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Ohio's public records law states that "To facilitate broader access to public records, a public office or person responsible for public records shall organize and maintain public records in a manner that they can be made available for inspection or copying in accordance with division (B) of this section. A public office also shall have available a copy of its current records retention schedule at a location readily available to the public." To make public records requests easy, the Attorney General for the state created a helpful video showing you exactly how to go about it. They caution you when requesting records, to not ask for "information" ask for specific records. The public records law only covers actual records requests.
All different types of agencies in the Ohio government create public records such as state schools, the Secretary of State's office, the Attorney General's office, the courts, law enforcement, and dozens of others. During the normal course of business, they create, collect, and share records. Then they store them, organize them, and issue them upon request.
"Public record" means records kept by any public office, including, but not limited to, state, county, city, village, township, and school district units, and records pertaining to the delivery of educational services by an alternative school in this state kept by the nonprofit or for-profit entity operating the alternative school pursuant to section 3313.533 of the Revised Code."
The Ohio History Connection is the government agency in charge of preserving all historical public records for the state. They store local and state government archives as well as county records, vital records, war records, arts, and many other historical artifacts from Ohio's history.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office has a video showing you explicit instructions on how to request records. They caution you when making a record request NOT to ask for "information" but to ask for specific records. They strongly suggest you make your request in writing at the agency that you want them from. Some other tips from their video are:
Anyone can make a public records request. You do not need to provide your identity or reason you want them. You may request in person, over the phone, by email, mail, or by fax. You may have to pay fees when requesting copies.
In Ohio, criminal records are limited and not considered general public records. You can easily request a copy of your own criminal history report through the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) using a name or fingerprint search. These records requests cost $22 each. If you are interested in obtaining someone else's criminal record, you need to provide a legal reason for doing so. Ohio limits access to criminal history information. However, you can always review court records and the Department of Corrections records to search for criminal records in Ohio.
Some common types of criminal records in Ohio include (but are not limited to):
Court records in Ohio are created, collected, stored, and shared by each individual court in the state. Many of the county courts and higher-level courts have websites with an online search feature. For some court records, you need to visit the courthouse in person and fill out a request form. The courts may charge you a nominal fee for making copies of court records.
Some types of court records in Ohio include:
The court system in Ohio consists of five levels beginning with the Supreme Court, then the Court of Appeals and Court of Common Pleas, then the Municipal Court and County Court, then the Court of Claims and Mayor's Court.
Ohio arrest records are created by Ohio law enforcement and then travel through the criminal justice system. Eventually, they end up as court records and Department of Corrections/jail records. Since many of the counties and courts have their records online, you can search through court records online through their website portals. Other options, including offender locator tools with the DOC.
Some different types of arrests records in Ohio are:
The Ohio Department of Health is the government agency in charge of vital records for the state. They maintain vital records for births, deaths, and other vital events that take place in Ohio. They also handle adoption information, paternity records, they correct errors on vital records, and supply the public with certified copies of certificates along with heirloom certificates for new parents.
Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, other types of public records you can find in the state of Ohio include, but are not limited to:
In Ohio, not all records are considered public records. Some things are kept private including the following list from Ohio's public records law: