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Michigan Court Records

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Are Criminal Records Public In Michigan?

Pursuant to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, criminal records are accessible to the public for inspection and copying. In most cases, basic criminal records are available to the public, while detailed and complete records may be accessed by the record’s subject or other authorized agencies.

Note that criminal records that have been expunged are not accessible to the public. Michigan criminal records are maintained by the Michigan State Police (MSP). Criminal records may also be obtained from state and municipal bodies such as courts and local law enforcement agencies. Nominal fees may apply to obtain criminal records in Michigan.

What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Michigan?

A Michigan criminal record, otherwise known as a rap sheet, is an official document containing the details of an individual’s criminal activities as collated by local and state law enforcement agencies, courts, and correctional facilities. Generally, a criminal record is a summary of an individual’s arrests, indictments, dispositions, and convictions.

A Michigan criminal record includes the following:

  • Subject’s full names and known aliases
  • Biographical data such as gender, race, and age
  • Fingerprints
  • Mugshots
  • Details of past and current arrests, offenses, indictments, and convictions
  • Specific physical descriptors such as hair color, eye colors, and tattoos
  • Past and present warrants
  • Incarceration and bond details
  • Probation records

How To Look Up My Criminal Records In Michigan?

Under the Michigan Public Act, 319 of 1968, which provides for uniform crime reporting, all law enforcement agencies and courts in Michigan must submit crime reports to the State Police. The MSP has a central repository called the Criminal Justice Information Center (CJIC), which maintains the records submitted by the various local agencies.

Persons seeking to obtain criminal records are required to follow these guidelines, as stated by the Michigan CJIC:

  • Visit a local Michigan law enforcement agency to have fingerprints taken. Ensure to visit any of the agencies with a valid photo-ID and have fingerprints taken on a Michigan Application Fingerprint Card (RI–008).
  • Complete the card in its entirety
  • Individuals who are not Michigan residents may obtain a fingerprint set on an FBI Applicant Fingerprint Card (FD–258). Make sure to indicate “Michigan Record Check” in the block where “Reason Fingerprinted” is.
  • Include a cover letter identifying the reason for the criminal record request.
  • Provide details of a return address in block F of the fingerprint card. Return information must also include a phone number or e-mail address. The CJIC will only return the records to the requester and not another individual or agency (even if so requested)
  • Completed card and a $30 processing fee in the form of a money order or check made payable to the State of Michigan must be submitted to the MSP.

Mail completed applications to:

Michigan State Police

Cjic

P. O. Box 30266

Lansing, Michigan 48909–7766

Note that if more than one original certified or notarized record is required, there will be an additional fee of $1 each added to the processing fee. Applicants may allow 21–35 days for processing and mail delivery of requested records. The CJIC does not welcome in-person requests.

The process is different in cases where an individual seeks to obtain a criminal record for employment or licensing purposes when fingerprints are required by law. In such cases, requesters are to follow these procedures:

  • Obtain a live scan fingerprint request from the employer or licensing agency
  • Completed sections II and IV of the request form
  • Contact a Michigan-authorized live scan vendor.
  • Pay applicable fees to the live scan vendor and any other additional service fees.

Note that other live scan sites may be available through the local police departments and sheriffs’ offices. As identified by the agency ID number, responses will be returned to requesters, usually within seven business days.

How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In Michigan?

The Michigan State Police does not provide a waiver for persons seeking to obtain official or certified criminal records from the CJIC. However, the MSP allows indigent citizens to search criminal records online through the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT)..

To enjoy the privilege, persons must submit a sworn statement explaining why they can’t afford the standard $10 fee required to conduct a name-based search on the ICHAT. The sworn statement is expected to be signed in front of a notary. Requesters may access notaries at various places, including banks or credit unions. Note that some notaries may charge nominal fees while others waive application fees for persons that have accounts with their bank or union. Requesters must also submit an FOIA request along with completed Request for Public Records and Affidavit of Indigency forms.

Michigan citizens are not eligible to use the Affidavit of Indigency form if they have previously received discounted copies of a public record under MCL 15.234 from the MSP twice during the same calendar year. An individual also becomes ineligible to access the waiver if the request for information is in conjunction with other parties offering or providing payment or any other form of remuneration to the individual to make the request.

Completed forms must be sent to:

Michigan State Police

Records Resource Section

PO Box 30634

Lansing, MI 48909

How To Search Criminal Records Online In Michigan?

Individuals may access criminal records online without having to provide a fingerprint. The Michigan government provides an online public resource to conduct name-based criminal records check through the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT)..

Requesters can follow these procedures to obtain a criminal record online through ICHAT:

  • Visit the ICHAT online portal.
  • Register on the portal with an e-mail address, name, and address.
  • Select the “Search for Criminal History” link to conduct a search
  • Each search costs $10 and is payable with a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit or debit card.
  • On the resulting search page, provide the name, date of birth, and gender of the subject.
  • Select the subject’s last name from the resulting search listing to view conviction record

Criminal records of sex-offenders may also be accessed through the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry (PSOR). The Sex Offenders Registration Act mandates the MSP to develop and maintain a public database and provide public access to the database. To access criminal records through the Michigan PSOR:

  • Visit the PSOR portal.
  • Provide the offender’s name or city of residence by selecting the name or city section on the portal.
  • Select the name of the offender to view more details of criminal sex records.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a 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 the 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 Get Criminal Records Expunged In Michigan?

Under the Michigan expungement law MCL 780.621, individuals with certain criminal records may be able to have such records expunged if certain rules on eligibility and other legal requirements are met. Michigan expungement is a complicated, multi-step process, and not every person who petitions qualify. Hence, the first step in filing an expungement petition is to ascertain that all legal requirements are met.

More properly termed “Motion to Set Aside a Conviction” in Michigan, expungement in the state will result in an elimination of the arrest and convictions from an individual’s public criminal record, meaning the convictions will no longer be disclosed in criminal background checks. Note that this does not imply that the record no longer exists as it is still accessible under certain circumstances.

Previously in Michigan, individuals could only have a conviction expunged if they had no more than one conviction and an additional two minor offenses. However, a recent change to the state expungement law permits persons to petition to set aside one felony conviction if they have no more than one felony and no more than two misdemeanors. Also, the recent change permits persons to petition to expunge one or two misdemeanors if they have been convicted of no more than two misdemeanors and no felonies.

Certain convictions are not permitted to be set aside in Michigan. These convictions include:

  • Child abuse in the second-degree
  • Third-degree criminal sexual conduct
  • Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction that occurred after January 12, 2015
  • Kidnapping
  • Terrorism offenses
  • Human-trafficking offenses
  • Production or possession of child pornography
  • Assault with an intention to commit criminal sexual conduct
  • Traffic offenses including driving while intoxicated
  • A felony or an attempt to commit a felony for which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment
  • A conviction for domestic violence (felony) if the offender has a previous misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence.

Note that persons who were convicted for fourth-degree sexual conduct may be eligible to petition for expungement if they have no more than two offenses defined as minors by Michigan law. Offenses that involve fines and those committed before the age of 21 are usually considered minor in the state. Eligibility criteria for expungement in Michigan also include a five-year waiting period for applicants before filing an application. The five-year waiting period is counted from the fulfillment of sentence: completion of probation, discharge from parole, or incarceration time. Michigan law does not permit persons who have had petitions to set aside a conviction denied to file for another petition until after three years.

To file a petition to set aside a conviction, follow the steps below:

  • Conduct a personal criminal background check on ICHAT. Checks cost $10 and allow a person to save and print a copy. Note that records for juvenile cases for which the final adjudication is not on file with the Department of State Police will come up in ICHAT search results.
  • Review eligibility guidelines and criteria as stipulated in MCL 712A.18e (juvenile offense) or MCL 780.621 (adult offense)
  • Obtain and complete an application to set aside an adult or juvenile conviction from the court where the conviction occurred. In addition, obtain a certified copy of the judgment of sentence, probation order, or register of actions. Form MC227 is for adult convictions, while Form JC66 is for juvenile convictions.
  • Get the application notarized. Applicants are advised not to sign the form until they appear in front of a notary or a court clerk.
  • Make four copies of the certified record of conviction and the notarized application.
  • Obtain and complete a Michigan Applicant Fingerprint card (RI–008) from a Michigan law enforcement agency. Ensure to fill the card in its entirety
  • Submit the fingerprint card, application form, certified copy of the judgment of sentence, probation order, or register of actions, and the processing fee. There is a processing fee of $50 for adult conviction or $25 for juvenile convictions attached to the application. The processing fee is payable by money order or a check made to the State of Michigan. Persons petitioning for expungements in multiple courts are required to provide additional fingerprints and pay extra fees.
  • Mail the information in the step above to:

Michigan State Police

Cjic

P. O. Box 30266

Lansing, Michigan 48909–7766

  • File the application in the court where the conviction occurred. Filing may be done in person or by mail.
  • Submit a copy of the application and conviction record by mail to the Michigan Attorney General.
  • Submit a copy of the application and conviction record by mail to the prosecutor who handled the original case.

The entire expungement process may take several months to conclude. To delete a criminal record from the database maintained by the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), the MDOC must receive a “TRUE COPY” of the expungement directly from the presiding court.

Who Can See My Expunged Criminal Records In Michigan?

The expungement of a conviction in Michigan does not mean that the record of the has been physically destroyed or permanently removed from an individual’s criminal history. Expungement only ensures that the record of the conviction is not accessible to the public and does not show up in public criminal record searches. However, the record may still be accessed in certain circumstances.

Certain government agencies such as law enforcement agencies and criminal courts may still access expunged criminal acts or convictions of an individual. Also, if a person is arrested after setting aside a conviction, law enforcement agencies may yet access previously expunged convictions. As expunged convictions are still on file within the Michigan court system and with the MSP, the courts will be able to find the non-public section’s file and may take it under consideration when weighing the new case.

Note that persons who have had their convictions set aside are under no obligation to reveal a previous conviction when filling out an employment application.

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