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Ohio Court Records

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Ohio Arrest Records

In Ohio, an arrest is the temporary detention of an individual on suspicion of criminal involvement. According to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2935, an arrest may be made with or without a warrant if there is a reasonable suspicion that an individual committed an offense. 

Following an arrest in Ohio, the suspect is brought to a local police station or jail and booked pending their bond hearing or bail. During the booking process, the arresting agency generates arrest records containing detailed information about the arrest. These details include the arrestee's personal information and arrest details, including the alleged offense, the arrest location, the date, and the arresting officer (or agency). 

Ohio arrest records do not prove the subject is guilty of the alleged crime. Nonetheless, a prosecutor can use an arrest record to initiate criminal charges against an individual. In a bond hearing, courts may also consider the specifics of an arrest and details in the arrest record when determining whether to grant bail to a defendant pending trial. Besides juridical uses, arrest records are an excellent source of information when seeking to learn more about an arrest, such as the reason for the arrest.  

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's 2019 Uniform Crime Reporting arrest data, 226,136 arrests were reported in Ohio in 2019 from an estimated population of 9,198,221 persons. Of this number, 205,987 were adult arrests and 20,149 were juvenile arrest. In 2019, offenses such as larceny-theft (27,691 arrests), drug abuse violations (34,797 arrests), and other assaults (39,179 arrests) had the highest number of arrests in Ohio. 

Are Arrest Records Public in Ohio?

Yes. Ohio Sunshine laws define "public records" as records maintained by public offices in Ohio. Since law enforcement agencies in Ohio generate and maintain arrest records and are regarded as public agencies, all records they produce, including arrest records, are usually accessible to the public. Hence, anyone can query a local or state law enforcement agency in Ohio to access relevant arrest records. 

Notwithstanding, Ohio Sunshine laws also provide several exemptions that may restrict public access to certain arrest records or information in Ohio. Such records are considered confidential and are only released to eligible persons or entities bearing a subpoena (court order). Some examples of these records include:

  • Law enforcement investigatory records pertaining to criminal, quasi-criminal, civil, or administrative cases, as defined by ORC § 149.43(2), and whose disclosure may:  
    • Identify a suspect not charged with the offense specified on the record. 
    • Reveal the identity of a confidential witness or source.
    • Reveal confidential investigatory techniques or procedures 
    • Endanger the safety or life of law enforcement personnel.
  • Juvenile information.
  • Information whose release may jeopardize law enforcement proceedings or investigation. 

What is Included in Ohio Arrest Records?

Ohio arrest records usually contain the following information:

  • The arrestee's personal information and description, such as their;
    • Full name
    • Race
    • Gender
    • Date of birth or age
    • Mugshot 
    • Address
  • Arrest information;
    • Date
    • Time 
    • Location
    • Arresting agency and officer's information
  • Charge details;
    • Description 
    • Type 
    • Level
  • Warrant information (if any)

Find Public Arrest Records in Ohio

In Ohio, public arrest records can be found by querying local law enforcement agencies such as county sheriff's offices and municipal police departments. While the processes may be unique to each agency, the following steps typically apply:

Ascertain the record's custodian

Ohio law enforcement agencies exclusively maintain arrest records for the jurisdictions under their control, specifically for arrests they made. Hence, record seekers must direct their arrest records inquiries to the law enforcement agency that made the arrest.

Find out the custodian's process (including fees) for requesting records

Most law enforcement agencies in Ohio provide information on how interested persons can request public records (including arrest records) they maintain and their associated fees on their website. These details are usually published in the public record section of the agency's website. Some examples include the Franklin Sheriff's Office public record page and the Columbus Division of Police public records page. The process typically involves providing information about the sought-after record on a request form (usually provided on the agency's website). This information would assist the custodian in identifying the desired record. Although record seekers must provide their contact information, under ORC 149.43 (B)(5), providing personal information such as one's name is optional.

Meanwhile, Ohio law enforcement agencies typically only charge record seekers the cost of making copies of a requested public record which usually amounts to $0.05. Certain agencies might charge more for arrest records. For instance, the Canton Police Department charges $1 for each copy of an arrest, case, and point. Some agencies like the Clermont County Sheriff's Office, also host a directory containing arrests of the recent arrests they made. 

Request the desired record

This involves submitting a request and paying associated for the desired arrest record to the appropriate custodian. Depending on what the custodian allows, record seekers may be able to submit a request by mail, phone, email, online, or during a visit to the office. Where in-person requests are allowed, requests are best made during office hours at the agency's address. Where other means are permitted, the record seeker can submit their request and pay the necessary fees through a specified phone number, email address, and online portals by the custodian. For instance, the Montogomery County Sheriff's Office provides an online public records request portal individuals can use to request public arrest requests for records the agency maintains. Meanwhile, other law enforcement agencies like the Franklin County Sheriff's Office use a dedicated email address (fcsopublicrecords@Franklincountyohio.gov) as their primary means of receiving public records required for records they maintain. 

Requesters are advised to allow the record custodian to process their request a few days after submitting it. Upon approval, the requested record will be sent to the requester. If an agency opts to deny or redact portions of a requested record, it must explain the denial or redaction to the requester. 

If the records are restricted for confidentiality reasons, the inquirer may be able to access the record by subpoenaing the record. A subpoena is a court order that authorizes the person to whom it is directed to perform a specific task, such as producing records, attending a court hearing, or providing testimony. It is usually issued in a court case where confidential records or testimony are needed to resolve the case. An eligible individual or entity may file a subpoena request form and pay other required fees with a court with appropriate jurisdiction to obtain a subpoena. 

The subpoena may be served by an attorney, a law enforcement official (such as a sheriff, constable, marshal, municipal or township police officer), or any other person the order designates once it has been reviewed, approved, and issued.  

How to Lookup Arrest Records Online in Ohio

Interested persons may lookup arrest records online in Ohio through Internet resources provided by law enforcement agencies and third-party websites. Some law enforcement agencies in Ohio host directories on their official websites or a dedicated web page that inquirers can use to access information about recent arrests the agency made. E.g., the Weekly Offense and Arrest Report directory provided by the Clermont County Sheriff's Office. In some cases, law enforcement agencies offer online tools that inquirers can use to search for information about individuals the agency has recently arrested and detained. Some examples include The Franklin County Sheriff's Office Inmate information tool and the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office inmate search tool. These tools are usually searchable using a subject's full name.

Third-party websites also provide online tools for inquirers to search for public arrest records in Ohio. These tools are typically searchable using a subject full name and applicable US state. Users are usually charged a one-time fee or a recurring subscription to access search results on most third-party websites. Furthermore, since the accuracy and completeness of records obtained through third-party websites are typically not guaranteed, users are advised to compare findings obtained from a third-party site with those obtained through government channels to confirm their accuracy. 

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record in Ohio?

Ohio state statutes do not specify a general timeframe for the retention of arrest records by respective custodians in the state. However, Ohioan government entities establish their own record retention schedules that specify the time that records under their custody are retained. For instance, according to the Oberlin Police Department Records Retention schedule, the agency permanently maintains arrest reports and documents. Meanwhile, the Springboro Police Department maintains arrest reports for 50 years per the Springboro Municipal Records Retention Schedule. On the other hand, per the City of Dublin Retention Schedule, the Dublin Police Department retains adult and juvenile arrest information until the subject passes away, turns 80 old, or the records are expunged. Hence, Ohio arrest records may be retained indefinitely or for the timeframe specified in the record retention schedule followed by the records custodians.  

Expunge an Arrest Record in Ohio

In Ohio, an arrest record may be eligible to be sealed or expunged depending on its subject and the nature of the offense. The fundamental distinction between expunged and sealed records is that the latter refers to removing a record from public records, while the former refers to destroying a record.  

For arrests in which an individual was not charged, a written letter can be submitted to the chief of police in the community where the arrest occurred to request that the record be sealed. However, if an individual was arrested and later convicted, they must wait a specified period before applying for expungement. This is known as the "expungement waiting period," and it varies based on the type of conviction and how the case was resolved.  

According to ORC § 2953.32, the expungement waiting period for a felony conviction is three (3) years following the case's termination, whereas, for a misdemeanor conviction, it is one (1) year. When a grand jury issues a no bill of charges against an individual following an arrest, the expungement waiting period is two (2) years from the day the bill was reported. However, there is no expungement waiting period for arrests that result in an acquittal. Hence, individuals in such cases can file for expungement after the conclusion of their trial. 

An individual can file a petition with the court where they were prosecuted, provided their conviction is qualified to be sealed. The petition would include a sealing application form and required filing fee payment. The sealing application form may be obtained through the court website or the clerk's office. There is no filing cost for cases that were dismissed or for which the defendant was found not guilty or awarded a no-bill charge. In other cases, the filing fee is usually not more than $50. If the petitioner is unable to pay the expungement fee in full when filing their application, they may submit a "Poverty Affidavit" form with the sealing application form. Following the submission of the sealing application and payment of necessary fees, a hearing date would be set for between 45 to 90 days of the filing date. If the application gets approved by a judge after the hearing, it may take up to six (6) for the court and other government agencies to seal the petition record. 

Certain convictions and their associated records (including arrest records) are generally ineligible for expungement under ORC § 2953.32. Thus, records of arrests relating to these cannot be removed. These include:

  • First and second-degree felony convictions;
  • Convictions for offenses where the victim was less than 13 years old;
  • Certain third-degree felony convictions.

How Do I Find Recent Arrests in Ohio?

Some law enforcement agencies in Ohio host online tools on their websites that inquirers can use to find information about recent arrests the agency has made. Depending on the agency, these tools may cover varying timeframes (days, weeks, or months). Some examples of such tools are the Weekly Offense and Arrest Report directory provided by the Clermont County Sheriff's Office and the Piqua Police Department's Police Public Information Activity Log

Are Ohio Arrest Records Free?

Interested persons can access Ohio arrest records for free through online resources provided by some law enforcement agencies in the state. These resources are usually hosted on the agency's official website. However, individuals are generally charged a fee when they request arrest records or reports from an agency. Similarly, users are also charged a fee when they request arrest records or reports from third-party websites.

Ohio Arrest Records
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  • Arrests Records
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