What is an arrest record?
The Information Services Department was created in 1991 in the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) to handle the increased demand for information from legal and non legal entities. The OSBI maintains a central, state depository of all available criminal history information. Justice agencies from across the state are required by law to submit all criminal records from their jurisdiction to the OSBI.
The Bureau is further legally obligated to provide this crime history information to all applicants including individuals and private, non-government entities. A background check through the OSBI database will bring back information on all fingerprint based arrests and convictions. However, cases where finger prints were not taken or were of insufficient quality or when the arrest was un-reported are not included in this central repository.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation does not provide crime history information from other states, driving records or details stored in the federal criminal database. For a criminal background check, requesters are offered two options: a name search and finger print verification.
While a name search can be conducted online, in person or through mail, for a finger print check, you will need to get the finger print cards to the OSBI for verification either through mail or by visiting their headquarters. Apart from these, applicants can also search through the Violent Offenders and Department of Corrections of Sex Offenders databases for a small fee.
It is possible to have criminal records expunged in the state of Oklahoma by petitioning the court. Expungement of records is carried out under two sections: 18 and 991 (c). A section 18 expungement will lead to the sealing of the entire arrest record while under Section 991 only the disposition records will be changed to show that the case has been dismissed. An appeal for expungement can only be filed when:
- A person has been acquitted
- The conviction is reversed
- Factual innocence of the defendant is proven through DNA evidence
- No charges are filed
- Ten years have passed since the judgment was entered in a misdemeanor case
- The offense was a non violent felony
What is an arrest warrant?
An Oklahoma arrest warrant is a directive issued by the judge of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or the district court to detain a person and present him before the judiciary so that he/she may be tried for offenses committed.
A complaint has to be filed in court detailing the public offense committed by an individual for the issue of an arrest order. Before a warrant is released, the issuing authority is legally bound to ensure that the information provided in the written complaint is enough to establish probable, cause which is defined as reasonable grounds to believe that the individual against whom the warrant is being requested has committed the crime. The magistrate may rely entirely on the affidavit when establishing the existence of probable cause or call for a sworn testimony from the witnesses.
A warrant issued in Oklahoma is always in writing and it has the name of the state, county in which it was issued and the date of issue mentioned on it along with the signature of the magistrate. The arrest order is a directive to the Sherriff’s Department and his deputies to arrest the person in whose name the warrant has been issued. The order for detention will also have a mention of the offense committed and a copy of the affidavit attached.
The warrant must state the name of the defendant; if this is unknown at the time of filing the complaint, the magistrate may designate the person to be brought in by any other name/aliases. If the offense charged is bailable, the magistrate will also fix the amount of bail when issuing the warrant and this will be mentioned on the arrest order.
Although a warrant is directed to one or two peace officers, it can be served by any law enforcement official in the state. In fact, such arrest orders can be executed in any county in the state of Oklahoma unless they are issued in matters pertaining to civic ordinance violations. A person can be taken into custody under the provisions of a warrant by a police officer or a private person or an individual who is acting as the aid to a peace officer.
When a warrant for arrest is issued in a felony case, the person in question can be taken into custody at any time of the day or night. However, for misdemeanors, the arrest has to be made between 6 am to 10 pm unless the individual to be detained is found to be in a public place or on a public road.
An officer is authorized to use any means of force necessary when detaining a person who has a warrant out in his name; this includes the use of actual restraint. The arresting officer is required by law to inform the defendant that a warrant has been issued against him even if he/she may not be in possession of the written order when making the arrest.
How to search for an inmate in the Oklahoma Jail & Prison system?
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections website at: docapp065p.doc.state.ok.us/servlet/page?_pageid=395&_dad=portal30&_schema=PORTAL30 can be used for an online inmate search. Charged with the maintenance of all correctional facilities across the state including institutions, community correctional and work centers, half way houses and private prisons, you can find records on all offenders who have entered the Oklahoma Prison system through the DOC database.
The records are frequently updated to ensure that the most accurate information is offered to the public. On the search page, you will find several options including a basic check that can be conducted with the name or the ODOC number of the inmate. You can also furnish additional details such as aliases, incarceration facility and offenses if available to narrow down your search.
Insert relevant information where appropriate and hit the search button to reach the results page. Here, you will find an in depth summary with the photograph of the inmate, identifying marks, information on crime committed, sentence, release date and the correctional facility where the prisoner is being held. For additional information, you can contact the Central Records office of the ODOC at 405-425-2500
Who can search for arrest records and warrants in Oklahoma and how?
Pursuant to the Oklahoma Open Records Act, Section 24A.8, law enforcement agencies have to make criminal records available for public inspection. The data can include the name, date of birth, sex, gender, physical descriptions, address and occupation of the arrestee along with the cause of arrest and a chronological list of events.
All citizens of the United States will be allowed access to this information and other public records maintained by government agencies. However, if this data is being used for employment selection purposes, the employer is required to notify the candidate if the background check information has led to the denial of employment.
In this case, the applicant will need to inform the subject about the results of such a check and the issuing authority of the report as per the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Any person denied access to public records in the state of Oklahoma may bring a civil suit to access such information. If successful, the applicant can even claim attorney fees through such a case.
How to request records under the Oklahoma specific laws, freedom of information?
For arrest records searches in Oklahoma, you can approach the state Bureau of Investigation through their website, in person or by mail. Applicants who are established billing customers can even access the ACHS (Automated Criminal History System) system for their arrest records search. The OSBI offers both a names search as well as finger print checks.
Making a request in person: Download the criminal history record check form at
http://www.ok.gov/osbi/documents/RecordCheckForm.pdf and visit the head quarters of the Bureau at:
6600 North Harvey
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
Mail: You can also send in a records check request through mail but you will need to include a self addressed postage paid envelope with your request.
Online checks: The ACHS system can only be accessed by billing customers who need a number of searches each month/year. Only companies that conduct a minimum of 50 searches are currently offered this facility. To establish a billing account, you can contact the Accounting supervisor on 405-879-2655.
For a criminal records search, you will need to submit information such as the full name of the subject, date of birth, all known aliases including maiden and married names and the purpose of the request. Although the social security number of the subject and his/her race and gender are optional pieces of information, these can help you to get more accurate results. A signed release form is NOT required to conduct criminal background checks in the state of Oklahoma
The processing charges are based on the type of search that you want to conduct and the information you seek. Finger print checks are the most expensive at $19/ record while name searches are charged at $15. You can a search through the Department of violent offender’s database and the Department of Corrections Sex Offenders database for $2 each. The processing fees are set by the state and cannot be waived or reduced. Payments towards these charges are accepted in cash, through money orders, cashier’s checks, government checks and credit cards.
If you visit the OSBI in person for an arrest record search, it will take you no more than ten to fifteen minutes to get the information in your hands. Even if multiple requests are left at the customer window, these are generally completed on the same or the following day.
Mail request take one to three weeks to be processed; however, priority or overnight express requests are handled in one to three days. Request made through fax r are processed within 5 to 8 business days but you will need to provide a dedicated fax number to receive your results.