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Michigan Court Records

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Michigan Warrant Search

A Michigan warrant is a court order authorizing a law enforcement officer to conduct a specific task in conjunction with official judicial proceedings or law enforcement investigations in Michigan. These tasks include performing an arrest and searching an individual's personal property. If there is sufficient evidence that someone has broken an ordinance or reasonable grounds specified in 780.652, a Michigan judge or district court magistrate may issue a warrant. A warrant may also be issued if an individual fails to attend a court hearing or violates a court order. They are primarily issued to protect the executors (usually only peace officers and law enforcement officers) against civil or criminal liability.

Individuals can conduct a Michigan warrant search to discover if there are any active warrants against them in the "Great Lakes state". The information a warrant search reveals often varies depending on the type of warrant. Regardless of the type of warrant, the information a warrant search typically provides includes the warrantee's first name (or alias) and the alleged offense. Additionally, a warrant search may reveal the warrant's issuance date, the warrant jurisdiction, the name of the Michigan judge or district court magistrate who issued the warrant, and the corresponding court case number.  

Interested persons can conduct a warrant search in Michigan through official government channels provided by local courts. Alternatively, a Michigan Warrant search may be conducted through third-party aggregate websites. It is worth noting that criminal history background checks conducted through the Michigan State Police do not include warrant information.

Are Warrants Public Records in Michigan?

Yes. Per the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) (MCL 15.231), public agencies are required by law to reveal certain records they generate to all persons, except incarcerated individuals. Given that warrants are subject to the statute, interested persons can obtain information about Michigan warrants through relevant channels.

However, Michigan statutes such as MCL 12.243 and other applicable statutes outline several exemptions to the FOIA that may restrict the disclosure of warrants. For instance, if disclosing information about a warrant might impede law enforcement proceedings, public agencies may choose to withhold it. Additionally, per MCL 780.651 (9), a search warrant affidavit remains confidential for 56 days after the warrant's issuance. 

Types of Warrants in Michigan

Michigan judges and district court magistrates can issue several types of warrants. The various types of warrants differ in the purposes they serve and the procedures involved in obtaining them. Some of the most common types of warrants in Michigan include:

Search warrants: A search warrant legally permits law enforcement officials to search a house, building, or other location for a person(s) or property to seize them.

Arrest warrants: An arrest warrant is a court order that authorizes law enforcement officials to find and detain the individual specified on the warrant who is believed to have committed a crime. 

Bench warrants: A bench warrant is issued when an individual fails to appear in court or violates a court order. It authorizes the arrest of the individual named on the warrant to bring them before a court or judge for their offense. 

Probation violation warrants: This type of arrest warrant is issued when a probation agent reasonably believes there has been a probation violation.  

What is a Search Warrant in Michigan?

The Michigan Search Warrants Act 189 of 1966 describes a search warrant as a court order that permits the search of a house, building, or other locations or places where the subject of the warrant is situated. A person, property, or thing may be the subject of a warrant. The Act also authorizes the seizure of the warrant's subject once discovered. 

The general requirement for obtaining a search warrant in Michigan is the establishment of probable cause per the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and MCL 780.653. These laws protect people from unreasonable searches and seizures by requiring prerequisite processes during warrant requests that ensure search warrants are only issued for justifiable reasons. Probable cause indicates that there is reasonable suspicion to necessitate a search. 

To obtain a search warrant in Michigan, a search warrant affidavit must be submitted before a Michigan judge or district court magistrate for review and approval. The affidavit must contain "probable cause" and information about the scope of the search. The search scope, also known as "the grounds for issuance," describes the person, place, or thing to be searched for and seized. A search warrant can only be issued for persons, property, or other things with qualifying characteristics outlined in the MCL 780.652, which includes:

  • Embezzled or stolen properties;
  • Anything designed to be used or has been used to commit a crime;
  • Evidence of a crime;
  • Contraband;
  • The body of a person or animal who may have been a victim of a crime;
  • The subject of a bench warrant in a criminal case or an arrest warrant due to a criminal charge. 

Michigan law enforcement agencies are required by law to knock and announce their presence when executing a search warrant. However, MCL 780.656 permits officers to break any outer or inner window or door of a building or structure when refused entry or when necessary in executing a search warrant. 

Meanwhile, MCL 780.655 requires that an officer creates a complete and accurate tabulation of all property or other things seized during the execution of a search warrant. The statute also mandates that the officer leave copies of the warrant and tabulation with the owner of the seized item, the owner of the premises where the item was seized, or leave them on the property. The officer must also file the tabulation with the judge or district court magistrate, and by court order, the tabulation may be suppressed until the case's final disposition. The officer would hold the seized items until they were required to be produced and used as evidence in any trial. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a Search Warrant?

Michigan state statutes do not specify a timeframe for issuing a search warrant. A Michigan judge or district court magistrate may issue a search warrant under MCL 780.651, provided that the filed affidavit demonstrates the basis for the warrant's issuance and that they are convinced there is probable cause for the search. Therefore, the time it takes for an officer to get a search warrant in Michigan depends on how long it takes the officer to persuade a judge or district court magistrate that there is probable cause for the search. This can take a couple of minutes, hours, or days.  

What is an Arrest Warrant in Michigan?

A Michigan arrest warrant is a court order that authorizes law enforcement agencies in Michigan to apprehend and detain an individual due to a crime they are suspected to have committed. Per MCL 764.1, a Michigan judge or district court magistrate may issue an arrest warrant when a law enforcement agency or prosecutor files a criminal complaint alleging an individual committed a crime. Provided there is reasonable cause to believe that the accused individual in the complaint committed the crime. Under MCL 764.1a(4), "reasonable cause" may be based on any of the following:

  • The complainant's affidavit or sworn testimony;
  • factual allegations contained within the complaint;
  • Supplementary sworn testimony or affidavits of other individuals, which the complainant provided in their complaint. 

Once an arrest warrant has been issued, law enforcement officers are authorized to arrest the warrant's subject on sight anywhere in Michigan. The best way the subject of an arrest warrant can resolve their warrant is to turn oneself in "surrender on the warrant" after consulting a licensed attorney. Doing this can positively affect the case outcome, increasing the chances of a more lenient sentence, plea options, and reduced bond amount. 

Arrest Warrant Lookup in Michigan

Arrest warrants are generally issued through the court system in Michigan by judges or district court magistrates. As a result, information about warrants is typically maintained as court documents. Hence, inquirers can contact the court's clerk in the area (county or municipality) where they suspect the warrant exists to look up an arrest warrant in Michigan. The contact information of most local Michigan courts is accessible through the Michigan courts trial court directory

Alternatively, record seekers can browse public court case records online through the MIcourt case search portal to find information about arrest warrants issued in different court cases. To search the MIcourt case search portal, the subject's name or a court case number must be supplied. Although inquiries about active arrest warrants may be made in person at local Michigan court courthouses, it is generally ill-advised because it can result in an immediate arrest if a warrant is discovered. 

Besides government channels, record seekers can also look up arrest warrants in Michigan through certain third-party aggregate websites. Users are typically charged a fee or subscription to use services provided by such websites. 

How to Find Out If You Have a Warrant in Michigan

The Michigan court system is responsible for issuing all types of warrants, including arrest, search, bench, and probation violation warrants in Michigan. Hence, interested persons can find out if there are any active warrants against them by querying local Michigan courts.

Interested persons can direct warrant queries to the court clerk's office in the county or municipality where they believe a warrant was issued. Some courts provide an online search portal that inquirers can use to search for court case records they maintain. These records often reveal if any warrant has been issued in relevant court cases. An excellent example of such an online search portal is the Odyssey Public Access (OPA) provided by the Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan. However, the OPA only offers case files from courts within Michigan's third judicial circuit.

Inquirers can also search for court records through the MICourt case search portal. The MICourt case search portal differs from other standalone online search portals offered by local courts in that it is not restricted to any particular Michigan court(s). Essentially, the MICourt case search portal provides court case records from different Michigan courts.

Local Michigan courts normally notify law enforcement agencies, such as county sheriff's offices and local police departments, about active warrants since these agencies typically execute warrants. Thus, inquirers can also direct active warrant queries to these agencies. However, they do not always release this information to the public. 

Free Warrant Search in Michigan

Record seekers can conduct free warrant searches in Michigan through the MIcourt case search portal. Record seekers may also be able to perform a free warrant search by contacting the court clerk's office of the area where they suspect a warrant may exist by phone. Regardless, the full name of the warrant's subject or the case number related to the warrant is typically required to facilitate warrant searches in Michigan. 

How to Find Out If Someone Has A Warrant Online

In Michigan, interested persons can find out if a warrant has been issued against someone online by conducting court case searches through the MIcourt case search portal. The portal is free to use, therefore users are not charged for searches. The portal contains court records from different local Michigan courts. It can be used to search for and view public court documents and case information for free, including warrant information in relevant cases. To search the portal, users must first select the court they suspect issued the warrant and supply the subject's name or case number as search criteria.

Alternatively, interested persons can utilize warrant search services provided by certain third-party aggregate websites. These are usually pay-to-use services that charge users a fee or subscription to conduct warrant searches. The main benefit of using third-party services over government channels is the broad scope of searches and the availability of results from different Michigan courts. The search criteria typically required by most third-party aggregate websites is the subject's full name.  

How Long Do Warrants Last in Michigan?

There is no statute of limitations for warrants under Michigan state statutes. Thus, Michigan warrants never expire until a judge cancels and can last a lifetime. Offenders are advised to resolve warrants as soon as they are discovered by turning themselves in to the authorities after consulting with an attorney. They may also attempt to file a request to set aside the warrant depending on the case and the nature of the evidence against them.

Michigan Warrant Search
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