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Ohio Arrest Records

According to Ohio Rev. Code section 2935.01, An arrest occurs when a law enforcement officer takes a person into custody for an alleged crime. An Ohio arrest record is a public record that includes information about the arrest, such as the name of the person arrested, the date of the arrest, and the charges. These records are generated by the Ohio law enforcement agency that made the arrest and is maintained by Ohio state courts and their equivalents in the counties and municipalities.

While arrests do not necessarily translate into convictions, arrest records are typically included in the arrestee's Ohio criminal records. Arrest records are especially important for employers conducting background checks, as they can provide information about an applicant's criminal history. Hence, per Ohio state statutes, an arrest record may be made available to interested and eligible members of the public upon request.

Ohio Arrest Statistics

According to data collated by the FBI and the Ohio county law enforcement agencies, approximately 210,000 people were arrested in Ohio. This represents a rate of 2,330 arrests per 100,000 residents. Of those arrested, 20,003 were under 18 years old.

The vast majority of those arrested were white, while 4.9% were black and 2.8% were of other races. Hispanic or Latino individuals made up 1.6% of those arrested.

The most common age group for those arrested was 20-24 years old (21.4%), followed by 25-29 years old (17.7%). Those aged 30-34 years old represented 16.1% of arrests, while those aged 35-39 years old made up 13.5%.

The vast majority of those arrested were charged with nonviolent crimes, such as drug offenses (22.8%), traffic offenses (21.3%), and larceny/theft (9.0%). Only 7.7% of arrests were for violent crimes, such as robbery (1.4%), assault (2.4%), or murder and manslaughter (0.4%).

What is Contained in an Arrest Record?

Typically Ohio arrest records feature the following:

  • The name of the person arrested
  • The date of the arrest
  • The location of the arrest
  • A physical description of the arrestee
  • The arresting agency
  • The charges against the arrestee
  • Whether the person was released on bail
  • Any mugshots taken during booking
  • The case number assigned by the court
  • Any conditions of release set by the court.

Are Arrest Records Public in Ohio?

Yes. Per Ohio Rev. Code section 2943.44 an individual's criminal record is not subject to the freedom of information act and does not have to be released to any person unless the information is part of a larger record.

However, Ohio arrest records can be accessed unless it has been expunged. If an individual's case was dismissed and they were found not guilty then an expungement can occur, meaning that their criminal records would no longer exist. If the individual's case did not go to trial and they were found guilty then their records would typically be held for a number of years, after which an expungement may be possible.

Who Can Access Ohio Arrest Records?

There are a few restrictions on who can access Ohio arrest records. In general, these records are open to the public, but there are some exceptions. For example, sealed or expunged records cannot be accessed by the general public. Additionally, juvenile records are typically not available to the public.

The following persons can access Ohio arrest records with minimal restrictions:

  • The subject of the arrest record
  • Law enforcement personnel
  • Attorneys
  • Courts

Other persons and organizations who may access these records include:

  • Child protective services
  • Probation and parole officers
  • Schools and universities
  • Employers conducting background checks.

How Do I Lookup Someone’s Arrest Records in Ohio?

An individual's criminal record is available to the public and there are various ways to access it.

Personal Arrest Record Requests

An individual can request to their local law enforcement agency for a copy of their arrest record and they will receive a response in writing. This is known as personal search and the Ohio Revised Code only requires that the response be provided within 30 days.

Interested members of the public may request their personal Ohio arrest records from the Ohio Highway Patrol. In order to do so, individuals must complete and submit a Record Request Form, which can be obtained from the Highway Patrol's website. The completed form, along with a $25 processing fee, must be submitted to the Ohio Highway Patrol's Records Section. The request should be mailed to:

Highway Patrol
Records Section
P.O. Box 182074
Columbus, OH 43218-2074

Alternatively, the request may be submitted in person at the following address:

Highway Patrol
Records Section
1970 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43223

Requests for arrest records must be made by the individual who is the subject of the record. The Highway Patrol will not release records to third parties without the consent of the individual who is the subject of the record.

It can take up to three weeks for the Highway Patrol to process an arrest record request.

Administrative Searches

Administrative searches occur when somebody uses public records to access an individual's arrest record.

To access an individual's criminal record the requestor will have to file a petition with the court explaining why they want their records and what information they require. They must include their contact details as well as the reason you want the public records and a fee must be paid before your petition can be heard by a judge.

An administrative search is subject to the Freedom of Information Act and an individual can access someone else's arrest records for free. However, if the requestor is granted with the petition then there is a fee structure that determines how much the individual has to pay. The Ohio Revised Code outlines a fee structure:

  • If the name of the arrestee is included in the search results for free, then there is a $5 processing fee.
  • There is also a $2 fee per page if any documents are provided and an additional $1 if it needs to be certified. If someone is requesting more than five pages then there is a $2 additional processing fee
  • If someone is requesting information of an arrest made after 10/27/1997, but before 12/31/2015 the search results are free. However, anyone who wants to access information of an arrest made after 12/31/2015 will have to pay a $2 fee
  • If someone requests information of an arrest made between 1/1/2016, but before 12/31/2017, then there is no cost.
  • However, if they are requesting information about an arrest made after 12/31/2017 then they will have to pay a $2 fee

How to Subpoena Arrest Records in Ohio

Arrest records can be subpoenaed in Ohio for legally justifiable reasons.

The first part of the subpoena will contain the attorney's name, address and phone number, and the second part the requestor's personal information (name, address, date of birth), what the requesting party is looking for (Ohio arrest records including the name of the record holder), and how many pages you need (the amount of documents is automatically calculated).

Summarily, to obtain Ohio arrest records, here is what the subpoena will look like:

  • Attorney's name & address
  • My name, address, and date of birth
  • Name of individual
  • Amount of pages (this is automatically calculated)

The requesting party will need to mail or fax the completed subpoena to the sheriff's office in their county. After the Ohio arrest records are served, it is up to the requestor or their attorney what information should be redacted or removed from the documents before they are filed with the court.

How to Search for an Inmate in the Ohio Prison System

In Ohio, all inmates are assigned an "inmate number" by the correctional institution they are housed in. Inmates with low-level offenses will often not have many restrictions placed on their online activity, or may even be allowed to have their own computer in their cell. In these cases, requestors may be able to find them using the Ohio Inmate Locator system online with just a few personal details about the inmate. However, inmates with higher security clearances may sometimes be excluded from the Ohio Inmate Locator system, and may only be able to make phone calls or write letters home.

The Ohio Inmate Locator system is maintained on the official Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction website. Alternatively, requestors may search for inmates using third-party search services. However, the user may be required to pay a nominal fee to cover the cost of each search.

How Long Do Ohio Arrest Records Stay on File?

Ohio arrest records typically stay on file until they are expunged. Arrestees in Ohio may petition the court after a specific time period (which varies by charge) to have their records expunged. There is no statute of limitations for felony offenses; misdemeanor charges must be expunged within two or five years, depending on the offense. Arrestees may petition to have their records sealed sooner under certain circumstances.

What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and an Arrest Warrant?

Arrest records and arrest warrants are not the same. The following is a basic explanation of what each means:

  • An arrest record is kept on file by law enforcement and it serves as a criminal history. It contains information such as name, date of birth, race, sex, height and weight of the offender.
  • An arrest warrant is an official document issued by a judge or magistrate that authorizes law enforcement to make an arrest. Unlike arrests via warrants, not every arrest made on the basis of an arrest record ends in conviction.
  • Arrest records are available to the public, but information on arrests made on the basis of warrants are not always released. Arrest records are maintained at the local level by law enforcement agencies while warrant information is kept at county courthouses. This means that it can be hard for someone who wants to find out whether a person has an arrest record to gain access to information about arrests made on the basis of warrants. Arrest records and warrant information also vary from state to state.
  • It is possible for an arrest warrant to be issued for someone even if that individual was not arrested or convicted of a crime, such as when that person failed to appear in court.

What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and a Criminal Record?

An arrest record is a public record that contains information about an individual who has been arrested by law enforcement. This record includes the person's name, date of birth, address, and other identifying information. It also includes the offense for which the person was arrested, the date of the arrest, and the arresting agency.

A criminal record is a public record that contains information about an individual who has been convicted of a crime. This record includes the person's name, date of birth, address, and other identifying information. It also includes the offense for which the person was convicted, the date of conviction, and the sentencing information.

The difference between an arrest record and a criminal record is that an arrest record only indicates that an individual has been arrested by law enforcement, while a criminal record indicates that an individual has been convicted of a crime. An arrest record is not proof of guilt, and a criminal record is proof of guilt.

How to Obtain Arrest Records for Free in Ohio?

In Ohio, interested members of the public can obtain free arrest records by contacting the local sheriff's office or police department in the county where the arrest occurred. They can also try visiting the county courthouse and query the court clerk or use the self-help computer systems available.

When requesting arrest records from the local sheriff's office or police department, the requesting party will need to provide some basic information such as the name of the person who was arrested and the date of the arrest. However, requestors may be required to pay a nominal fee to cover the cost of copies if they require it. The records they obtain from these offices will likely only include basic information such as the charges and the date of the arrest.

Alternatively, the requesting party can visit the county courthouse and ask to speak with the clerk of courts. The clerk's office should be able to provide them with copies of any court documents related to an arrest, including the arrest warrant and the indictment. These documents will likely contain more information than what is available through the sheriff's office or police department. However, there may be a fee for obtaining these documents specifically if the research process is extensive or if the requestor requires copies or needs the records mailed to an address.

How to Search for a Ohio Arrest Record Online Using a Third-Party Search Service

Third-party search services are a great way to search for arrest records in Ohio. These services allow requestors to search for records from a variety of sources, including the Ohio Department of Corrections and local county sheriff's offices.

When using a third-party search service, the enquirer will be required to provide some basic information about themselves and the person they are searching for. This information will include the name, date of birth, and Social Security number of the individual being searched for.

The user will also be required to provide a valid credit card or debit card number in order to access the records. Once the payment is processed, they will be able to view the arrest record within a matter of minutes.

What Can I Do if My Arrest Record Has a Mistake?

Record-holders can apply to have mistakes in their Ohio arrest records corrected by submitting a written request to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). The BCI will investigate the inaccuracy and, if they find that it needs to be corrected, will update the record.

In order to petition the BCI to have a record review, the requestor must submit:

  • A notarized BCI Record Review Request Form
  • A certified copy of government-issued photo identification (e.g., driver's license, passport)
  • The $25 review fee
  • Any supporting documentation that may assist in the review of the arrest record, if available (e.g., court documents, police reports)

Requests can be submitted by mail or in-person to:

Attn: Record Review Unit
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation
P.O. Box 14620
Columbus, OH 43214-0620

Record-holders who have questions about the BCI record review process can contact the Record Review Unit by email at:

BCI.RRAU@ohioattorneygeneral.gov, or by phone at (614) 466-2594.

Where the record-holder has experienced adverse implications such as being denied employment because of an inaccurate record, they may wish to also consult with an attorney to discuss whether filing a civil lawsuit would be appropriate.

How to Expunge Arrest Records in Ohio

If someone has been convicted but all charges against them were dismissed, then they may be eligible for an expungement. An expungement clears or deletes an individual's criminal record, or in this case, their arrest records.

To expunge arrest records in Ohio, a petition for expungement is filed with the court and there are a number of conditions that must be met. The Ohio Revised Code outlines some of the provisions:

If they do not meet the criteria for expungement, then they can petition to have their records sealed

The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2953.31 governs expungements in Ohio. Arrestees who choose to petition the court to have their records sealed or expunged must pay the applicable filing fees, which range from $45 to $100. For persons filing against more than one county or city, then state law requires that each municipality be paid $30. Arrestees may charge these fees to a credit card if they so choose, but the total cannot exceed $150, and any amount in excess of that is nonrefundable. Arrestees filing for expungement must petition the court where the arrest occurred.

If the expungement application is approved, the requestor will not necessarily be required to seal or expunge your records immediately. Arrestees who are granted an expungement will be required to wait at least one year before filing another petition for expungement. Arrestees with prior felony convictions may not apply.

Expunged records are removed from the public record, but law enforcement agencies and other criminal justice entities still maintain access.