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What Is a Criminal Record in Michigan?
In Michigan, criminal records are official documents that provide details of criminal activities committed by individuals within the state. Also known as rap sheets, these contain information about arrests, indictments, dispositions, and convictions. These documents are prepared by local and state law enforcement agencies, courts, and correctional facilities.
What Is Contained in a Criminal Record?
Michigan criminal records provide the following information about individuals arrested for alleged crimes and convicted criminals:
- Full name including known aliases
- Date of birth, gender, and race
- Identifying personal data such as fingerprints and mugshots
- Criminal history including past and current offenses, indictments and convictions
- Past and outstanding warrants and arrest history
What are Arrest Records?
Michigan arrest records are documents detailing the arrests of individuals taken into custody by state and local law enforcement agencies. Note that an arrest record is not proof of criminal activity. This record only shows that arrest was made in relations to an alleged crime. A Michigan arrest record contains the following information:
- Name, gender, date of birth and other details identifying the arrestee
- Date, time, and place of the arrest
- Summary of the alleged offense leading to the arrest
- Name of the arresting law enforcement officer
- Name and address of the county/city jail or state detention center where the arrestee is detained
What Is an Arrest Warrant in Michigan?
In Michigan, arrest warrants are official court documents authorizing law enforcement officers to detain named individuals. To obtain an arrest warrant, a law enforcement officer or district attorney must submit a request before the court. A judge may then grant the request and sign a warrant to arrest the individual named in the document and seize personal property as evidence of the alleged crime. The court also sets validity periods for most arrest warrants.
A Michigan arrest warrant provides the following details:
- The name and other personal identifying information of the subject
- Description of the alleged offense
- Time when the arrest may happen
- Validity period and expiration date of the warrant
- Name of the official issuing the warrant and date of issuance
What are Misdemeanors in Michigan?
Misdemeanors are less serious crimes than felonies. In Michigan, there are three classes of misdemeanors. These are:
- 93-Day Misdemeanors: these are punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a fine amount up to $500, or both. Individuals can be charged for 93-day misdemeanors under state or local laws. Some misdemeanors are charged under both state and local laws. Examples of misdemeanors in this category are first offense DUI, assault and battery, disturbing the peace, and embezzlement of property or money valued under $200
- 1-Year Misdemeanors: these are punished by up to a year in jail, fines up to $1000, or both. Examples include second-offense DUI, larceny of properties between $200 and $1,000), shoplifting, and intentional discharge of a firearm but without intent to injure
- High Court Misdemeanors: these are the most serious misdemeanors in Michigan and carry the same punishments as Class G and H felonies. High court misdemeanors are punishable by up to 2 years in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, or both. Examples are indecent exposure, second-offense domestic assault, and negligent homicide by vehicle
What are Felonies in Michigan?
In Michigan, a felony is a serious crime punishable by more than one year in jail. There are eight felony classes in Michigan grouped from Class A to Class H. Class A felonies are the most serious while Class H felonies are least serious felony crimes.
- Class A felonies are punished with up to life in prison or any number of years in prison. Examples include first- and second-degree murder, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to rob or steal, and first-degree rape
- Class B felonies are punished with up to 20 years in prison. Examples are second-degree arson, second-degree child abuse, and production of child pornography
- Class C felonies are punished with up to 15 years in prison. Examples include manslaughter, human trafficking resulting in injury, and robbery
- Class D felonies are punished with up to 10 years in prison. Some examples are grand larceny, embezzlement (property valued at $20,000 or more), and human trafficking
- Class E felonies are punished with up to 5 years in prison. Examples are carrying a weapon with unlawful intent, first-degree retail fraud, and breaking and entering
- Class F felonies are punished with up to 4 years in prison. Examples include manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver less than 5 kilograms of marijuana and loan and credit card application fraud
- Class G felonies are punished with up to 2 years in prison. Examples include writing a bad check for an amount greater than $500, lobbyists giving gifts, and second-offense domestic assault
- Class H felonies are punishable by jail time or alternatives like treatment, probation, and electronic monitoring. Examples of these crimes include using a stolen state identification card to commit a felony, driving with a suspended license, and welfare fraud involving an amount over $500
Michigan Sex Offender Listings
Michigan sex offender listings, also known as Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry (PSOR), contains the information of known sex offenders in the state. Local law enforcement agencies handle sex offender registration in different counties of Michigan while the state police collate these records into a central registry. In accordance with the state’s Megan’s law, the Michigan State Police makes the PSOR available to the public. Sex offender information available to the public include offender’s:
- Name and known alias(es)
- Date of birth
- Registration number and registration details
- Physical characteristics like scars, marks, and tattoos
- Offense information
- Address/campus/employment/vehicle information
Michigan’s Megan’s Law
The Megan’s Law was first introduced following the rape and murder of Megan Kanka , a 7-year-old girl, by a sex offender who lived her neighborhood. The federal government then mandate all states in the Union to create sex offender registries. Michigan passed its Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), its own Megan’s Law, in 1994 and amended it in 2006 and 2011.
Currently, multiple court rulings have determined that Michigan SORA is unconstitutional. The federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals first ruled it so in 2016 arguing that the law does not work and that the public sex offender registry actually make the public less safe. The Michigan branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also filed a motion before the court arguing that SORA cannot be applied at all to registrants whose offenses predate April 12, 2011, the date of the last amendment. In May 2019, the federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan gave state lawmakers a 90-day deadline to revise the law. This deadline has since passed without changes made to the law.
What is a Serious Traffic Violation?
In Michigan, serious traffic violations include speeding, reckless driving, DUI, and driving on a suspended or revoked license. There are two categories of serious traffic violations in Michigan.
Category I violations:
- Traffic violations resulting in fatal accidents
- Speeding 15 mph or more over the posted limit
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Careless driving
- Changing/using lanes erratically/improperly
In addition to possible felony charges, motorists convicted of these violations will have their licenses suspended. Michigan will suspend the offender’s driver’s license for 60 days for any two violations in separate incidents in three years. Three or more violations in separate incidents in three years attracts a 120-day license suspension. These traffic violations may also cause points may be added to offenders’ driving records
Category II violations include:
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance
- Leaving the scene of a commercial motor vehicle accident
- Committing a felony using a commercial motor vehicle
- Fleeing/eluding a law enforcement officer
The state will suspend the driver’s license of an individual convicted of any of these violations for one year for a first violation. If transporting hazardous materials, the offender’s license will be suspended for three years.
Committing any two Category II violations occurring in separate incidents, or any one of them a second time in any time period, leads to the revoked of driver’s license for a minimum of ten years. The licenses of those convicted of reckless driving, negligent homicide, or fleeing/eluding a law enforcement officer will be suspended for one year. Those convicted of committing felonies involving the manufacture or distribution of controlled substances will have their licenses revoked for a minimum of ten years.
What are Conviction Records?
Michigan conviction records provide details of court proceedings during indictments, pleas, hearings, and sentencing of individuals found guilty. Conviction records can be from criminal and civil court cases. These records describe the charges brought against convicted individuals and the resulting punishments recommended by judges or juries. Such punishments include jail time, fines, probation, and parole. Members of the public can find courts’ final judgements in conviction records unless they are expunged or the records sealed.
What are Jail and Inmate Records?
Michigan jail and inmate records the entry, stay, and release of individuals in various correctional and detention facilities in the state. These records are usually prepared by prison and jail authorities and available upon request from these agencies. The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) oversees the operations of state prisons while local law enforcement agencies manage county and city jails.
Publicly available inmate records in Michigan include the following information:
- Inmate name, gender, race, and date of birth
- Booking photo
- Inmate’s current location
- Expected release date
Where to get Parole Information?
Michigan uses indeterminate sentences for convicts. That means each inmate has a minimum and maximum jail terms. An inmate is only eligible for parole after completing the minimum jail term. The Parole Board determines whether to release inmates on parole or not. Information about inmate parole including minimum jail terms are available online on the MDOC OTIS (Offender Tracking Information System) portal. To contact the Michigan Parole Board, complete this webform on the MDOC website.
What are Probation Records?
Michigan probation records are official documents provide details of deferred sentences for convicted individuals allowed by courts to serving their sentences outside correctional facilities. Although serving suspended sentences out of custody, probation still involves supervising those given this privilege. The MDOC has 10 parole and probation offices all over the state and assigns probationers to probation agents throughout the duration of their supervised freedom.
What are Juvenile Criminal Records?
Michigan does not try underage individuals as adults unless for felonies punishable by life sentences, offenses with a maximum penalty of 10 years and above, and offenses involving the use or possession of a weapon. Besides these exceptions, Michigan does not regard juvenile adjudications as criminal convictions.
In Michigan, juvenile criminal records are usually sealed records providing details of the criminal activities of juveniles. However, court and law enforcement records regarding crimes committed by a juvenile may be available to the public unless sealed or expunged by a court.
Michigan History and Accuracy of Criminal Records
Electronic recordkeeping has improved the accuracy of criminal records kept by courts and law enforcement agencies in Michigan. Prior to this, these records are written/typed on paper and filed away. This system is prone to human error and deterioration of physical records. Digitization eliminates most of these concerns by making it easier to record, store, and retrieve records.
How to Find Criminal Records in Michigan
State and municipal bodies including courts and law enforcement agencies keep criminal records in Michigan. Most of these are public records available online on the websites of these government agencies. In addition to accessing criminal records online, Michigan law also allows the public to inspect and copy them. Some records can be requested by mail or email while others must be requested in person. Note that Michigan courts and law enforcement agencies may charge nominal fees for copies of criminal records.
The type and amount of criminal, arrest, and inmate records available vary from one agency to another. This variation determines the breadth of records available on third-party record providers like StateRecords.org.