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Michigan Court Records

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Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records in Michigan

In Michigan, criminal records can be sealed or expunged by petitioning the specific court where the case was heard. The judge decides whether a record will be sealed, as long as the petitioner is eligible for sealing or expungement under Michigan state statutes. If a record is sealed, members of the public, employers, and government agencies cannot access or view it.

The Difference Between Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records

In Michigan, sealing criminal records and expungement of criminal records are two different processes with different outcomes. While sealing a record guarantees that the general public cannot access the record, expungement is essentially the destruction of a document so that even law enforcement and courts have no account of it. Under Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 712A.18e, records of selected offenses can be sealed. An adult conviction can be sealed under MCL 780.621, but expungement is only available to those who qualify.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Seal a Criminal Record in Michigan

According to the provisions of MCL 780.621, only persons who have less than two felonies felony conviction or two misdemeanors are eligible to have their records sealed. These records can be expunged after seven years if the party avoids any additional criminal charges. Persons who are victims of selected crimes, such as those charged with prostitution due to human trafficking, are also eligible to have their records sealed. Parties who wish to have a criminal record sealed but not expunged must petition a judge or fill out an online application for sealing the record, also called a Set Aside Conviction Form. Law enforcement and courts will still keep this record, but the public will not have to access it. Although the public cannot see the conviction, it is not entirely erased from the party’s record.

What Crimes Can Be Expunged in Michigan?

Michigan law dictates that the expungement of a criminal conviction record is only available for persons who have one felony offense, except for murder, sexual assault, or traffic violations, or two misdemeanor offenses with no other charges for the following five years. Michigan expungement law states that persons are eligible for expungement of a criminal conviction if:

  • The party has been convicted of three or fewer offenses, with at least two being minor offenses.
  • The conviction being expunged does not have a maximum punishment of life in prison.
  • The conviction was not in violation of MCL 750.145c, 750.145d, 750.520c, 750.520d, 750.520g, or any traffic offenses.
  • At least five years have passed since the offender was sentenced or five years after the offender completes the term of incarceration.

How to Expunge Criminal Records in Michigan

To expunge a criminal record in Michigan, requestors must file an application found on the Michigan court website and submit it to the court clerk. The following information must be provided on the application:

  • A certified copy of the sentencing judgment, judgment of probation, or register of actions
  • A certified statement that the applicant is eligible for expungement
  • A certified statement regarding whether the applicant has filed for expungement before and the outcome of the previous application process
  • A certified statement documenting if the applicant has any pending criminal charges

The application must also be copied and sent to the Michigan State Police, along with two sets of fingerprints and a $50 fee payable to the State of Michigan. Mail these items to:

Michigan State Police, CRD, Identification Section

P. O. Box 30634

Lansing, MI 48909

Another copy must be sent to the Attorney General, at:

Office of the Attorney General, Corrections Division

P. O. Box 30217

Lansing, Michigan 48909

Do Sealed Records Show up In Michigan Background Checks?

No, criminal records that have been successfully sealed in Michigan will not show up in background checks. Only the Michigan court system and Michigan State Police can view and access sealed criminal records. On housing, job, and public benefits applications, parties that have been convicted of a crime but have had that record sealed can state that they have never been convicted or arrested for that crime. However, if the party is convicted of another crime in the future, previously sealed records can be used as a factor in sentencing processes.

Who Can See Sealed Criminal Records in Michigan?

The only entities that can view a sealed criminal record in Michigan are the Michigan courts and Michigan State Police. Under MCL 780.621, sealed records cannot be viewed by the public.

How to Obtain Sealed Records in Michigan

For members of the public to obtain a sealed criminal record in Michigan, they are required to petition the court and obtain a court order or subpoena to view these records. Otherwise, it is possible to access one’s record online, in person, or by mail at the courthouse where the case was finalized. To search for one’s criminal record online, parties can use either name or fingerprints. The Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) can be used to search for sealed criminal records only if those records belong to the requesting party. To inquire about accessing these records by phone, call (517) 332–2521. For in-person requests, parties must visit:

Michigan State Police Headquarters

7150 Harris Drive

Dimondale, Michigan 48821

Or mail a written request to:

Michigan State Police Headquarters

P. O. Box 30634

Lansing, Michigan 48909

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