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Michigan Court Records

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What are Michigan Juvenile Court Records?

The Michigan juvenile court is part of the family court. The juvenile court addresses cases of juveniles charged with status offenses such as curfew violations, truancy, and running away from home; or criminal offenses. In Michigan, a juvenile is any child under 17 years old. Law enforcement agents or private individuals may file a complaint against a juvenile, after which the juvenile must appear in court for an initial hearing.

The juvenile court judge may refer the juvenile to court supervision or counseling under the Juvenile Diversion Act. The judge may also dismiss the case or allow the case to proceed to trial. If the case proceeds to trial, and the court finds the juvenile guilty, the judge will enter a disposition. The court may require the juvenile to:

  • Take anger management classes.
  • Do community service
  • Live in a juvenile facility.
  • Be placed in foster care.
  • Pay restitution to the victim
  • Participate in anger management or drug treatment classes

According to the Michigan Juvenile Waiver Act, the state may charge juveniles who are 14 and older to the adult criminal court if the juveniles commit a felony crime.

What Information is Contained in a Michigan Juvenile Record?

Juvenile records in Michigan contain information about juvenile case processes. Juvenile records include complaints, summons, orders, evaluation results, reports, child welfare information, opinions, findings, case status, and disposition. In Michigan, under MCL § 712A.28, juvenile records are public and are accessible to anyone upon request. However, records of juvenile diversion are exempted from public access. Only authorized persons may access Michigan juvenile diversion records.

What Cases are Heard by Michigan Juvenile Courts?

As provided by MCL § 712A.2, the Michigan juvenile court has exclusive jurisdiction over cases of:

  • Municipal ordinance violation by juveniles
  • Civil infractions
  • Specified juvenile violations
  • Truancy
  • Absence from school
  • Repeated disobedience to parents’ or guardians’ reasonable and lawful commands
  • Abandonment and neglect
  • Juvenile dependency
  • Delinquency

When a juvenile under 17 commits a criminal offense in Michigan, the juvenile court must immediately transfer the juvenile to the Superior Court’s Family Division. However, if a juvenile who is 14 years of age or older is charged with a felony, the juvenile must be tried in an adult criminal court. In some cases, the juvenile court has extended or continuing jurisdiction over juveniles. For example, for juveniles who violate the Michigan Vehicle Code, the court jurisdiction extends for two (2) years beyond Michigan’s maximum jurisdiction age or until the court ends the jurisdiction. Additionally, the court has jurisdiction and may issue orders to adults where it concerns a juvenile’s mental, moral, or physical well being.

Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Michigan?

According to MCL § 712A.28, juvenile records are public, and any member of the general public may inspect or access the records. To view juvenile records, interested parties may contact the Clerk of Court in the county where the juvenile court heard the juvenile’s case. Juvenile Diversion records, however, are not public. According to the Juvenile Diversion Act, the court must keep a diversion record separate from the juvenile’s other court records. Only authorized persons with a court order may access juvenile diversion records. Authorized persons include:

  • Persons with a legitimate interest
  • Law enforcement agencies, to aid diversion decisions
  • Court intake workers, to aid diversion considerations

The court destroys juvenile diversion records within 28 days after the juvenile turns 18.

How to Find Juvenile Records in Michigan

Parties interested in finding Michigan juvenile records must contact the Court Clerk in the county where the juvenile lives or where the court heard the juvenile’s case. Court Clerks maintain and distribute court records. Interested parties may inspect juvenile records at no charge; however, the court may charge copy production fees.

Juvenile diversion records are not public and are only accessible by court order to persons with legitimate interests.

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 person resides in or was accused in.

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

Can you Lookup Michigan Juvenile Records Online?

Michigan courts and counties offer access to criminal history records online. However, since juvenile records are not criminal records, juvenile records are not available through the court’s online record search and request portals. Interested parties must make records requests in person at the County Court Clerk’s office or submit written requests to the Court Clerk’s office. Record lookup or inspection is free; however, copy production is not. The Clerk may require parties to pay fees set by the court and by state laws.

Do Michigan Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?

Yes, Michigan juvenile records show up on background checks. In Michigan, juvenile records are public records. Juvenile records are visible to employers, landlords, and academic institutions; this means that having a juvenile record can keep a person from enjoying certain opportunities and benefits. Juvenile Diversion records are sealed and are only accessible by court order; therefore, juvenile diversion records do not show up on background checks.

Parties with juvenile records may file a petition to the court to have the record sealed or expunged. When the court orders a record sealed, the record will no longer be publicly available. Only authorized persons may access sealed records. Sealing also keeps court records from showing up on background checks. To qualify for sealing or expungement, the juvenile must meet the following requirements:

  • The petitioner must be at least 18 years old.
  • At least one year must have passed since the court released the juvenile from custody or detention or after the case disposition.
  • Have records of no more than three (3) offenses, out of which only one (1) may be a felony
  • Have records of no more than three (3) misdemeanor offenses

The following juvenile records are not eligible for setting aside:

  • Records of felony offenses punishable by life imprisonment
  • Records of offenses that involve assault with a weapon
  • Records of misdemeanor or felony violations of the Michigan Vehicle Code

Interested parties may file a petition with the court where the case was heard to have eligible juvenile records set aside.

How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Michigan?

The court automatically destroys juvenile diversion records no more than 28 days after the juvenile turns 18. Additionally, law enforcement agencies automatically destroy arrest and fingerprint records for juveniles whom the court does not find guilty or who have filed petitions dismissed. Michigan does not automatically set aside other juvenile records; such records are publicly accessible until the court orders the record set aside.

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