If you are looking for detailed information regarding background checks in Oklahoma, you are in the right place. Our comprehensive guide outlines everything from background check laws to exactly how to run a background check in the state of Oklahoma.
Background Check Laws in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Open Records Act ensures that the public has the right to request, access, and review government records, which includes over 35 million public records on file.
Oklahoma law protects individuals’ privacy concerns via specified exceptions listed in the Oklahoma Open Records Act. Exceptions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- State evidentiary privilege
- Public officials’ personnel notes
- Personnel records
- Real estate appraisals
- Business-related bids
- Sex offender registration files
- Computer programs
- Student records
Oklahoma has not established mandatory response times for government agencies to abide by when processing a request. There are no citizenship requirements or administrative appeals in place either. Fees to retrieve and copy documents are nominal unless there is an exceptionally detailed, lengthy request.
All government agencies in Oklahoma must appoint a public records officer. The public records officer is responsible for receiving and processing all requests from the general public.
Ban-the-Box Laws in Oklahoma
Laws prohibiting employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on the initial job application are called ban-the-box laws.
In Oklahoma, ban-the-box laws only apply to state agencies. Oklahoma Executive Order 2016-03 prohibits state agencies from asking questions regarding criminal history and convictions unless a felony conviction automatically means the job candidate is unqualified.
What Shows up on a Background Check in Oklahoma?
A background check in Oklahoma shows an individual’s educational background, licensures, employment history, criminal history, financial history, and more.
Criminal history includes pending charges and one-time charges.
Employers conducting a criminal background check can see the following:
- Offense type
- Location of offense
- Case numbers
Reasons for Background Checks in Oklahoma
Employers commonly run background checks before officially hiring a job candidate. Here are a few reasons for this:
- Managerial Positions
- Specific State Jobs
- General Employment Screening
Oklahoma law mandates that both applicants and employees of the State Department of Health and Department of Human Services who work at long-term care facilities or work in a disabled or elderly person’s home undergo a criminal history background check.
The State Department of Health and Department of Human Services must submit a list of employees to Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections. The Department of Corrections then informs the agencies of any employee that must register under the Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act or the Sex Offenders Registration Act.
Typically anyone working in health, senior, or childcare must undergo extensive background checks, whether working for a government agency or not.
Background checks, credit checks, criminal records checks, education checks, driving record checks, and more are commonly conducted to make sure clients, children, and patients are safe.
Jobs that demand more responsibility, such as directors, health facility surveyors, and other managerial positions, are usually subject to additional background check requirements.
Oklahoma requires janitors working for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control to complete a criminal history background check.
Employers conduct background checks to verify a candidate’s employment history and ensure there are no criminal charges.
How Far Back do Background Checks Go in Oklahoma?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states that consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) can only report criminal activity that’s occurred in the past seven years. The FCRA has no limitations for any criminal convictions.
There are states with laws that fall in line with the FCRA’s seven-year limitations, but Oklahoma is not one of them. There are no state laws in Oklahoma that limit how far back a background check can go.
How far back a background check goes is dependent on why it’s conducted in the first place. For example, if a job candidate is applying for any of the following, the background check could look well past seven years:
- Government agency jobs
- Jobs with salaries exceeding $75,000
- Insurance company jobs
- Healthcare jobs
- In-home service jobs
Criminal records of minors are commonly sealed and are not publicly available.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma Open Records Act allows the public to access records; however, the state doesn’t mandate that requests be processed within a specific timeframe.
For criminal history background checks conducted through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), the time frames vary depending on how you request the information.
- In-person: one record check requires a 10 to 15-minute wait / multiple requests generally takes one to two days
- Standard mail: one to three weeks to process and return standard mail requests
- Priority or Overnight Express: one to three business days of receipt (include a pre-paid envelope)
- Fax: two to five business days of receipt
Contact the Criminal History Reporting Unit at 405-848-6724 if you have not received mail requests within 30 days.
How Long Does a Background Check Take for a Gun in Oklahoma?
Federal law mandates that federally licensed firearms dealers initiate a background check on a buyer before selling a firearm in Oklahoma. Private sellers are exempt.
Oklahoma is not a state “point of contact,” so background checks are completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) using the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database.
In Oklahoma, firearms dealers must directly contact the FBI when initiating a background check.
The FBI must respond within three business days with background check results once a firearms dealer submits a request. If the FBI fails to do so, the dealer can complete the sale.
How Do I Access Public Records or Get a Criminal History Background Check in Oklahoma?
There are several ways to access public records or obtain a criminal history background check in Oklahoma.
For public records, the Office of the Attorney General in Oklahoma has an Open Records Act Request Form. You will need to include the following information on the form:
- Whether you are media or the general public
- The purpose of your request (public interest, personal, or commercial)
- Your email address
- Your name, address, and phone number
- Your signature and date
Oklahoma does not require that you send in payment at the time of your request; the Office of the Attorney General will contact you with fee information upon receipt of your request.
Once you have completed the form, you can return it to the following address:
Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General
313 NE 21st St.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
Phone: (405) 522-4400 Fax: (405) 522-0669
The Oklahoma Open Records Act allows the general public the right to access government records through a comprehensive repository.
The OSBI, or Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, maintains fingerprint-based criminal history data. The OSBI manages name-based criminal history searches via the online Criminal History Information Request Portal, which is also known as CHIRP.
A criminal history background check using OSBI will show fingerprint-based arrests and conviction information of severe misdemeanors and felonies in Oklahoma.
You will need the following information in order to request a criminal history search using CHIRP:
- The person’s first and last name
- The person’s date of birth.
- Any aliases used, such as a maiden name or previous married name
- The social security number of the person, if known
Where Can I Find Oklahoma Criminal History Records?
Oklahoma’s online portal, CHIRP, provides the fastest results when searching for criminal records. However, there are several ways to conduct a criminal background check:
- Complete the online Criminal History Request Portal (CHIRP)
- Mail the Criminal History Request Form to 6600 N. Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73116 and include a pre-paid envelope
- Fax the Criminal History Request Form to 405-879-2503
OSBI accepts money orders, cashier’s checks, or credit cards. Cash is only accepted in person. Requests via Fax can only be paid by credit card.
Fees for Requests from the OSBI Criminal History Database are as follows:
- Name-Based Criminal History Check: $15.00
- Fingerprint-Based Criminal History Check: $19.00
The Department of Corrections (DOC) maintains the Sex Offender and Violent Offender databases. You can request that the OSBI search these databases as well. The fees are as follows:
- Violent Offender – $2.00
- Sex Offender – $2.00
There is also an online convenience fee of $1.00.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) manages the state’s prison system. ODOC manages and provides security for over two dozen facilities located throughout the state. The Sentence Administration, Offender Records, and Registries Unit are all divisions within the Department of Corrections that provide the data.
In Oklahoma, inmate records include offender data and where they are placed within the state’s correctional centers, county jails, and penitentiaries.
Inmate records include personal information such as the following:
- Name, birthdate, and gender
- Inmate location and registration number
- Jail transfer information
- Custody status
Where Can I Find Oklahoma Inmate Records?
The general public has the right to view, inspect, and obtain copies of inmate records. The public can instantly access and download inmate records using the ODOC’s online portal.
You can obtain additional records through the administrative assistant or records coordinator of the DOC Offenders Records Department.
You are also able to mail in requests via Oklahoma City’s department.
The Oklahoma State Courts Network provides the general public with all state, civil, criminal, and appellate cases.
County clerks are able to provide documents from some civil cases, which you can scan and download free of charge.
However, most court records are extremely lengthy, containing hundreds of pages worth of documents. In order to narrow down your search, you typically want to look for the following:
- Court minutes
- Case files
- Court orders
- Jury files and records
- Witness documentation
- Ruling information
Where Can I Find Oklahoma Court Records?
A database is available using the Oklahoma State Courts Network, where you can search by any county court by name or case number.
If you are searching for criminal and civil trials, reach out to the county district court where the case is pending. For any information regarding appeals, contact the supreme court clerk’s office. For administrative requests, contact the appropriate court’s administrative office.
If it is required of you to submit a request for court records form, you can do so by following these steps:
- Complete and submit an online Request for Records form
- The response is typically received within ten business days
- Accepted payment: cashier’s check or money order
- Upon receipt of payment, allow ten business days for processing
To obtain copies of records, you must pay a fee of $1 for the first page and $.50 cents for any additional pages.
Mail payment to the office of the Oklahoma County Court Clerk and include a self-addressed envelope if requesting copies.
Sex Offender Records
The state of Oklahoma mandates that individuals with sex-related criminal convictions or other convictions against minors register as sex offenders.
The general public can conduct a basic search of the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry by entering the following information:
- First and last name
You are also able to search for sex offenders in Oklahoma by appearance, offense, or with a map feature.
The state of Oklahoma also permits the general public to download the entire Public Sex Offender list.
Oklahoma Driving Records
Oklahoma law mandates that individuals can only request their own three-year driving record (MVR).
To obtain a three-year MVR, the fee is $25.00. If you are 65 years of age or older, when requesting an MVR, the fee is waived. A certified copy is an additional $3.00 each. There is also a $2.50 fee per transaction.
Once you provide an email address, you can download a link and print a PDF.
In order to obtain an individual motor vehicle report in Oklahoma, you must submit the following information:
- Driver’s First and Last Name
- Driver’s Date of Birth
- Driver’s Sex
- Oklahoma Driver’s License Number
If you would like to obtain an MVR for another individual besides yourself, you must follow the guidelines set forth by Oklahoma Statute 47 OS § 6-117 (OSCN 2021), Highway Safety Code.
Oklahoma Vital Records
Oklahoma State Vital Records Division via the Oklahoma Department of Health manages all of the birth and death records within the state.
What Information Do I Need When Requesting a Vital Record?
A request for vital records information can be completed through the Oklahoma State Vital Records Division. This information includes:
- The person’s full name, including maiden names
- The event’s location
- The estimated date of the event
- For marriage records, the license number
- For divorce records, the case file number
Where Can I obtain Vital Records in Oklahoma?
You can order vital records online, in person, or by mail.
Oklahoma offers access to some vital records via a free searchable database called Ok2Explore, which is maintained by the Oklahoma State Vital Records Division. The database includes births that happened over 20 years ago and deaths that happened over five years ago. You can request an express order for $15.00.
Send mail requests to the following address:
Vital Records Service
Oklahoma State Department of Health
PO Box 248964
Oklahoma City, OK 73124-8964
The turnaround time is approximately six weeks when ordering by mail.
You can also obtain original records by requesting them from the County Clerk where the life event happened.
For Oklahoma residents, the fee for the first copy of a birth or death certificate is $15.00. Additional copies are $15.00. For out-of-state residents, the rates vary. There are additional costs associated with expedited copies of vital records.
How Do I Obtain a Credit History Background Check in Oklahoma?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives all American citizens one free annual credit report from the three main United States credit bureaus, including:
In order to obtain a free credit report from one of the three credit bureaus listed above, you will need to submit the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social security number
What Do I Do if the Information is Incorrect on my Background Check in Oklahoma?
If you feel as though your information is incorrect, you can take action.
For questions regarding arrest records, contact the arresting agency in charge. The agency will then contact the OSBI.
Can You Get a Free Background Report in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma does not offer free criminal background checks as OBIS is responsible for all records. Oklahoma utilizes fingerprints and names to check records, both of which will cost you a fee.
Name-based searches cost $15, well fingerprint based-services cost $19. There are other fees associated with background checks in Oklahoma, depending on the type of search and the amount of research required.