What is an Arrest Record?
In the State of Ohio, a person’s criminal record is the sum of all documents pertaining to convictions, arrests not leading to convictions, sentencing dates, and penalties such as fines, probation, or confinement. These separate pieces of information are not kept in a comprehensive criminal record file for each individual person. Rather, they are disparate records, any of which can be returned in a criminal records check requiring fingerprints. The documents returned depend on which government agency is conducting the check. Any criminal records for a person in a particular county are likely maintained by only that county. When conducting a criminal records check through the State of Ohio, you should expect only OH state level criminal records to be returned as a result.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
An arrest warrant is issued by a judge or a court of law. In Ohio, an arrest warrant authorizes local law enforcement agencies to arrest a person for an alleged offense. “Alleged” is the word used when a person is accused of a crime but has not yet been convicted. A warrant does not prove that a person is guilty; that must be proven in a court of law. An Ohio warrant means that the person must be arrested to face charges and sentencing. A warrant is created only after a judge determines that there is probable cause to arrest the person. Probable cause can only be determined when there is an affidavit. An affidavit is when a person swears under oath describing how the individual committed the crime. Usually, person swearing under oath is a witness or victim, or a peace officer who has collected factual evidence of the crime and its connection to the individual.
An Ohio warrant is considered active until it is delivered to the person named in the warrant and they are arrested, or until that person dies. In other words, if there is an OH warrant for your arrest, it will remain active for years and years. It can show up on background checks and in the law enforcement databases if you get pulled over by an Ohio cop. That is why it is a good idea to settle your warrant, whether that means paying a fine or going to jail to await trial and sentencing. Just because you have an OH warrant, doesn’t mean you are guilty. The charges could end up being dropped, or you could be found not guilty or innocent. There has to be proof that you did something wrong.
An OH outstanding warrant is a warrant that has been on the books for a long time and that officers of the law have not been able to execute. This could happen because they have a large queue of warrants to serve, or because the individual is avoiding being arrested. In Ohio, it also often happens that people don’t know there are warrants for their arrest. They might not mean to avoid arrest; they just haven’t been arrested yet.
How to Search For an Inmate in the Ohio Prison System
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction offers an Offender Search tool that provides a number of search parameters. You can access the Offender Search tool at this website:odrc.drc.ohio.gov/OffenderSearch/Search.aspx. Using this tool, you will be able to search for inmates of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, as well as offenders who are out on probation or otherwise being supervised.
Who Can Search For Arrest Records and Warrants in Ohio?
Anyone can search for public records and warrants in Ohio. However, some records do not become public until the business those records are involved with has been completed. An arrest record may or may not remain public, depending on whether the individual has attempted to have their record sealed. Warrant are typically a matter of public record in Ohio only after they have been served, though in some cases OH active warrant information will be made available to the public at the discretion of local Ohio law enforcement agencies.
How to Request Records Under the Ohio Public Records Act
The Ohio Public Records Act and the Ohio Open Meetings Act are known together as the Sunshine Laws. The Ohio Attorney General’s office offers training sessions to help both public employees and citizens understand their rights and responsibilities under the law, as well as offering general procedures for the giving and receiving of public information under the laws. You can find out more about the Sunshine Laws and open government at this website:ohioattorneygeneral.gov/legal/sunshine-laws.
Concerning the release of criminal history records and warrant information, the State of Ohio generally declines to recognize a right to privacy in these matters and makes the information available to the public. Although case law offers some examples of information that does fall under the right to privacy, the applicability of these examples is very limited, especially in regard to OH arrest records and warrants.
To obtain public records under the Ohio Public Records Act, you just have to ask the agency in possession of the records to view them. You don’t have to provide identification or a reason for wanting to see the records. You can make a request however you would like: in writing, over the phone, in person, or by email. Often, asking informally and explaining what information you are looking for will help public employees locate the records you need.
For more information about OH Sunshine Laws, you can view this FAQ page provided by the Attorney General: :ohioattorneygeneral.gov/About/FAQ/Constitutional-Offices#FAQ28.
How Long Does An Arrest Record or Warrant Stay On File In Ohio?
An OH warrant remains active in the jurisdiction it originates from until it is executed by police or settled by the person named in it. Ignoring an Ohio warrant will not make it go away. If you do not settle a warrant on your record, it will remain there until you are arrested or die.
An Ohio arrest record will always remain on file, but it can be expunged, or in some cases, it can be sealed and destroyed if no conviction was made. If you are able to get your arrest record expunged, employers cannot legally use the information against you in hiring decisions. To have your arrest record expunged or sealed and destroyed, you must contact a lawyer.