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What are Ohio Criminal Records?

Criminal records in Ohio are documents created by law enforcement and government organizations that detail the actions of alleged or convicted criminals. Also known as rap sheets, criminal records cover a wide variety of criminal data such as the details of an arrest, indictment, pending and finalized dispositions, convictions, physical descriptors, and more. These records are taken from organizations at the state level, but also at the county and municipal level.

 

What is Contained in a Criminal Record?

Ohio criminal records typically contain:

  • The full name of the subject and any known aliases
  • Birth date, ethnicity, and details of unique physical descriptors
  • A mugshot and fingerprints
  • All previous and current indictments
  • Arrest records and outstanding warrants
  • Conviction information

What are Arrest Records in Ohio?

Arrest records in Ohio are documents that detail information about arrests and the suspects who were arrested. They cover aspects of the arrest and detainment of a suspect, but typically do not serve as criminal records unless the arrest is followed by a conviction. In Ohio, a person can be arrested once they commit a misdemeanor, though more commonly when they commit a felony. Ohio arrest records typically include:  

  • The personal information of the arrestee: their name, birth date, gender, etc.
  • When and where the arrest took place
  • Identification of the arresting officer
  • The location and address of the detention center, jail, or prison in question
  • The name of the issuer of the arrest warrant

What is an Arrest Warrant in Ohio?

Arrest warrants in Ohio are official documents that are signed and issued by a judge, magistrate, or other court officials. These documents allow law enforcement to apprehend a person named in the warrant. Arrest warrants are usually issued after a request from an agent of law enforcement that has evidence of criminal activity. Arrest warrants also provide authorization for the search and seizure of private property for the purposes of evidence retrieval. Warrants are only valid for a specific person and for specific times.

Ohio arrest warrants typically contain:

  • Details of the alleged criminal offense
  • The full personal information of the suspect
  • The time and place the arrest may take place
  • An expiry date (if applicable)
  • The date on which the warrant was issued/the name of the issuer
  • Any applicable bail/bond conditions

In Ohio, it is possible for the police to arrest a person for committing a crime without a warrant. This is most typical when a crime is committed in the presence of an author.

What are Ohio Crimes?

Ohio Crimes are divided into misdemeanors and felonies, though each of these categories are further divided into multiple classes and categories to reflect the seriousness of the crime. Further designations may occur if the crime is performed in a sexual nature, or if a serious crime is determined to have been premeditated, or performed in an aggravated nature.

The most dangerous city in Ohio is Cleveland, with nearly 6,000 violent crimes reported in the first quarter of 2017. For comparison, Columbus, the state’s capital, has more than double the population of Cleveland, and reported less than 4,500 violent crimes.

The most common crime in Ohio as of 2018 is larceny, though for violent crime, the most common is aggravated assault.

What are Misdemeanors in Ohio?

Ohio misdemeanors are a type of crime that is usually considered minor or hold a maximum incarceration sentence of one-year. More typically, misdemeanors are punished with fines, probation, or other less serious punishments. They are organized into classes in Ohio, which are known as first, second, third and fourth degrees. The fifth and final class is known as minor misdemeanors. First degree misdemeanors are the most serious type of misdemeanor in the state.

  • First degree misdemeanors in Ohio are punishable by up to 180 days in jail, and/or a fine of $1,000. Common first degree misdemeanors include petty theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and carrying a gun without a permit. 
  • Second degree misdemeanors in Ohio are punishable by up to 90 days in jail, and/or a fine of $750. Common second degree misdemeanors are manufacturing or selling drugs or drug paraphernalia, or abuse of a corpse. 
  • Third degree misdemeanors in Ohio are punishable by up to 60 days in jail, and/or a fine of up to $500. Common third degree misdemeanors are prostitution, or negligent assault. 
  • Fourth degree misdemeanors in Ohio are punishable by up to 30 days in jail, and/or a fine of up to $250. Common fourth degree misdemeanors include repeated traffic convictions or criminal trespassing. 
  • Minor misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $150. Typically, there is no jail time for this category. Common minor misdemeanors are disorderly conduct or reckless driving. 

What are Felonies in Ohio?

Ohio felonies are the most serious offense in the state. They are criminal convictions with a minimum jail sentence of more than a year; usually served in either county jail or state prison. Ohio classifies the seriousness of its felonies with five classes. They are first degree - the most serious - second degree, third degree, fourth degree, and fifth degree. There are also felonies that have no category, but are assigned penalties at the time of sentencing should a person face conviction.

  • First degree felonies in Ohio are punishable by a minimum of between 3 and 11 years. They also can carry fines of up to $20,000. Common first degree felonies include murder, kidnapping, and rape. 
  • Second degree felonies in Ohio are punishable by a minimum of between 2 and 8 years. They also carry fines of up to $15,000. Common second degree felonies include criminal gang participation and felonious assault. 
  • Third degree felonies in Ohio are punishable by a minimum of between 9 and 36 months. They also carry fines of up to $10,000. Common third degree felonies include certain drug offenses and fleeing or eluding a law enforcement. 
  • Fourth degree felonies in Ohio are punishable by a minimum of between 6 and 18 months. They also carry fines of up to $5,000. Common fourth degree felonies include grand theft auto or felonious sexual conduct.
  • Fourth degree felonies in Ohio are punishable by a minimum of between 6 and 18 months. They also carry fines of up to $5,000. Common fourth degree felonies include grand theft auto or felonious sexual conduct.
  • Fifth degree felonies in Ohio are punishable by a minimum of between 6 and 12 months. They also carry fines of up to $5,000. Common fifth degree felonies include breaking and entering and receiving stolen property.
  • Fifth degree felonies in Ohio are punishable a punishment determined at the time of sentencing and over the course of a criminal trial. Common fifth degree felonies include aggrivated murder.

Ohio Sex Offender Listings

Ohio sex offender listings are a means to introduce and keep aware the public of registered sex offenders in their area. This registry is accessible to the public, and it is the judge who sentenced the sex offender who determines if their name appears on the sex offender regestry. This applies to both sex crimes, and crimes that the judge deems to have been performed in an overtly sexual nature. The registry features the names, descriptions, locations, and crimes of criminals featured there.

When a registered sex offender moves to a new residence, they must inform their neighbors of their status as a sex offender. While this rule is rarely enforced, it is encouraged as a means of reintegration into society. In Ohio, neighbors who live within 1,200 feet are notified by mail when an offender moves into their neighborhood.

Ohio Megan’s Law

Following the establishment of the federally adopted Megan's Law, the Ohio Megan's Law registry was launched. The registry lists adults and juveniles (convicted in juvenile court and sent to a state-level incarceration facility) as well as of state residents that come to Ohio to reside, visit, or work who have been convicted of sexually related crimes. The passage of Megan's Law provides that information regarding the location, compliance status and conviction history of all sex offenders be made public. Included on the registry are the full names and aliases of the offenders as well as their photographs, details of unique identifiers, home, work and/or school addresses as well as details of their past crimes.

What is a Serious Traffic Violation in Ohio?

In Ohio, serious traffic violations refer to crimes performed while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. These most often refer to OVIs (operation of a vehicle while intoxicated) though can also refer to traffic violations that result in serious bodily injury, damage to property, and death. In addition, traffic violations made with a wilful disregard for public safety are included, as are multiple traffic violations of a lesser nature should enough be committed.

What are Conviction Records?

Ohio conviction records are official documents that indicate the crimes and offenses of a convicted criminal. These include felonies, misdemeanors, and other, lesser crimes. Conviction records also indicate what type of punishment was assigned to the convicted criminal, including how long they served jail time, the fines they paid, and other information relating to their punishment, such as probation and parole details. These convictions are either rendered by a judge, or a jury of peers during a criminal trial.

Typically, these records are considered court records, and can be found in the courthouse where judgement was rendered. They are considered public record, and in most cases are accessible by the public, though exceptions do exist in the form of sealed or expunged records.

What are Jail and Inmate Records?

Ohio jail and inmate records are documented accounts of prisoners who enter the jail or prison system in the state. They hold relevant information about the inmate, such as their name, crime, date of entry, and expected date of release should one exist.

How do I Look Up a Prisoner?

Ohio's Department of Corrections maintains an inmate database that is searchable online. These records include the inmate’s name, incarceration date, expected release date, convicted offense and sometimes photos.

Where to get Parole Information?

Ohio parole records are documents that detail the terms and conditions of an inmate’s parole. Parole is granted to prisoners and inmates who agree to certain conditions before the completion of their sentence. While a prisoner is on supervised parole a parole board will require they pay a monthly supervision fee of $30 at minimum. They may also impose additional conditions if they deem it appropriate as a means to best serve the citizens and society of Ohio.

Parole is essentially the trust of the court that a convicted criminal will behave responsibly and not break any laws while granted their freedom. It is also a chance for the inmate to prove they have been rehabilitated, and are eligible for early release. This is meant to act as an incentive for long-term inmates to act accordingly. Certain crimes make a person ineligible for parole, though typically prisoners are eligible for parole during a life sentence after serving 20, 25 or 30 years of their parole.   

What are Probation Records?

Probation records in the state of Ohio are documents created to detail the conditions and parameters of a person’s probation. This is usually granted in lieu of going to prison. It allows a person to serve their sentences out of custody pertaining they comply with the probation conditions imposed by the judge and the probation length.

Probation length relates to the crime, so the nature of the crime can drastically alter the time a person must remain in probation. There are usually three types of probation: minimal, supervised, and intensive. Intensive is the only one that emphasizes punishment and control of the offender while they are in the community. The other two categories recognize that the offense was incidental or that the criminal is ready to reintegrate with society.

What are Juvenile Criminal Records?

A juvenile criminal record in Ohio is an official criminal record of information regarding criminal activity committed by children or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Juveniles are not considered to be convicted of a crime like an adult but instead are found to be “adjudicated delinquent.” These criminal records are often mistakenly thought to be sealed or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. If a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well. Juvenile records are public unless requested sealed or expunged, which in most cases they are.

Ohio History and Accuracy of Criminal Records

The accuracy of criminal records data depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Accuracy was more commonly affected by the human error in the past, but with the advent of computers, quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially.

Ohio State Archives

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