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Michigan Court Records

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Michigan Arrest Records

An arrest is typically an individual's first interaction with the Michigan criminal justice system. It involves the temporary detainment of an individual by a law enforcement agency following alleged criminal involvement. After an arrest, the arrestee is booked and held in a local jail until their scheduled arraignment. However, depending on the alleged offense, an arrestee may be offered the option to post bail and reappear on their scheduled arraignment date.  

After conducting an arrest and booking the arrestee, the arresting agency compiles information about the arrestee and the incidents surrounding the arrest. The agency maintains this information as arrest records and reports and provides these records to other criminal justice agencies, particularly courts, when needed. 

The significance of arrest records lies in the wealth of information they contain. The typical information found in Michigan arrest records includes the arrestee's name, arrest information (i.e., date, time, and arrest location), and the alleged offense. When relevant, the name of an arrestee's detention facility may also be included in an arrest record. This information is particularly beneficial for an arrestee's friends and family members who may wish to visit them while in custody.

According to the Michigan Incident Crime Reporting (MICR) 2022 Annual Report, 161,384 individuals were arrested in Michigan in 2022 (from January 1 to December 31, 2022). Of this number, 72.5% (117,069) were male, and 27.5% (44,315) were female. Meanwhile, obstructing justice (33,181 arrests), non-aggravated assault (25,585 arrests), and operating under the influence of drugs (20,850 arrests) are among the most common offenses among offenders in 2022.

Are Arrest Records Public in Michigan?

Yes. Under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (MCL § 15.231), everyone has the right to access information on public agencies performing their statutory functions or the general operation of the government. As a result, interested parties may access arrest records held by Michigan's law enforcement agencies. The only individuals denied FOIA rights in Michigan are those detained in a local or state correctional facility. 

Additionally, MCL § 15.243 outlines several exemptions to the FOIA. By implication, public bodies can conceal or redact information and records subject to the statute. Such records are only released to qualifying individuals or entities or pursuant to a valid court order.

Some examples of arrest record information exempt from public disclosure per Michigan's FOIA MCL § 15.243 include:

  • Records that may interfere with law enforcement proceedings;
  • Records that may deprive an individual of having a fair trial or impartial administrative adjudication;
  • Records whose release would constitute an unwarranted invasion of an individual's privacy;
  • Records that disclose the identity of confidential sources or information;
  • Records whose disclosure may endanger the life or safety of law enforcement personnel;
  • Information or records that disclose an individual's Social Security Number (SSN).

What is Included in Michigan Arrest Records?

Michigan arrest records typically consist of the following components:

  • The arrestee's personal information: This includes the arrestee's full name and date of birth.
  • The arrestee's personal identifiers: Such as their age, gender, height, weight, eye colour, hair colour, and race.
  • Arrest information: Including the time, date, and location of the arrest, as well as the arresting agency details.
  • Booking information: This includes the time and date the arrestee was booked as well as the specifics of the booking facility. The bond type, amount, and the arrestee's release date may also be provided if applicable.
  • The type of offence the arrestee committed (felony, misdemeanour, or infraction), its description, and, if applicable, any associated criminal charges.

Find Public Arrest Records in Michigan

In Michigan, interested persons can find and obtain public arrest records locally through county sheriff's offices and municipal police departments. These law enforcement agencies usually provide different channels through which record seekers can request public records they maintain. Regardless of the law enforcement agency, inquirers can find and request public arrest records in Michigan by following these steps:  

  • Ascertain the arresting agency: Local law enforcement agencies only generate and maintain records for arrests they conduct. As a result, record seekers must first ascertain the appropriate law enforcement agency with their desired record to direct an inquiry for a Michigan arrest record properly.  
  • Deduce the agency's record-request processes and fees: Most local law enforcement agencies in Michigan provide information on the general procedures and accompanying fees for requesting records they maintain on their official website. This information is usually provided on an agency's record division/unit page. An example is the Traverse City Police Department Central Records page. When such information is unavailable online, individuals may contact the agency through their non-emergency phone line or visit the agency's front lobby to make their inquiries. 

Submit the request: A local Michigan law enforcement agency may accept requests for public arrest records it maintains via phone, mail, email, fax, in-person, or online, depending on its record-request procedures. Requesters must supply the identifying information of the subject of the sought-after record. This includes the subject's name and the date of arrest to facilitate their search, regardless of the manner of request an agency accepts. Furthermore, some agencies may require requesters to provide their personal information and identification when requesting records. Agencies that accept record requests by phone typically maintain a dedicated phone number inquirers can call to make a request.

An example is the Midland County Sheriff's Office records personnel phone line (989-839-4600). Where in-person requests are allowed, inquirers can visit the agency's physical address during business hours to make their request. Note that some agencies, such as the Kent County Sheriff's Office, do not accept walk-in requests and solely operate on an appointment basis. Meanwhile, agencies that accept online requests typically provide FOIA portals or online forms inquirers can use to submit their requests. In most cases, users are required to register an account on the portal to access its services. Some examples include the Ottawa County FOIA portal, the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office FOIA online request form, and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office FOIA portal

Michigan law enforcement agencies are permitted to charge a fee for searching public records and providing copies of such documents, as per MCL § 15.234. These fees differ across local agencies.

Interested persons can also conduct a statewide search for arrest records by requesting a criminal history background check on a subject through the Michigan State Police Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT). However, this search would only uncover misdemeanor or felony arrests an individual has in Michigan. Additionally, users are required to register an account and are charged a fee to use ICHAT.  

As previously stated, certain arrest records are exempt from the provisions of the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As a result, the custodians of these records have the right to refuse requests for such records. However, it may be possible to access these records by submitting a subpoena to the custodian.   

A subpoena is a court order that directs its intended recipient to perform a specific task, such as appearing in court, testifying at a judicial proceeding, or producing copies of protected records. A subpoena can be requested in Michigan by completing the MC 11 form, filing with a court with appropriate jurisdiction, and paying the necessary filing fees. Note that a Michigan court would only issue a subpoena if there is reasonable cause. After obtaining a subpoena for protected arrest records, it is served to the appropriate law enforcement agency to get the desired arrest record. 

How to Lookup Arrest Records Online in Michigan

Michigan arrest records are accessible online through resources provided by Michigan law enforcement agencies and third-party service providers. The ICHAT portal provided by the Michigan State Police can also be used to look up Michigan arrest records online. These records include arrest records generated by the Michigan State Police and those reported by local law enforcement agencies. However, only misdemeanour and felony arrests are reported on ICHAT. Some local Michigan law enforcement agencies, such as the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office and Jackson County Sheriff's Office, also provide online portals inquirers can use to request arrest records they maintain.

Online tools are also provided through certain third-party websites to access Michigan arrest records online for a fee. Users typically need to provide a subject full name and select a U.S. state or city (optional) to conduct a search with these tools. However, the accuracy of search results provided by third-party websites is usually not guaranteed. 

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record in Michigan

Michigan's Retention and Disposal Schedules specify the duration for which law enforcement agencies must retain arrest records. These durations vary depending on the kind of arrest record and the data it contains. These schedules identify records maintained by government agencies in the state and specify how long these agencies must maintain those records to satisfy administrative, financial, legal, and historical requirements. They also stipulate whether arrest records should be destroyed after their required retention period.   

According to Michigan's General Schedule for Local Law enforcement, arrest log data are retained for five (5) years and then destroyed. Meanwhile, arrest records on non-criminal incidents must be retained for three (3) years after the closure of the incident file and then destroyed. The Schedule further mandates that arrest records on misdemeanour incidents be maintained on file for seven (7) years after the incident file closes, and the arrestee no longer has any open warrant before being destroyed. On the other hand, arrest records that detail felony incidents must be retained for 20 years after the incident's case file closes and the arrestee has no active warrant and then destroyed. Lastly, arrest records on homicide and criminal sexual conduct incidents are also retained until their incident's case file closes and the arrestee has no active warrant but for a significantly longer time (110 years). 

Meanwhile, juvenile offenders are provided a clean slate after their 17th birthday. This is because a juvenile's arrest record is typically removed after the subject's 17th birthday. However, Michigan's General Schedule for Local Law enforcement only applies to local law enforcement agencies, like county sheriff's offices, county jail divisions, and municipal police departments. 

Expunge an Arrest Record in Michigan

In Michigan, arrest records whose charges have been dismissed or acquitted are automatically expunged from an individual's public criminal records. However, if an arrest results in a conviction, it may qualify for expungement under Michigan Public Act 193 of 2020 or MCL 780.621

The Michigan Public Act 193 of 2020 requires the automatic expungement of convictions that meet certain criteria and their associated records, including arrest records, after a specified waiting period. These convictions and their associated waiting period include:

  • Any misdemeanour offense punishable by less than 92 days imprisonment ( 7 years waiting period);
  • A maximum of four "4" misdemeanours punishable by 93 days or more imprisonment (7 years waiting period);
  • A maximum of two "2" felonies (10 years waiting period).

Meanwhile, individuals can petition a court with appropriate jurisdiction under MCL 780.621 for an expungement order for certain eligible convictions. MCL 780.621c highlights convictions that cannot be expunged. Some of these include:

  • Convictions for child sexually abusive material or activity offences
  • Offences related to human trafficking 
  • Certain traffic offences 
  • Certain felony domestic violence offences
  • 2nd-degree child abuse. 
  • 2nd-degree criminal sexual conduct

Interested parties may fill out form MC 227 or form MC 227a (for misdemeanour marijuana convictions) and file it with a court with appropriate jurisdiction to request an expungement order for an eligible conviction in Michigan. However, there is no fee for filing an expungement application; the entire expungement process can take up to 8 months. Interested persons can visit Michigan's Attorney General's expungement assistance webpage for more information about the record expungement process in Michigan. 

How Do I Find Recent Arrests in Michigan?

Some local Michigan law enforcement agencies, including county sheriff's offices and municipal police departments, provide information about recent arrests they conducted on their website. Some examples include the Lansing Police Department Public Arrest Report page and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office arrest page.

Are Michigan Arrest Records Free?

Yes. Interested persons can access Michigan arrest records for free through websites of local Michigan law enforcement agencies that publish information about their most recent arrests online. However, only basic information about arrests are typically published on such websites. To obtain more detailed arrest records, a record seeker must submit an arrest record request to a law enforcement agency or third-party site - however, in either case, requests are not processed for free.

Michigan Arrest Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
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  • Probate Records
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  • Death Records
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  • And More!