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Michigan Warrant Records

What is a Warrant in Michigan?

A warrant allows a person, an official, or an agency to execute a clearly defined action, usually to enforce law and order. To obtain a warrant in Michigan, law enforcement agencies and other recognized government bodies must present sufficient reasons, known as probable cause, to the authority in charge of issuing warrants (a judge or magistrate). Given that warrants serve different purposes, below is a list of warrants in Michigan according to their objectives:

  • Search Warrants: These are legal documents issued and signed by a judge or magistrate granting law enforcement officers the authority to search and seize a property believed to be of interest in an ongoing investigation.
  • Arrest Warrants: These legal orders are most commonly issued in criminal cases. They allow police officers and other law enforcement agencies to apprehend and detain the subject of the warrant.
  • Bench Warrants: These warrants are most commonly issued in misdemeanor and civil cases involving traffic violations and debt settlement. A bench warrant empowers law enforcement agencies to arrest the subject of the warrant on sight. Law enforcement officers may not necessarily pursue subjects of bench warrants actively.
  • Tax Warrants: These are legal orders that the state's Department of Treasury may issue to seal off business premises or seize and sell off properties to settle past due taxes.

How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant in Michigan?

Michigan citizens can investigate whether there is a warrant out for their arrest in order to resolve it and avoid fines and other penalties. A person may search for a warrant online, by phone, and in person.

The easiest way to find a warrant is through official warrant search websites provided by government offices such as the police or local courts. Persons who believe a warrant may be out for them may also search the public records directory of the court located in an area. They will have to provide information such as name or case number.

Aside from official sources provided by government agencies, privately owned and operated websites also provide public records databases, thereby allowing members to search through Michigan police, court, and county records.

A warrant search may also be performed by calling the court clerk where a person believes a warrant exists. This will typically require providing information such as a full name, date of birth, time the warrant was supposedly issued, or the type of case. The phone number to call is usually available on the contact section of a court's official website.

The last option involves an in-person visit to the relevant courthouse to request a warrant search. The fee that a record requester will pay for the search and the payment method may differ from one county to another.

Records of warrants issued or executed in various jurisdictions are also maintained and by third-party websites. While third-party sites make accessing these records substantially easier, the information available on the sites may vary since they are not government run sources. To obtain warrant records from a third-party site, the requesting party may be required to provide:

  • The personal information of the alleged suspect
  • Information regarding the issuing officer
  • The location where the warrant was issued.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in Michigan?

Generally, warrants do not go away until they have been executed. In Michigan, a warrant remains valid until the action it orders is executed, such as an arrest or a search. However, if a judge finds sufficient grounds to retract and void a warrant and does so, such a warrant immediately becomes unenforceable.

What is a Michigan Search Warrant?

Section 780.651 of Michigan's State Laws grants a judge or district court magistrate the power to issue a warrant permitting the search of a house, building, or other places where the subject of the search is located. This warrant type is known as a search warrant. Law enforcement agencies will typically have to provide an affidavit to obtain a search warrant. In Michigan, a judge or magistrate may also issue and sign a warrant electronically over a computer network or otherwise.

Before a judge or district court magistrate issues a search warrant, they must find convincing reasons in the affidavit to believe that such a search is necessary. An affidavit remains a non-public record for 56 days after its issuance. Beyond this period, it becomes a public record, and members of the public may seek and gain access to it.

Properties or other things that a warrant allows law enforcement officers to search and seize include:

  • Stolen or embezzled items.
  • Items intended to be used, being used, or have been used to commit a crime.
  • Items owned and operated in a manner that violates the laws of the state.
  • Items that have been identified as evidence of a crime.
  • Contraband items.
  • Persons and animals, or their bodies, believed to have been crime victims.
  • Persons who the court issued an arrest warrant for because of a criminal offense.
  • Persons who are subjects of a bench warrant in a criminal case.

What Can Make a Michigan Search Warrant Invalid?

Even when the appropriate legal authority has issued it, a search warrant may still not be executable if it defies the requirements for issuance specified by the law. Circumstances that may invalidate a search warrant include:

  • Absence of an affidavit that provides probable cause for the search.
  • Use of illegally sourced or stale information in the affidavit to obtain a warrant.
  • Unreliability of the source of information mentioned in the affidavit.
  • Failure of an affidavit to justify the need for a search.

What is an Arrest Warrant in Michigan?

In the process of investigating a crime, law enforcement officers in Michigan may need to take certain persons of interest into custody. When an arrest is made during or not long after the commission of a crime, the officers will not need to provide a document authorizing the arrest, known as an arrest warrant. However, if sufficient time has passed since the commission of the crime, then the officers must provide a valid warrant authorizing the arrest. This is because the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the unjustifiable detention, search, and seizure of citizens or their properties.

In Michigan, a judge or magistrate may issue a warrant compelling someone to appear in court, usually after law enforcement agents or prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against them. Criminal complaint documents typically provide facts and credible information relating to the crimes that the accused have allegedly committed. Generally, the courts carefully examine complaints and only issue warrants when there are sufficient grounds.

According to the Michigan Court Rules, an arrest warrant must satisfy certain conditions to be considered valid, and these include:

  • The warrant must provide probable cause for the arrest.
  • A neutral and detached magistrate must have issued the warrant.
  • The warrant must identify the subject of the arrest.
  • The warrant must have been issued based on a truthful police affidavit.

If law enforcement officers desire to obtain an arrest warrant using third-party information or hearsay, they must demonstrate to the court that such information or the party providing it is reliable.

In Michigan, a police officer armed with a warrant may make an arrest within the state and gain entry into a property using force.

What is a Child Support Arrest Warrant in Michigan?

When a person refuses to pay child support, the court will generally ask such a person to appear and provide reasons for their noncompliance and why the court should not hold them in contempt. This is known as a "show cause" hearing.

If the defaulter who has been summoned fails to comply with the show cause order and misses the court hearing, the court may issue a legal document for their arrest. This document is known as an arrest warrant, and it allows law enforcement officers to apprehend and bring such a person before the court.

It is possible to find a child support arrest warrant by conducting a Michigan warrant search using the means described above.

What is a Michigan Bench Warrant?

In Michigan, a bench warrant is a court document ordering the arrest of a person who failed to show up in court when such an appearance was due. A bench warrant empowers law enforcement agencies to arrest a person upon sighting and bring them to court. Bench arrests are typically issued for civil matters; as such, officers may not actively hunt down a person to effect a bench warrant.

In Michigan, What is Failure to Appear?

Failure to Appear in Michigan describes a situation where suspects arrested for a bailable criminal offense and released on bail failed to appear in court on the hearing day. This bailable offense must be one where the possible penalty is not a death sentence, life imprisonment, and a prison term over 20 years. Once a person refuses to appear in court, thereby forfeiting their bail bond, the court issues a warrant for their arrest. This will also happen if a person released on recognizance (without bail) refuses to appear in court when ordered.

Failure to Appear may result in further misdemeanor charges. According to Section 780, Subsection 62 of the Michigan legislature, Failure to Appear may result in a fine penalty of up to $1,000 or as much as a year in jail. In addition to this, the court may suspend the defaulter's driver's license.

How Long Do You Have to Stay in Jail for a Warrant for Missing Court in Michigan?

Once a person deliberately misses a court date and consequently has a bench warrant issued for their arrest, the judge may refuse to grant them bail and order that they be kept in custody until a new trial date.

In Michigan, What is Failure to Pay?

Failure to Pay describes a situation in which persons whom the court ordered to pay a fine refused to comply with the said order. As such, a judge can issue a warrant for their arrest. The court may also revoke their driver's license until the payment is made.

What is a No-Knock Warrant in Michigan?

A no-knock warrant permits law enforcement officers to forcefully enter someone's residence to execute a search warrant without first announcing their presence. In Michigan, however, the provisions of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution requiring that an initial notice must be given is supreme. As such, law enforcement officers must announce their presence and state the purpose of their visit. Forced entry is only permissible if the occupants refuse admission to the officers after the announcement.

However, there is an exception to the knock-and-announce rule. In the landmark case titled Hudson v. Michigan, the state's supreme court ruled that law enforcement officers do not have to knock if there is reason to believe that such an announcement will cause the occupants to destroy evidence. The court also noted that an announcement by the officers would not be necessary if there is a threat of violent resistance from the occupants of the property.