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Michigan Arrest Records

Michigan arrest records or arrest reports are files that detail a person’s arrest, detainment, and interrogation by local law enforcement agencies like the Michigan State Police. The arresting officer generates an arrest report, regardless of the person’s crime, and makes it available to the public on demand. Michigan arrest records are similar to Michigan criminal records, however, they cannot be substituted for each other.

The arrest record provides details that may aid a person’s criminal trial. However, not all arrests lead to a criminal conviction, and an accused person may walk free, even after booking and interrogation. In those circumstances, the state may allow for the erasure of the arrest record.

Michigan Arrest Statistics

The Michigan State Police do crime reporting in Michigan through the Michigan Incident Crime Reporting Unit. The unit publishes a crime in Michigan report annually, detailing all crimes and arrests made during the year, based on a frozen crime data set. It also collects hate crime data and Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA), which it forwards to the FBI.

In 2020, the state reported 162,282 arrests, with 17.8% of the arrests in the age group of 25-29, 95.1% as adults, and 4.9% of the arrests were juvenile. Across the different demographics in the state, there were 119,463 male and 42,819 female arrests.

In 2019, the arrest statistics were a bit higher, with 211,196 total arrests reported in the 2019 crime in Michigan report. A breakdown of this report reveals that there were 151,080 male and 60,116 female arrests. About 2,556 of those arrests were juveniles from sixteen years and below, as the State of Michigan recognizes 16 as the official juvenile age limit, while it is 17 and under for the FBI.

What is an Arrest Record in Michigan?

If a person violates any of the Michigan Compiled Laws, law enforcement agencies have the authority to apprehend the person. An officer may also carry out an arrest if a person commits a crime in the officer’s presence. Whatever the suspect’s arrest circumstances, the arresting officer must prepare a report concerning that arrest. In Michigan, it is called an arrest record, and it contains information on the suspect’s booking, detention, and crime committed.

What is Contained in an Arrest Record?

Arrest records in Michigan often contain the following information:

  • A perpetrator’s physical description, such as the person’s height, weight, hair, eye color, and other distinct features.
  • The perpetrator’s full name and aliases, birthplace, age, present address, current job, social security number, etc.
  • A description of the criminal incident and how the perpetrator carried it out. The arresting officer usually relies on witness or victims statements to fill in this information.
  • The perpetrator’s booking information like a set of fingerprints, mugshot, booking number, location of the arrest, date and time of the arrest, outstanding warrants, etc.
  • A summary of the police interrogation of the perpetrator.

Are Arrest Records Public in Michigan?

Yes. The Michigan Freedom of Information Act (MFIA) grants interested persons access to criminal records in the state. These interested persons may view the records after applying to the approved record custodians. However, the holding agency may restrict the records, or part of it, if it contains sensitive or confidential information.

Who Can Access Arrest Records?

The owner of an arrest record may access the record for many reasons. Also, a person’s employer or landlord may need to conduct a background check and request the person’s arrest records as a result. Third parties like a lawyer, insurance company, or even the victim of the crime, may access the record with due authorization. However, despite the right to access these records, the law enforcement agency in charge may withhold the record in certain situations. Some of these situations are if the record owner committed the crime as a minor, or information in the record will cause public danger or affect an ongoing investigation.

How Do I Lookup Someone’s Arrest Records in Michigan?

Different law enforcement agencies in Michigan keep arrest and other criminal records. Interested persons may access these records online via the website of these government agencies. The main way to conduct a criminal history check in Michigan is through the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT), which allows the search of the criminal history information held by the Criminal Justice Information Center of the MSP.

An individual that wants to use ICHAT has first to register or log in with the platform. A new user must first click ‘Get Started’ from the top menu on the website. A login page will pop up next, and the new user has to pick ‘user registration.’ Next, the user may provide the required fields to complete the registration, like a name, email, phone number, and user ID. There is also a compulsory column for security questions before clicking the submit button.

After clicking submit, the user will get a confirmation email with a link to activate the account. Once activated, the user can log in to the site using the newly created ID and password. The next step is to choose a reason for the search from the drop-down page and type the first name, last name, date of birth, race, and gender of the search subject. The user may also click ‘Additional Names’ to enter an alias or maiden name or enter the person’s State Identification (SID) criminal number instead of the other fields. All entered details must be valid and accurate, or ICHAT will not return correct search results.

Completed search results will appear in the searcher’s Order Review cart, accessible by clicking on the cart icon next to the submit button or on the right side of the screen. If an individual runs more than one search, the cart will show the number of completed searches and the amount for each search. The user can check out the searches individually or one after the other. Payments may be made using a debit or credit card, and the searcher will not be able to view the search results without making full payment for amounts due. Further questions and inquiries may go to the ICHAT Help Desk, at (517) 241-0606, or via email, on MSP-CRD-ICHATHelp@Michigan.gov.

Alternatively, a user may use fingerprints to carry out a criminal history record search. These fingerprint searches are mostly for employment, licensing, visa, and immigration reasons. To do a fingerprint search for employment purposes, the searcher needs a Live Scan Fingerprint Background Check Request form from the employer or relevant agency and contact an approved Live Scan Vendor to complete the search. For visa and immigration purposes, the applicant needs to get a Michigan Applicant Fingerprint Card (RI-008) from a local law enforcement agency.

After completing the fingerprint card, the applicant must include a cover letter explaining the reason for submitting the card. The applicant must also include a return address and other contact details, like a phone number or an email address. While submitting the fingerprints, the applicant must also pay a $30 processing fee by money order or check, to the Michigan State Police, CJIC, P.O. Box 30266, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7766. Processing the record takes about three to five weeks before the MSP sends a response by mail.

How to Subpoena Arrest Records in Michigan

In Michigan, members of the public are allowed to review arrest records in the state under the FOIA. Yet, the public may only access some parts of an arrest record in certain situations. So, the need for a subpoena may arise to allow interested persons to access restricted records held by law enforcement agencies. A subpoena in Michigan is an order from the state courts that mandates a person to attend a court hearing or produce certain documents.

Rule 2.506 of the Michigan Court Rules allows the court to command a person to produce a document. The subpoena must state the form that the document should come in, and an attorney of record must sign it. It must also be in the name of the People of the State of Michigan and have the Supreme Court’s seal. Service of a subpoena to law enforcement agencies may be by electronic transmission, and if the recipient fails to comply, the court will hold that person or agency in contempt.

How to Search for an Inmate in the Michigan Prison System

The Correctional Facilities Administration (CFA) of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) manages the state’s prisons and all prisoners incarcerated in Michigan. The procedure for carrying out an inmate search in Michigan is through the Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS). OTIS provides information on prisoners in the system except the following:

  • Any information that is exempt under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act
  • Information on persons who have been arrested and convicted but not yet sentenced.
  • If the prisoner is in a county jail or city lockups, the person’s records will not come up. The reason is that OTIS only manages records for inmates in state prisons operated by the MDOC.

To search for an inmate in the Michigan Prison System, the interested person has to visit the OTIS website on a web browser. The next step is to input the offender’s first and last name and the person’s MDOC number. Also, the searcher must fill the columns for sex, race, age, and then select the offender’s status, which in this case, will be ‘Active Offenders,’ or ‘Prisoners.’ It may also help to include whether the inmate has marks, scars or tattoos. Clicking the search button will redirect the user to another page that displays all inmates matching the provided details.

The MDOC issues a warning to all searchers that it does not guarantee that information on the OTIS is correct, up to date, or complete. Anyone who believes that the site’s information is incorrect may contact the Office of Public Information and Communications via e-mail at correctionsinfo@michigan.gov or call (517) 335-2316. Concerns on technical issues accessing or reading information on the site may go to the Webmaster at mdocwebmaster@michigan.gov.

How Do I Find Out if Someone Was in Jail in Michigan

Finding a person who has served a prison sentence in Michigan is also through the OTIS platform. Michigan laws require the MDOC to keep an offender’s information on the OTIS for at least three years after release. So, a search result will show information on an offender who is out on parole or probation under MDOC supervision. It will also display information on prisoners who escaped from prison. The only way to remove an offender’s information from the program is if the conviction is expunged by the sentencing court, set aside, or three years have passed since the prisoner’s release.

To find former prisoners on OTIS, visit the website and provide relevant details like a first name, last name, and MDOC number. Before clicking the search button, select the required field for offender status, choose from either parolee, probationers, discharged, parole absconders, or probation absconders. Making this selection narrows the options and directs the system on the right records to pull up. However, the searcher may also choose to see all categories of offenders in the system by selecting ‘all’ in the offender status field.

How Long Do Michigan Arrest Records Stay on File?

Michigan laws do not provide a specific retention period for arrest records. The length of time that a Michigan arrest record stays on file depends on the kind of offense and the applicable expungement laws. Suppose a criminal conviction or record can be set aside in Michigan. In that case, the arrest record will be wiped from official records once the arrested person applies to set the record aside.

What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and an Arrest Warrant?

Arrest warrants in Michigan give law enforcement officers the authority to apprehend a person based on suspicion of a crime. It is different from an arrest record because it needs an order of a court to take effect, while an arrest record is mere documentation of the events that follow the issue of a warrant. Another difference between an arrest warrant and an arrest record in Michigan is that a court will not grant a warrant without a good reason. The law enforcement officer seeking the arrest warrant needs to provide sworn testimony or an affidavit with sufficient information that links the suspected person to the crime. On the other hand, an arrest record does not require these protocols, as once a suspect is brought into custody, it is standard procedure to write an arrest record in the person’s name.

What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and a Criminal Record?

A criminal record is more expansive than a person’s arrest records because it contains information on all a person’s criminal activities in the state. Unlike an arrest record, a criminal record is a more thorough document, sometimes called a rap sheet. It compiles information on various law enforcement records, like police records, court records, and records of correctional facilities in the state. Interested persons may find all a person’s indictments, arrests, charges, and even convictions, in a criminal record, but an arrest record is straightforward and details only a particular incident.

How to Obtain Arrest Records for Free in Michigan?

Requesting an arrest record from local law enforcement agencies or the OTIS platform is not entirely free. It often requires the payment of nominal fees for the certification, authentication, and reproduction of the record. However, an individual may get free arrest records from the county sheriff's website if the counties provide such. Alternatively, the inquirer may check for free arrest records on third-party websites. However, there is no way to guarantee that these free services will produce up-to-date or accurate arrest data. It is advisable to go through the Michigan State Police, OTIS, or a third-party website that charges subscription fees.

How to Search for a Michigan Arrest Record Online Using a Third-Party Search Service

Most times, getting a copy of an arrest record in Michigan can be a challenge. The difficulties in finding arrest records make online search services a viable option—these third-party search services source information from various government agencies without delay. An interested person first needs to navigate to the specific search site on a web browser to use a third-party search service. Then, input the record owner’s details, like the person’s first and last name. These third-party sites usually charge a fee for the service. Still, it is convenient to get arrest data from these sites instead of enduring the typical delays common with government agencies.

What Can I Do if My Arrest Record Has a Mistake?

If a person’s Michigan arrest record has an error, the affected person may bring it to the notice of the arresting agency for possible corrections. These mistakes occur when people have similar names, birthdays, or if a person gave a false name. Before fixing a mistake on an arrest or criminal record, it is important to identify where the mistake is. The errors may be in records held with the Michigan State Police, Department of Corrections, local police department or court, or Federal Bureau of Investigation.

To fix an error with the MSP, the affected person must show proof of the mistake and submit a challenge to the state police but needs a set of fingerprints taken at an MSP office or any local law enforcement agency. After getting the fingerprints, the applicant must complete a Request for Amendment of Public Criminal History Record form. Then, the person may attach the fingerprint card, a copy of the incorrect record, a description of the mistake, and send these documents to the Michigan State Police, Criminal Justice Information Center, Attention: Record Challenge, P.O. Box 30634, Lansing, Michigan 48909-0634.

If the fingerprints prove that the criminal records are incorrect, the MSP will send the applicant a clearance letter. Changing the record will take four to six weeks, and it is advisable to check back at intervals to confirm that the record changed. It is also advisable to keep a copy of the clearance letter if the record doesn’t change.

To correct wrong criminal records with the FBI, the affected person may send a written challenge and attach proof showing that the agency or court made a mistake. The FBI may contact the relevant agency to first verify the mistake, and after the agency confirms the mistake, the bureau will then make the changes. Applicants may send the written challenge to the FBI CJIS Division, Attn: Criminal History Analysis Team 1, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, WV 26306.

A person may also fix mistakes in arrest records with a local police department concerning minor convictions that do not appear on a person’s MSP criminal record. If possible, the affected person has to check the local police department to get a copy of the record or search online. After checking the record for a mistake, the person may then apply to correct the record.

How to Expunge Arrest Records in Michigan

An expungement is another word for setting aside a conviction, making the arrest or criminal record no longer available to the public. In Michigan, an expungement is also called setting aside a conviction, and there is a different procedure for adult and juvenile convictions. A person that wants to set aside an arrest or criminal record in Michigan must first check for eligibility. The person may run a public criminal record check using ICHAT. Next, the applicant must complete an Application to Set Aside Conviction and notarize it. The Michigan State Police will then process the application, and there may be a hearing.

A person may also set aside a record for a crime committed as a minor, but the application may come a year after the case closed, and the applicant must have turned 19. Before applying, the interested person must obtain a copy of the adjudication from the court that handled the matter. The information on the record will be used to fill the application, and the applicant will also file the record alongside the application.

An applicant may start the process by filing an Application to Set Aside Juvenile Conviction with the court that handled the matter. Next is to get a fingerprint card from a local law enforcement agency, which may attract a small fee of between $10 to $25. The applicant must then send a copy of the completed application to the Michigan State Police, the Attorney General, and the prosecutor that handled the matter. After applying, the court clerk will schedule a hearing.

After the hearing, the judge will decide if the expungement is in the public interest and if the applicant’s behavior supports the application. If the judge enters an order to set aside the juvenile adjudication, the applicant may send copies of it to the MSP. Once an arrest record is expunged, any person applying for housing, employment, or financial aid, may state that the arrest never occurred.

In 2020, Michigan passed the clean slate legislation that makes it easy to set criminal records aside. Under the new law, there is an automatic process for setting aside misdemeanors after seven years and non-assault felonies after 10 years. However, this automatic set aside will only take effect from 2023.