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Ohio Public Records

As defined by the Ohio Revised Code 149.43A, Ohio public records are any “records kept by a public agency” including but are not limited to records found in school district units, township, village, city, county, or the state. The term “record” includes any document, which can be requested in any format including paper or electronic. 

How to Find Ohio Public Records

There are various ways to access public records in Ohio. The Sunshine Laws Manual also known as the Ohio Public Records Act published annually and is available at the Attorney General’s Office states that “any person can make a request for public records by asking a public office or person responsible for public records for specific, existing records.”

You can make a request via phone, email, a letter or in person. For a public records request, you can use this sample request form provided by the Ohio Court of Claims. However, private sources can also provide access when the records are available. 

When making a request, it’s best to leave your name, address and phone number so that the agency in charge of the public records can contact you if they have any questions. As stated in the Ohio Revised Code Section 149.43(B)(4), people who request public records in Ohio are not required to identify themselves or explain the reason for their request. 

Are Ohio Public Records Available Online?

Ohio public records are available online. However, some records like court records may be limited to the public and can only be accessed through official websites. Get public records in Ohio through governmental websites or send a formal written request to the public agency with the records you need. 

What Records are Available in Ohio?

 Aside from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that has been in effect since 1967, Ohio is somewhat different from other states because it follows the Sunshine Laws

This means that aside from public records which include  criminal records, vital records, court records, and records on property and assets, Ohioans also have a right to access government meetings. 

Note that instead of a specific period of two to three business days, Ohio handles records requests within a “reasonable” timeframe that may vary due to the following:

  • Type of record
  • Volume of records requested
  • Time required for legal review or redaction of records

You can file a complaint to the Ohio Court of Claims and pay $25 to process your appeal in case of a denied records request. At this point, you need to wait a maximum of seven days for the court to respond, and you get another 45 days for them to issue a legally binding decision. 

What Records are Non-Public in Ohio?

The following records are not available for public inspection in Ohio:

  • Medical records
  • Individual tax records
  • Personal records of public employees
  • Parole or probation records
  • DNA records 
  • Confidential law enforcement investigatory records

Types of Public Records Available in Ohio

Below is the list of available public records that you can access in Ohio.

Ohio Public Criminal Records

The Identification Division of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is the governing body that provides information on the criminal records of a person in Ohio.

You can get the following information from Ohio when you request a criminal record:

  • Name
  • Birthdate
  • Nationality
  • Mugshots
  • Fingerprints
  • Distinctive features
  • Arrest records
  • Offense type
  • Convictions
  • Incarcerations

Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Ohio :

Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office1215 W 3rd St, Cleveland, OH
Franklin County Sheriff's Office373 South High St., Columbus, OH
Hamilton County Sheriff's Office1000 Sycamore Street, Cincinnati, OH
Summit County Sheriff's Office53 University Ave, Akron, OH
Montgomery County Sheriff's Office555 Infirmary Rd, Dayton, OH
Lucas County Sheriff's Office1622 Spielbusch Avenue, Toledo, OH
Stark County Sheriff's Office4500 Atlantic Blvd., N.E., Canton, OH
Butler County Sheriff's Office705 Hanover St, Hamilton, OH
Lorain County Sheriff's Office9896 Murray Ridge Rd, Elyria, OH
Mahoning County Sheriff's Office110 5th Ave, Youngstown, OH

Arrest Records and Warrants

Arrest records in Ohio can be accessed in the court or the county where the arrest was made. Outstanding warrants are also available and are considered as public records that you can access through the county clerks in the state of Ohio. 

In addition, arrest records and warrants can also be accessed online through the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. 

Inmate and Jail Records

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) provides a service where you can search for inmate and jail records and see results by status whether they are incarcerated, under APA supervision, or at large.


Jails and Prisons in Ohio :

Northeast Reintegration Center2675 East 30th Street, Cleveland, OH
Cuyahoga County OH Euclid Jail Annex545 E.222nd St., Euclid, OH
Cuyahoga County OH Corrections Center (CCCC)1215 West 3rd Street, Cleveland, OH
Franklin County Corrections Center II2460 Jackson Pike, Columbus, OH
Franklin Medical Center1990 Harmon Avenue, Columbus, OH
Franklin County Corrections Center I370 S. Front Street Columbus, Columbus, OH
Cincinnati RRM 36 E. 7TH ST., SUITE 2107-A, CINCINNATI, OH
Hamilton County OH Hillcrest Academy246 Bonham Road, Cincinnati, OH
Hamilton County Woodburn Facility (Turning Point)2605 Woodburn Ave, Cincinnati, OH
Hamilton County OH Justice Center900 Sycamore St., Cincinnati, OH

Ohio Background Checks 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) ensures that “consumer reports are accurate and used for permissible purposes.”

Under this act, requests from employers are allowed to access a possible candidate’s credit health information including their current debts, past loans, and bill payment history. 

You can only get non-FCRA background checks for personal purposes which means that the obtained information cannot be used for employment, insurance, or credit extensions.

In most cases, employers request criminal records as part of background checks before hiring a possible employee. 

How to find Sex Offenders in Ohio 

The Attorney General Office of Ohio has a public search portal of published offernders in the state, including a sex offender registry.The portal also allows requesters to receive email alerts whenever a published offender registers within the specified radius of their home, school, or business address.

Ohio Public Vital Records 

Similar to most states, Ohio also provides vital records within the state. These include registration of births, marriage records, and death records. Depending on the vital records you need, you can contact either the Bureau of Vital Statistics or the Ohio Department of Health.

To request vital records, you must have the following information:

  • License number (marriages) or a case file number (divorces).
  • Full name, including maiden names.
  • Specific date and location on the birth, death, or marriage records.

Birth records in Ohio are available from December 20, 1908 up to present and also includes heirloom birth certificates for order. 

Death records include stillbirth and fetal death records.

Marriage records are not available at the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics, but can be accessed from the county where the marriage event was recorded. 

Divorce records, like marriage records, are only available in the county which finalized it.

Aside from personal requests, you can also search for vital records online. 

Ohio Court Records 

Unlike criminal and vital records, court records in Ohio are somehow complicated to find. While other states have entirely embraced going online, Ohio doesn’t have a digital database that you can use to search for court records online. There are, however, available links to go to the specific trial courts where the case was heard to get the court records you need online. 

If you need additional help finding court records, visit the Ohio Supreme Court website or directly contact the county clerks to put in a records request.

You can also create an account at the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) to look for court records or use tools like InfoTracer to get court records on an individual. 

Court records pertaining to civil and criminal cases are available online in Ohio. However, you need to go and visit the Clerk’s Office if you need certified copies of court records. 

State Court System in Ohio

The state court system in Ohio is divided into three levels:

  1. State Supreme Court
  2. Appellate Courts
  3. Trial Courts

The Supreme Court is the Ohio’s highest appellate court. The appellate courts, also known as appeal courts, hear the appeals for civil and criminal matters and decide matters based on the trial court records. Ohio has 12 appellate districts. Trial courts, also known as district courts, have jurisdiction over cases that involves federal law violations, state law claims, criminal cases, and monetary claims for damages exceeding $75,000. Ohio’s district courts are divided into the northern and southern districts.


Courts in Ohio :

Lyndhurst Municipal Court5301 Mayfield Road, Lyndhurst, OH
Westlake Municipal Court27300 Hilliard Boulevard, Westlake, OH
Parma Municipal Court5555 Powers Blvd., Parma, OH
Garfield Heights Municipal Court5555 Turney Road, Garfield Heights, OH
Berea Municipal Court11 Berea Commons, Berea, OH
Cleveland Heights Municipal Court 40 Severance Circle, Cleveland Heights , OH
Fairview Park Municipal Court20777 Lorain Road, Fairview Park, OH
Cleaveland Municipal Court1200 Ontario Street, Cleaveland, OH
Euclid Municipal Court585 East 222nd St., Euclid, OH
Rocky River Municipal Court21012 Hilliard Blvd, Rocky River , OH

Driving Records

You can also find driving records in Ohio. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) allows employers to request a person’s driving records including their driving history which includes civil driving infractions and even criminal records for driving under influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI).

Employers can mail a driving records request form to Ohio BMV and pay a $5.00 fee. 

Civil Driving Infractions

A driving record history in Ohio includes the latest three-year report on the following civil driving infractions if available:

  • Accident involvement
  • License suspension
  • Disqualifications
  • All moving violation convictions
  • Driving criminal records (DWI/DUI)

Ohio License Plate Lookup 

Considered as a public record, you can also lookup a license plate in Ohio using the state’s BMVs online services

All you need is the license plate information, the last 4 digits of social security number (SSN), date of birth, or name details (last name, first name, middle name, or middle initial and suffix if applicable)

Ohio Property and Asset Records Online

To search for state property and asset information, visit the Ohio Treasurer’s Office website

Ohio also keeps unclaimed properties like money through the Department of Commerce Division of Unclaimed Funds. You can also search for unclaimed funds or missing money, get a claim form or lookup the status of your claims. Property records are managed by registry of deed offices which are also organized on a county level. 

Important Government Agencies in Ohio

 Here are the essential government agencies to help you find public records in Ohio.

  1. Secretary of State
  2. State Governor
  3. Ohio Legislature
  4. Supreme Court 
  5. Department of Justice 
    1. Northern District 
    2. Southern District
  6. Bureau of Vital Statistics
  7. Department of Health
  8. Identification Division - Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation
  9. Court of Claims
  10. Treasurer’s Office
  11. Bureau of Motor Vehicles
  12. Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Counties in Ohio


Other Records in Ohio