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Background Checks in Ohio

Table of Contents

Need more information? Check out our guides to Ohio arrest records and Ohio public records.


What is a background check?

A background check is an investigation into an individual’s criminal record, employment history, driving record, education, finances, or other aspects of their personal history. 

Background checks are often performed by an organization or company in order to screen a subject before a significant financial or legal agreement. However, individuals regularly perform background checks on themselves to make sure that the public information on them matches their personal records.

For more general information on background checks, consult our Background Checks FAQS page.  

How do I run a criminal background check in Ohio?

In Ohio, the release of criminal record history information is strictly limited, and obtaining the criminal record of an individual other than oneself requires the signed consent of the individual.

Yet, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation does have a process that allows individuals to request a copy of a criminal record, which will include arrest records. 

To obtain an Ohio criminal record, you must submit the following four items to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. These items may be submitted when visiting a BCI location in order to have a fingerprint scan.

  • The full name, address, and physical characteristics of the subject of the request
  • A full set of fingerprints from the subject of the request. You can have electronic fingerprints submitted at one of four BCI locations in the state (Click here for the addresses of participating locations).
  • Signed consent of the subject of the request
  • Payment in the form of a check, money order, or electronic payment of $22 payable to “Treasurer of State of Ohio

What can I do if my Ohio criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?

If your Ohio arrest record or criminal history record document has what you believe to be inaccurate or incorrect information, the Ohio BCI recommends that you do the following:

  1. Highlight the error on a copy of the document.
  2. Gather any supporting documents offering proof that the document is in error, such as court records or an original arrest record.
  3. Contact the law enforcement agency responsible for the error and explain the situation. They will conduct an investigation and correct the error if they determine that one exists. 

How do I search for Ohio court records online?

While’s there’s no all-encompassing search tool for searching Ohio court documents, many individual counties and municipalities have their own court records search tools. Here are a few of them:

If you can’t find the court record you are looking for online, the best option is to contact the clerk of court in the county where the case originated directly and make a request, either in-person or over the phone. 

The Ohio Department of Justice website has the contact information of every Ohio court. Scroll down the page to find the court you are looking for. 

Where can I find Ohio driving records online? 

Ohio driving records can be requested online through the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The Ohio MBV Online Services site has two driving record options:

  • Certified 3-year driving record – Costs $5. A copy of your driving record that can be used for legal or commercial purposes.
  • Unofficial 2-year driving recordFree-of-charge. Online view of a 2-year driving record. Intended for informational purposes only.  

How do I look up Ohio vital records such as birth certificates and marriage licenses?

Vital records are records of important life events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that are kept by government agencies and accessible upon request. 

Vital records are not public records that can be viewed by anyone, but the subject(s) of the record and authorized family members can view them in-person or order copies through a number of means. Additionally, one or more vital records may be required to complete a background check. 

The Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics enlists the services of the third-party vendor Vital Chek to enable individuals to order copies of vital records online. The government-endorsed service offers vital records from 50 U.S. states and territories. 

Available vital records include: 

  • birth certificates
  • death certificates

Click here to place an order with Vital Chek. For more information, contact the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics at 614-466-3543.

How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in Ohio?

Those convicted of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against children in Ohio are required by law to register as sex offenders. Additionally, offenders in the registry are required to notify law enforcement as soon as possible in the case of a physical address change or email address change, or they will be labeled “non-compliant”.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office makes the Ohio Sex Offender Registry available online to the general public in the interest of public safety. Users may search by name, city, area, or email address/internet name. However, certain low-risk offenders may not be viewable in the online database.

Click here to perform a search of the Ohio Sex Offender Registry. It’s important to stay informed about potential threats in your neighborhood in order to take the necessary precautions. 

How do I perform a credit history background check in Ohio?

Performing a credit check in Ohio follows the same process as in other states. A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) grants every American one free annual credit report each from the three main U.S. credit bureaus:

In order to obtain your free credit report from one of these three bureaus, you must provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth 
  • Social security number