This article series explains how information about a person’s criminal background is stored in Oklahoma, and how members of the public can obtain it.
In the last article, we explained the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) collects information about a person’s arrests and criminal charges. That information is put into what’s called an “OSBI Criminal History Record Information report.” The last article also covered how Oklahoma court cases are available online at oscn.net. Between those two sources of information, OSBI and OSCN, members of the public can learn a lot about a person’s criminal background in Oklahoma.
In this article, we will look at who regularly views this information.
Oklahoma Employers, Landlords, and Colleges regularly pull OSBI Criminal History reports before hiring employees, renting to tenants, or giving grant money to students
In Oklahoma, anyone can access your criminal background by paying $15 to OSBI. In return for filling out a one page form and writing a check or swiping a credit card for fifteen bucks, the requestor will get a full OSBI Criminal History Record Information report, which, as we learned in the last article, contains everything there is to no about a person’s run-in with the law.
The OSBI report will first identify the person, including there names and aliases, tattoos, eye color, race, sex, etc., and will then identify each and every time this person was arrested by the police, even including those times when no charges were filed or if the case was dismissed.
This is the most common way of performing a “background check” in Oklahoma, and most companies and employers will go to OSBI before hiring an employee.
It’s not just employers who are regular requestors of OSBI. Landlords will also conduct a background check before renting a house or apartment. And if the Landlord is too cheap to pay $15, they will just go to OSCN and browse through the dockets.
Education Institutions, such as colleges and universities, will often conduct these searches as well before issuing scholarships and grants for tuition.
Professional licensing boards will not be cheap; they will pay $15 and go to OSBI before handing you that license or certification for your job.
And anyone who plans on adopting a child will undergo this process as well. Even those people who didn’t plan to adopt, but found themselves taking care of a sick relative, they will be screened by the Department of Human Services. It is not pleasant to find out that what you though was your privacy is open to anyone who decides to look.
The good news is that you can take control of your privacy and control what is publicly available on your record.
In the next article, we will explain what steps you can take to protect your privacy and control your background checks in Oklahoma.