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Ohio Public Records: How to Perform an Ohio Public Records Search

Ohio Public Records: How to Perform an Ohio Public Records Search
November 8, 2022

Ohio Public records are maintained and typically disseminated by multiple agencies and departments in the state. 


So, for any public records request to be successful, it must be directed specifically to the agency's record-holding department.


According to the Ohio Public Records Act, public records are accessible to members of the public on request. 


However, the act does not mandate record custodians to respond to records requests within any specific time. Further, there is no appeal architecture for denied records requests in the state.


That being said, the state of Ohio maintains detailed public records which can be accessed online, by mail, or in person by sending a request to the record custodian. 

Ohio Public Records: Vital Records

Ohio vital records consist of birth, death, marriage, and divorce records. These records are typically accessible by members of the public without any need for the requester to present any formal documentation, per the Ohio Public Records Act. 


However, if a vital records request incidentally includes the divulging of confidential information, the requester must provide proof of relationship to the subject of the record. 

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In some cases, requesters must also present a valid, government-issued ID to the record custodian.


Vital records in Ohio are maintained by the Bureau of Vital Statistics division of the Ohio Department of Health. 

Ohio Public Records Search: Vital Records

Members of the public seeking to obtain birth or death records in Ohio may submit a request in person or via mail to the vital statistics office closest to them. 


Requesters are required to supply the record subject's name as well as their place and date of birth. They must also settle whatever charge applies to obtaining the record.


For marriage records, interested parties must visit the court where the marriage license was issued in person. 


Requests may also be submitted via mail. Mail-in applications must contain the name of the couple and the year the marriage took place. 


The application must then be enclosed in a stamped, self-addressed envelope and sent to the courthouse that licensed the marriage. Note that payment for the service must also be attached to the application.


Divorce records may GG be obtained through a similar procedure. Ohio divorce records are maintained by courts that finalize the divorce. Interested parties may send a written request to the office of the court clerk. 


Some county courts provide online repositories, and interested parties may search for divorce records on them. 

Ohio Public Records: Criminal Records

A person's criminal history is summarized in their criminal record. An alternative name for it is a rap sheet, which is a list of arrests and convictions. These records are kept up to date by local law enforcement agencies.


A person's criminal history contains information on their interactions with the various police departments throughout the state. 


The information comes from several sources and covers arrest histories, convictions, and incarcerations in state-run facilities.

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Ohio Public Records Search: Criminal Records

Criminal records in Ohio are maintained by the Bureau of Crime Identification and Investigation (BCI&I). 


The Bureau offers public access to criminal records through its online database. Interested individuals are to submit a full set of fingerprints to the Bureau. Searches on the platform cost $22.

The  Bureau typically replies to search requests within a single business day.


Alternatively, requesters may make their requests at the office of the sheriff in the county where the subject lives. Upon request, the sheriff will provide third-party criminal records for a small fee. 

Ohio Public Records: Court Records

Per the Ohio Open Records Law, every member of the public may access and obtain court records. 


That being said, some court records may be exempt from public perusal, and requests to access these Ohio public records will be denied. 


Also, confidential parts of public court records may be sealed or redacted. In Ohio, court records for the judicial arm of government are maintained by the Office of the Clerk of Court. 

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Ohio Public Records Search: Court Records

Once a requester has determined the specific court that houses their desired court record, they may proceed to submit a request application to the same court. 


Ohio courts typically offer court records in electronic and print format, so these options are usually available to requesters.


Quite a few courts in Ohio provide online case search tools with which interested individuals can access case history information. 


Requesters may perform name-based searches or more streamlined searches using the target record's case number. 

Ohio Public Records: Inmate Records

Inmate records in Ohio give comprehensive details about offenders, including their status and whereabouts, in any prison or jail within the state. 


The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections is responsible for maintaining these records. The distribution of the records is handled by the same department as well.

Ohio Public Records Search: Inmate Records

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections' online offender database is where anybody looking for information about prisoners housed in state penitentiaries in Ohio can find it. 


On the portal, users have the option of conducting a name-based search or entering the inmate's ID number for a quicker result.

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