What are Ohio Public Traffic Records?
Ohio public traffic records are official documents that contain an individual's driving history. These records feature information regarding the subject's traffic violations, convictions, traffic accidents, and suspensions. They are generated and maintained by several government agencies in Ohio and are typically combined to form public traffic records. In Ohio, public traffic records are held by the Bureau of Motor Vehicle database and relevant courthouses.
Are Traffic Records Public in Ohio?
Yes, Ohio traffic records are open to the public. According to Ohio public record act, also known as the sunshine law, all public records kept and maintained by any public office are available to the general public for inspection and copying. However, under the Ohio driver privacy protection act, certain personal information cannot be disclosed to the public unless certain conditions are met.
Restricted information, in this case, includes the driver's photograph, social security number, and license number. Although traffic records may contain sensitive information, these records are considered public records, and upon request, the BMV can provide redacted copies of such records to the public. On these redacted records, any sensitive information is usually omitted.
What do Ohio Traffic Records Contain?
Ohio traffic records contain the following:
- All moving violations conviction
- Accident involvements reports
- All offenses resulting in license suspension and revocation
- License issuance date
- Citations and fines
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in Ohio?
Selected citations can be included in a motorist's official driving record in Ohio. Civil offenses such as an infraction are considered minor traffic offenses and will not go on the offender's driving record. However, citations issued for criminal offenses are usually featured on the driver's record.
Types of Traffic Citations in Ohio
There are primarily three types of traffic citation tickets that can be issued in Ohio.
- Parking tickets: these types of citations are issued due to parking violations. Parking tickets fall under the jurisdiction of a county or city parking agency, and payments are addressed to and managed by these agencies. In some cities and counties, including Columbus, offenders are given ten(10) days to pay or contest the parking tickets. Additional penalties are added to parking tickets that remain unpaid for 40 days after the ticket is issued.
- Infraction tickets: these types of tickets are issued to offenders who commit minor traffic offenses, including speeding and driving without a seat belt. Infraction tickets fall under municipal or county court jurisdiction in the county or city where the citation was issued. However, not all infraction tickets may require an offender to pay a fine. Some tickets may require an offender to fix or replace vehicle equipment; these are known as fix-it tickets.
- Misdemeanor tickets: similar to infraction tickets, these tickets are under the jurisdiction of municipal or county courts. These tickets are issued for severe offenses (criminal offenses). Examples of these criminal offenses include operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI).
Ohio Traffic Citation Lookup
Interested persons can use several methods to look up traffic citations in Ohio. An inquirer may visit the official website of the appropriate municipal or county court and use its traffic citation search portal to look up a citation. These portals are usually located within the online payment systems utilized by most of these sites for paying traffic citations i.e. for Chardon municipal court this would be the site e-payment page. The Ohio judiciary comprehensive list of courts in the state can be used in locating court websites and contact information. Alternatively, an inquirer may visit the court's physical location in the county where the citation was issued to make inquiries about traffic citations.
How to Lookup my Ohio Traffic Records
To look up an Ohio traffic record, interested individuals can request a personal driving record from the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Requestors may obtain an unofficial copy of the requester's driving record, an abstract driving record, a driving history record, or CDL holder driver records.
These records also cover different lengths of time; for instance, an abstract driving record is a three-year record, an unofficial driving record is a two-year record, and a driving history record contains the subject's complete offenses listing. Depending on the type, these records may be viewed online, in person at a deputy registrar license agency, or be requested by mail. Only an abstract driving record can be requested at a deputy registrar license agency, while a certified 3-year driving record and an unofficial 2-year record can be viewed online.
The requester will need to log in to the BMV online services portal to view driving records online. The requesting party will be required to provide their driver's license or personal information, including the last 4 digits of their security number (SSN) and date of birth. The required driver's license information includes the requester's license/state ID number and the first letter of the requester's last name. Personal information includes the requester's last name, first name, middle name or initial, and suffix.
Mail requests can be made by completing record request form (form BMV 1173) and mailing it along with a $5 check or money order payable Ohio Treasurer of State to the BMV address on the form. Depending on the types of records selected on the form, requesters may have to pay more than $5 (see section 3 on BMV 1173 form).
Ohio Traffic Violations
An Ohio traffic violation is defined as any illegal act committed while operating a vehicle on a public roadway. This can include anything from speeding and running red lights to parking in an unauthorized area or failing to yield to pedestrians.
Some of the most common traffic violations in Ohio include:
- Running red lights
- Reckless driving
- Drunk driving
- Driving without a license
- Driving with a Suspended or revoked license
- Failing to yield
- Illegal turns
- Parking violations
- Failure to stop at a stop sign
- Failure to signal
Ohio License Plate Lookup
An Ohio license plate lookup can be performed by anyone accessing the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) website. This website allows users to search for license plate numbers by vehicle make, model, and year. The BMV website also includes a section for law enforcement agencies that will enable officers to search for license plate numbers by name and date of birth.
To perform a license plate lookup in Ohio, visit the BMV website. In the top left corner of the website, click on the "License Plate Lookup" link. This will open to the license plate lookup page. There are several search options for finding a license plate number on this page. The most popular option is to search by vehicle make, model, and year.
How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in Ohio
Records of traffic cases are maintained and managed by courts in Ohio. According to Ohio Rev. Code Section 149.43, interested persons may inspect or copy these records. The requesting party may contact the appropriate court where the traffic case was heard to view traffic case records. These courts may be municipal, traffic, or county courts in the city or county where the traffic violation occurred. The Ohio judiciary provides a comprehensive list of all courts in the state and their contact information and websites that requesters can use.
Requests for traffic case records can be made online on the court's website or in-person at the courthouse's physical location. Both paper and electronic records are available at courthouses. The requester would need to visit the appropriate courthouse and request the desired record in writing from the court clerk for in-person requests. The clerk may provide a form for the requester to fill out to retrieve information related to the case. This would help ease the search for the case record. In cases where the information provided by the requester is not explicit enough, the court would contact the requester. This would make the process unnecessarily longer; hence, the request should be as detailed as possible.
Online requests are made on the relevant court websites through the case search portal provided on the site. Requesters can search for their desired cases by name or case number using the court website. To search by name, the requester must provide the names of parties involved in the case - i.e. any of the parties' first or last names. For searches by case number, the requester will require the case type, ticket number, case year, and case status.
How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in Ohio
The duration for which traffic offenses can remain on a public record in Ohio depends on the type of traffic offenses committed and the severity of the offense. The record retention period followed by the BMV for driving histories is three years for most violations. However, serious violations are retained for ten years on offenders driving histories.
On the other hand, rule 26.05 of the Rules of Superintendence for Ohio Courts details the retention schedule for case files, followed by municipal and county courts. DUI case files are retained for fifty years after the final order of the presiding court. The first to fourth-degree misdemeanor traffic case files are retained for 25 years, while criminal case files are retained for 50 years after the court final order. The retention duration of these types of traffic misdemeanors and criminal records may become void if the state auditors request an audit report.
Minor misdemeanor traffic case files are retained five years after issuing the final court order or one year after the state-issued audit report, whichever comes first. Parking ticket records are retained until the ticket has been paid.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in Ohio
Under the Ohio public record act, records generated and maintained by public offices and government agencies are public. This act also extends to traffic records. As a result, these records can not only be accessible by government agencies but are openly available to the general public and can also be included in some data brokerages firm's website databases. Interested persons may opt to remove their public records from these websites to protect their information.
Sealing traffic records under Ohio Revised Code 2953 is one of the most efficient ways of ensuring these records are not made available on public websites. When a record is sealed, the electronic and paper records of the sealed record would is filed in a secure location. Unlike expunged records, sealed records still exist. However, sealed records cannot be accessed by most people. Record sealing is not available to every offender; to qualify, an offender must not have been convicted of more than five (5) felony charges in Ohio or other states. An offender is also not eligible if any of their five (5) previous convictions were violent or sexually-based offenses.
Depending on the type of offense, waiting periods are applicable before the record can be sealed. For misdemeanor offenses, one (1) year after completing the sentence. For felony offenses, three (3) years after completing the sentence. For dismissed or acquitted offenses, no waiting period is applicable.
Requestors may also obtain a new P.O. Box address and dedicated phone number and update the information maintained by government agencies with the new information.
Alternatively, the requestor may opt to remove traffic records from public websites. This service is usually provided by most websites and helps to remove traffic records or personal information from a public website.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in Ohio?
Depending on the type of motoring offense, a motoring offense can reflect on an offender's criminal record in Ohio. A motoring offense can either be a criminal or civil offense. Civil offenses are also known as infractions. Civil offenses are considered to be minor offenses and are treated as such. Although civil offenses can appear on an offender's driving record, these types of offenses do not appear on the offender's criminal records.
On the other hand, a criminal motoring offense is a serious offense; they include misdemeanor and felony offenses. These offenses are usually included in the offender's criminal and driving records. Unless the offender's records have been sealed, the general public can freely access these records, opening the offenders to scrutiny.