorable business tax structure. Ohio also plays an important role in manufacturing. These being said, people from different states are drawn to visit or stay in Ohio. So, when conducting background checks or acquiring public records, be sure to check its neighboring states as well.

Counties in Ohio 

CarrollGeaugaLoganPerryVan Wert

Where To Get Public Records In Ohio

Most public records are rarely accessible from a single state agency. Like most states, Ohio, doesn’t have a central repository of its records.

If you need vital records, you have to coordinate with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. They operate a statewide system for the registration of births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and other vital events within the state. Reports may include the full name of the persons involved, date, location, case file number, and license number.

Should you need criminal records, the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services is the right place to go to. Managed by the Bureau of Investigation, this repository contains all records of people’s interactions with any law enforcement agencies within the state. Criminal history reports may include personal information such as name, birth date, and social security number, and details of the offense such as case type, description, and sentence.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections is responsible for inmate records. They maintain an online database, the Offender Search Tool, where you can acquire information on an inmate, including mugshots, facility location, registration number, custody status, and jail transfer information.

For court records, you have to reach out to the Ohio Supreme Court. Records open to the general public include documentation on allegations, affidavits, all proceedings taken under oath, jury records, case files, and court minutes.

Property records in Ohio are also open to the public. However, there’s no statewide database of property tax records, deeds, and land records. You need to visit the county assessor’s office or auditor’s office where the property is situated.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Ohio

Ohio started keeping records in 1789, and the court’s decision to allow access to public records even predates its actual statehood. The major laws governing public records in the state are the Ohio Open Meetings Law and the Ohio Open Records Law

Ohio has been gradually been digitalizing their public records. Hence, you can now find quite a few online. There are still government bodies, however, that require a more formal request. Some agencies allow written requests to be sent via mail or email, and others allow walk-in, in-person, or over-the-phone requests.

While there’s no specific response or processing time mandated, the managing departments are expected to handle requests within a reasonable time. Then, though there’s currently no administrative appeal process in place, should your request be denied, you may file a complaint to the Ohio Court of Claims.

The agency’s labor for collating the records you need is free of charge, but you have to pay for any cost of materials used. As an alternative, you may utilize a third-party people search engine.

Ohio Background Check Reports

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI), a division of the Ohio Attorney General Office, maintains the database used for conducting background checks. 

While most background check reports are requested by employers, several other organizations and individuals also run such checks, including license issuers, property lessors, foster care admin staff, and volunteer works leaders. 

Regardless of the purpose, the laws imposed by the state and the federal bureau must be strictly adhered to. Such laws are the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which is meant to protect employees during the job search and hiring process, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which is intended to eliminate discrimination as it relates to hiring practices. Ohio is one of the few states that doesn’t implement a ban-the-box law, but they have state laws in place, including the Ohio HR-29 and the Ohio Revised Code 2953.33

There are several ways to conduct a background check in Ohio. One method is fingerprint-based which costs from $22 to $24 and requires a fingerprint card from official fingerprinting services and a notification to the subject of the search. Another means is the name-based check which costs $3 and is conducted at the county-level only. There’s also the option for a federal background search which is more thorough and more comprehensive. Then, of course, you may always opt to use a reputable and reliable third-party search engine.

Ohio Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Ohio Background Checks

How do I get a background check in Ohio?

To request a Name or Fingerprint-based Criminal History State Check, you must do so through the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Information Services Division.  

How much is a background check in Ohio?

The costs vary depending on the background check type and if fingerprinting is involved. 

How can I check my criminal record in Ohio?

To request a criminal history records check, contact the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Information Services Division. You could also visit your local Sheriff’s office.