What Are Criminal Records?
Criminal records hold all of a person’s criminal history, including the local, state, and federal criminal information. The record may also include information about the person, such as their address, date of birth, name, any aliases they have, fingerprints, and a photograph.
- Past arrest information
- Current and pending charges
- Dismissed charges
- Acquitted charges
- Any misdemeanors or felonies
How Are Criminal Records Used?
Criminal records can be used in many ways. Usually, they are searched during a background check.
Background checks occur for several reasons, including:
- Employment, where a company wants to know about you as a potential employee
- School admittance, such as when you apply to a college or university
- Property rental
- Security clearance
- Purchasing weapons or firearms, since felons generally are not able to purchase or own weapons
- Voter registration, since felons typically have lost voting rights
- Military service
- Fostering or adopting a child
- For international travel, when you obtain a visa or for purposes such as naturalization or immigration
- For law enforcement purposes, like as a part of a criminal investigation
How Can Someone Access Your Criminal Records?
Some parts of your criminal record are accessible to the public, but obtaining the full record generally requires your consent. Law enforcement and those in the government may have open access.
Records that the public can access include divorce or marital history, DUI records, and past addresses. They also can obtain some specific criminal records such as a person’s arrests, penalties, and convictions. More specific information such as what a person looks like, including their height, weight, tattoos, and other defining features, may not be available to the public.
The public can access information about sex crimes that have been committed by searching the sex offender registry. In Ohio, registered sex offenders list their home and work address and vehicle information with the local sheriff’s office to be accessible through the eSORN database. Each of Ohio’s 88 county sheriff offices inputs the information into the system. Offenders also are required to list supplemental information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, screen names, and handles, but these are not made public.
Offenders remain on the list for anywhere from 10 years to life, depending upon the severity of the crime.
How Can You Request a Criminal Record?
You can search the state’s online system by visiting a vendor or state agency that has a computer terminal with access. You can also request information by the person’s name or fingerprint by filling out the form and paying the fee if any.
Friedman and Nemecek, LLC: Sex Offender Registration in Ohio: Crimes & Classification Tiers Office of Criminal Justice Services
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