Wondering about the ins and outs of Oklahoma’s public records law? You have come to the right place! Below, you will find everything you could ever wish to know about public records, how to access them, and all limitations that apply.
What Federal Laws Apply to Public Records in the United States of America?
The Freedom of Information Act (shortened to FOIA) was passed in 1966 by President Lyndon Johns. A year later, in 1967, the law was enacted and does apply to the public records held and maintained inside the United States of America. It ensures people have the right to view and copy the records under public agencies.
With that said, there are 9 exemptions to be aware of that restrict access to certain documents or parts of the documents. These exemptions are as follows:
- Practices and rules of internal agencies
- Geological data on wells
- Information made by/for law enforcement when the disclosure of the records would do one or more of the following:
- Disclose the identity of a witness or source who wishes to remain anonymous
- Disallow someone’s right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication
- Invade an individual’s privacy
- Interfere with processes and procedures of law enforcement
- Endanger the life or safety of an individual
- Leak law enforcement techniques, prosecution techniques, or investigatory techniques
- Information about a financial institution’s supervision
- Classified national defense information or data relating to foreign relations
- Inter-agency communications that are under cover of legal privileges like attorney-client
- Data prohibited from disclosure by a different federal law
- Trade secrets and similar business information
- Internal agencies’ practices, processes, and rules
The Oklahoma Open Records Act is a series of laws made to ensure the public has access to public records of governmental entities and facilitate the access to look at and copy the records. Anybody can request public records under this act and no agency is required to ask for a statement of purpose. You can use the record for as long as you want, however you want.
Oklahoma Statutes § 51-24A.3 (1)defines public records as all documents including books, papers, photographs, data files, microfilms, disks, sound records, and more, regardless of physical form made, received, controlled, or maintained by the state and its subdivisions, including the police department.
The term “record” in the Oklahoma Open Records Act does not mean:
- Non Government personal documents
- Computer software
- Personal financial information
- Personal information maintained by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department
- Digital audio recordings or video recordings about the toll collection
- Vehicle movement records
- Department of Defense Form 214 filed with a county clerk
Oklahoma Public Records Examples
Oklahoma public records include but are not limited to:
- Court records
- Criminal records (including arrest records, warrant records, sex offender information, and inmate records)
- Property records
- Vital records
Exemptions to Oklahoma Public Records
While Oklahoma tries to keep an open and transparent governmental system, there are several detailed exemptions listed in the Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.5 and subsequent sections that restrict access to certain types or parts of documents.
The exemptions can be found in the list below, along with links to the appropriate sections of the law for you to read about them in more detail:
- Records held under state evidentiary privilege like attorney-client — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.5 (1) (a)— This includes the identity of informer privileges and any work products within the privilege.
- Details about meetings of a public body that were/are lawfully closed to the public — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.5 (1) (b) — This includes executive sessions held under the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act § 301 of Title 25
- Personal information held on driver records —Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.5 (1) (c) — Driver’s information is protected from public exposure under theDriver’s Privacy Protection Act, 18 United States Code § 2721 to 2725.
- Information held by the Board of Medicolegal Investigations —Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.5 (1) (d) — This applies to information protected under theOklahoma Statutes Title 63 § 940 and >§ 941 that could be preliminary findings, confidential medical information, or hearsay.
- Information on internal personnel investigations — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.7 (1) — This includes the selection/examination material for hiring, employment, demotion, resignation, discipline, and more.
- Information that, if disclosed, would invade personal privacy — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.7 (2) — This includes employee evaluations, payroll deductions, transcripts from higher education facilities, and employee applications of those who did not become an employee. The subsection will not be used to prevent disclosure of degrees and other qualifications achieved by an individual.
- Home address, telephone numbers, and social security numbers of public officials — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.7 (D)
- Records made according to the Oklahoma Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Evaluation System that identify a current/former public employee — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.7 (E) — This does not apply to records required under the Oklahoma Statutes Title 70 § 6-101.16.
- Audio and video recordings from recording equipment attached to law enforcement vehicles, personnel, or other equipment as long as the following is removed or obscured (Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.8 (9)):
- Death of a person
- A dead body
- Identifiable minors under 16 years old
- Acts of severe violence resulting in great bodily harm
- Include personal medical information
- Would undermine privileges found underOklahoma Statutes Title 43A § 1-109 and § 3-428
- Include personal information other than license plate and name of somebody who was not arrested, warned, charged, or cited
- Reveal the identity of law enforcement officers who then became a subject of an internal investigation
- Records held by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training underOklahoma Statutes Title 70 § 3311 — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.8 (E))
- Records held by the Department of Public Safety held/created under Oklahoma Statutes Title 47 — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.8 (F) (1) — This applies to records that relate to:
- The Oklahoma Highway Patrol Division
- The Communications Division
- Other Department divisions relating to:
- Policies, operations, and procedures
- Teaching materials and lesson plans
- Tests and results
- Radio log information including phone numbers, address, and personal information
- Driving records — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.8 (2) — This subsection is only to be used where the disclosure of the driving records would potentially cause identity theft or risk invasion of law enforcement computer networks.
- Personal notes/material made by a public official during deliberations on recommendations and research — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.9
- Bid specifications for competitive bidding, contents of sealed bids, computer programs/software, appraisals relating to the sale of real estate, and the possible location of private businesses — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.10 (B)
- Business plans, financial proposals, marketing plans, trade secrets, economic advice, and feasibility studies held by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, and the technology center school districts — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.10 (C) (1)
- Proprietary information submitted to the Department or school districts relating to confidentiality agreements, development, and personalized training — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.10 (C) (2)
- Information used as a response to the above —Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.10 (C) (3)
- Credit information, credit card numbers, bank account information, telephone numbers, and similar information for individual customers — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.10 (D)
- Market research and plans made/conducted by the Oklahoma Medical Center if the disclosure would give an unfair advantage to competitors — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.10a
- Library, archive, and museum materials donated by an individual who wishes to remain anonymous — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.11 (A)
- Any information needed as a condition of the donation except the date it was donated — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.11 (B)
- Litigation files and investigatory records of the Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma and other attorneys authorized by law — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.12
- Records received by the federal government or those gathered due to federal legislation unless otherwise stated by the federal law — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.13
- Non-complaining personal communications received by the public official under the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma or Constitution of the United States and the response by the public official to the communication — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.14
- Crop and livestock reports received by the Division of Agricultural Statistics, the Oklahoma Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture if the reports identify individual providers — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.15 (A)
- Financial statements held under theOklahoma Statutes Title 2 § 9-22 by the State Board of Agriculture — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.15 (B) — The records, however, must be given to the Commissioner of Agriculture when requested. If the Commissioner requests, the financial statements can be released to the public.
- All information held by the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education about prospective donors or current donors — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.16a
- Research information that would change the outcome or performance of the research if disclosed — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.19 (1)>
- Terms and conditions of commercial agreements relating to state-owned or state-controlled technology — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.19 (2)
- Records of public utility affiliates, suppliers, and customers which the Commission has determined are trade secrets or confidential held by the Corporation Commission —Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.22 (A)
- Identifiable information of an individual held by the Department of Wildlife Conservation given by the individual to acquire a permit or license — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.23 (A) — This does not apply to those holding a commercial hunting or fishing license nor does it apply to information provided by people for promotional purposes.
- Investigation records and other confidential notes held by the Office of Juvenile System Oversight — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.24
- Personal identifying information of those involved in cases held by the municipal courts — Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.29 (H) — This does not include information provided to the Oklahoma Tax Commission in order to collect municipal court fees.
Where Can You Obtain Oklahoma Public Records?
As mentioned previously, anybody can file a request to access public records, regardless of whether you are a state resident. The governmental body is not legally allowed to request a statement of purpose from you when you send the request. Under the Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.5, all records held and maintained by public bodies and officials are to be open to public inspection, copying, and reproduction during standard business hours.
You can obtain Oklahoma public records from the public body or agency that keeps the records. Each agency has its own Open Records Request form that you will need to fill out and send to the relevant office. In the table below, you can find some links to the correct forms of several state agencies. If you wish to request a public record with an agency not found here, you can contact the specific agency to request their form.
Oklahoma State AgencyOpen Records Request Form Link ; Contact Information
|Office of the Attorney General||Open Records Act Request Form|
Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General
Abby Dillsaver, General Counsel to the Attorney General
313 N.E. 21st St
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
t: (405) 522-4400
f: (405) 522-0669
|State Department of Education||OSDE Open Records Request Form|
Check whether your requested record is already published here
|State Department of Health||OSDH Open Records Request Form|
Oklahoma State Department of Health
123 Roberts S. Kerr Ave., Ste. 1702
Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6406
t: (405) 426-8000
e: contact us form
|Office of Management and Enterprise Services||OMES Open Records Request Online Form|
|Department of Labor||Department of Labor Open Records Request Form|
|Department of Human Services||OKDHS Open Records Request Form|
Oklahoma Department of Human Services
2400 N Lincoln Boulevard</
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
|Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision||Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision Open Records Request Form|
Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision
ATTN: Licensing Department
101 NE 51st St
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-1821
f: (405) 962-1440
t: (405) 962-1400
|Insurance Department||Insurance Department Open Records Request Form|
Oklahoma Insurance Department
400 NE 50th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
t: (405) 521-2828
f: (405) 521-6635<
|Corporation Commission||Corporation Commission Open Records Request Form|
Oklahoma Corporation Commission – Office of Public Information
Jim Thorpe State Office Building – Room 311 – C
2101 N Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
t: (405) 521-4180
|Workers’ Compensation Commission||Workers’ Compensation Commission Open Records Request Form|
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission
1915 North Stiles Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
t: (405) 522-8784
f: (405) 522-3256
Are There Any Fees Associated with Making a Public Record Request in Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma Statutes Title 51 § 51-24A.5 (3) stipulates that the cost for obtaining records for individuals may be assessed for each requested record or a portion of the requested record group. In other situations, public agencies are only legally able to charge a fee for the actual and necessary costs of mechanical reproduction or hard copying.
The same statute subsection states that in no circumstances will the copying fee go beyond $0.25 per page when the record has a dimension of 8 ½ inches by 14 inches or smaller. With that said, if the copied page is a certified copy, the fee can be up to but no more than $1.00.
If the request is for commercial use or would cause overt disruption of essential parts of the public agency, the entity can charge a fee that covers the copy and search time.
The Oklahoma agencies that set out fees under this section of Title 51 will need to ensure the county clerk at the corresponding principal office has a written copy to refer to.
If the disclosure of the public record is within the public interest, the statute § 51.24A.5 (3)states that no fee should be charged. This includes releasing records to:
- News outlets
- Taxpayers who wish to figure out whether those handling affairs of the government are competent
Oklahoma Court Records
How do Oklahoma courts work? Take a look at the function and structure below.
The Oklahoma court system consists of the following:
- Supreme Court — This court hears civil cases, challenges to laws, and any constitution changes. It has nine justices who are voted in every 6 years.
- Court of Criminal Appeals — This court hears criminal case appeals. It has 5 judges who are voted in every 6 years with the Supreme Court justices.
- Court of Civil Appeals — This court hears civil cases.
- 77 District Courts (one for every county) and courts of limited jurisdiction. — The District Courts hear most cases including civil and criminal, while courts of limited jurisdiction are often municipal courts and other that deal with specific types of cases.
Oklahoma is one of the only states that has two courts of last resort (Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals).
The state is organized into 26 judicial districts that are as follows:
Judicial DistrictCounties Within the Judicial District
|1||Cimarron, Texas, harper, and Beaver|
|2||Beckham, Ellis, Roger Mills, Custer, and Washita|
|3||Greer, Jackson, Kiowa, Tillman, and Harmon|
|4||Alfalfa, Dewey, Blaine, Grant, Garfield, Major, Woods, Kingfisher, and Woodward|
|5||Cotton, Jefferson, Stephens, and Comanche|
|6>||Caddo and Grady|
|8||Noble and Kay|
|9||Payne and Logan|
|11<||Nowata and Washington|
|12||Rogers, Craig, and Mayes|
|13||Ottawa and Delaware|
|14||Pawnee and Tulsa|
|15||Cherokee, Muskogee, Adair, Sequoyah, and Wagoner|
|16||Latimer, Le Flore, and Haskell|
|17||McCurtain, Choctaw, and Pushmataha|
|18||Pittsburg and Mcintosh|
|20||Johnston, Love, Murray, Carter, and Marshall|
|21||Cleveland, Mcclain, and Garvin|
|22||Pontotoc, Seminole, and Hughes|
|23||Lincoln and Pottawatomie|
|24||Okmulgee, Okfuskee, and Creek|
|25||Coal and Atoka|
Are Court Records Public Information in Oklahoma?
Yes, court records are public information in Oklahoma. This includes state, criminal, appellate, and civil cases. Some can even be accessed free of charge.
Most court records provide a lot of information and typically come with various documents inside the case file. Among other things, you will find the following factors on a court record:
- Any case files
- Orders of the court
- Court minutes
- Witness statements and other documentation
- Jury records and the files used by the jury
- Judgment documents
Where Can You Receive Copies of Court Records in Oklahoma?
You can access court records online by using the Oklahoma State Courts Network. This is a searchable database that includes all records held within the state. Once you’ve arrived on the website, you can search by the court name, individual’s name, or by the case number.
It’s worth noting that databases like this one aren’t always up to date when you need them to be. So, if you can’t find the right records, you can use one of the contacts listed on the page to track it down.
If you are looking for criminal and civil trials, you need to get in touch with the county’s district court where the case is held. If you’re after appeals, contact the clerk’s office at the Supreme Court. For other matters, the administrative office of the specific court should be able to help.
At times, you might have to submit a Request for Court Records form. Here’s how it works:
- Submit the form electronically.
- Wait to be contacted to cement fees. Typically, this happens within 10 working days.
- Pay the fee via money order or cashier’s check.
- Once the agency receives the payment, you must allow 10 working days for them to furnish your request.
Oklahoma Criminal Records
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation holds all criminal history information in the state. This repository is where all records relating to the criminal environment are held.
A criminal record is a detailed report of an individual’s interactions with law enforcement officers and detention centers. It is compiled based on several sources and also includes convictions, incarcerations from the 9 state prisons, and any arrests.
Specifically, you will find the following information on a criminal record in the state of Oklahoma:
- Personal information including the individual’s name, nationality, height, and date of birth
- Personal identifiers including tattoos, scars, birthmarks, and piercings
- Description of the crime(s)
- Type of offense (misdemeanor or felony)
How to Search for Criminal History Records in Oklahoma?
You can access criminal history records by sending the Criminal History Request Formto the OSBI at the following address:
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
6600 N. Harvey
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
Or by fax to:
You will have to pay $15.00 for a name-based search and $19.00 for a fingerprint-based search as per theOklahoma Statutes Title 74 § 150.9.
The quickest way to access these records, however, is to use the newCriminal History Information Request Portal online. You must search by the subject’s first name, last name, and date of birth. With that said, you do not need to know the exact date as the system will search 3 years before and after the given date to find matches. To make the search extra accurate, you can include the following information too:
- Social security numbers
- Previous names
- Nicknames and other aliases
How Long Does a Criminal History Record Check Take in Oklahoma?>
If you submit your record check request by mail, it will take between 1 and 3 weeks from the date your request was received, regardless of the complexity of your request.
If you took the relevant form to the Bureau yourself, you will only need to wait around 10 to 15 minutes for the results. And of course, if you conduct an online search, it’s a matter of moments.
For those doing fingerprint-based searches (regardless of method), you will need to wait 5 days for the records.
How Long Does Arrest Information Stay on Your Oklahoma Record?
In Oklahoma, arrest information can stay on your record indefinitely unless it is expunged. However, you must actively apply for expungement if you would like your record cleared.
The state has no pre-approval process, and you are only eligible in certain situations. Not to mention that, even if you are deemed eligible, this does not ensure your case will be expunged (i.e., removed) from your record.
The Oklahoma Statutes Title 22 § 22-18 sets out the circumstances in which you are allowed to file for expungement. You must meet one of the following criteria before being eligible:
- You have been acquitted
- Your conviction was reversed to be dismissed by an appellate court
- The district attorney dismissed your charge
- You were deemed innocent by DNA evidence after the conviction
- You received a pardon due to the Governor finding you innocent for the crime you were sentenced for
- You were arrested and never charged
- You were under 18 years old at the time of the offense, and you’ve received a full pardon
- All your charges were dismissed, you have no pending felony charges, and you have never before been convicted of a felony
- Your misdemeanor charge was dismissed after successful completion of a delayed sentence or deferred judgment
- You were charged with a nonviolent felony and the charge was dismissed
- 10 years have passed since the end of your last misdemeanor sentence
- You were convicted of a nonviolent felony and at least 15 years have passed since you were convicted of any misdemeanors
Can You Challenge Your Criminal History Information in Oklahoma?
You can challenge your criminal history information in Oklahoma if you feel that it is wrong. To do so, you will have to contact the courthouse or police department that arrested you or dealt initially with your case. Once they have received your request, they will contact the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation with their verdict.
If you have charges filed against you and need to update your record, you should send the necessary documents to the following address:
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
ATTN: CDC & A Unit
6600 N. Harvey
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
6600 N. Harvey
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
Oklahoma Warrant Records
Warrant records are searchable by the general public in Oklahoma. However, you may be denied access to certain warrant records if they are currently being used in an ongoing investigation. Sometimes, records will also be closed by a court order to ensure public safety.
These records are given to law enforcement staff by magistrates or judges allowing them to arrest or apprehend a person of a suspected crime. Search warrants are also available which allow officers to search and seize somebody’s property from their home, car, workplace, or other predetermined location.
How to Search for Oklahoma Warrant Records?
Searching for warrant records in Oklahoma is incredibly easy. All you need to do is head to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office Warrants Search online database and type in the person’s first and last name.
Once you have navigated to the website, you can find the phone number for the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the web. This number can also be used for sharing any information you have about those with active warrants.
What Is the Difference Between an Arrest Warrant and an Arrest Record?
The difference is as follows:
- Arrest record: A document that is created after apprehension or an arrest has happened. It is made by the officer who conducted the arrest or apprehension.
- Arrest warrant: A document issued by a magistrate, judge, or grand jury that permits law enforcement officers to arrest an individual (not a group) of an alleged/suspected crime.
Oklahoma Arrest Records
We’ve compiled an overview of the Oklahoma arrest and crime statistics based on FBI reports:
- In 2019, law enforcement agencies reported a total of 126,305 index crimes (i.e., rape, murder, larceny, motor vehicle theft, aggravated assault, etc.). This was a decrease of 2.18% from 2018.
- The number of murders increased in 2019 from 2018 to 249, an 18.6% increase.
- There were 107,518 arrests made in 2019, displaying a 1.2% decrease from the previous year. 8% of these arrests (8,627 in total) were juveniles (i.e., under the age of 18).
- Alcohol-related offenses accounted for 4.1% of all juvenile arrests.
What Do Arrest Records in Oklahoma Show?
Arrest records in Oklahoma show the following:
- Sex offender information (if applicable)
- Parole and/or probation history
- DUI convictions
- Active warrants (if applicable)
What Is the Difference Between a Criminal Record and an Arrest Record?
An arrest record is created by the arresting officer after they have arrested or apprehended an individual. A criminal record, on the other hand, is a comprehensive look at the individual’s criminal history (including arrests, convictions, and other information).
What Does a Public Arrest Record Include in Oklahoma?
Generally, Oklahoma public arrest records will show the following:
- Personal information — name, birthdate, phone number, address
- Physical description — height, weight, sex, race, hair color
- Personal identifiers — tattoos, birthmarks, scars
- Location/date of arrest
- Criminal charges
- Crime classification
- Incident description — chronological account, witness document, victim statement
- Police interrogation details
- Court date
Who Can Access Arrest Records in Oklahoma?
Anyone can access arrest records in Oklahoma unless they are exempt under federal law, are being used in an ongoing investigation, or would strip somebody of their right to a fair trial.
How to Search for Arrest Records in Oklahoma?
You can search for arrest records by contacting your local law enforcement agency or courthouse. It’s always best to get in touch with the agency that handled the apprehension/arrest.
Oklahoma Inmate Records
The ODOC (Oklahoma Department of Corrections) handles the records of the state’s prison system. It deals with the management and security of over 12 incarceration and detention establishments.
What’s on an Inmate Record?
You will find the following on an inmate record:
- Inmate location
- Personal information — name, gender, birthdate
- Inmate registration number>
- Custody status
- Jail transfer information
Where Can Oklahoma Inmate Records be Accessed?
You can access inmate records online by going to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections online portal. From here, you can search by entering somebody’s inmate number, first name, or last name. It also allows you to download the information you find.