Michigan Arrest Records and Warrant Search

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What is an arrest record?

In the state of Michigan, crime history records refers to information maintained by the Criminal Justice Information Center or CJIC which serves as a state wide repository of data. The specific case related details stored in this database include arrest records, conviction history, information on charges filed and sentencing for all matters pertaining to serious crimes that were committed within the geographical limits of Michigan State.

The data stored in the system is assimilated from all justice agencies in the state including law enforcement entities, tribunals and offices of public prosecutors. To perform a crime history background check, the CJIC relies on two distinct identifiers- the name of the alleged perpetrator or his/her finger prints. The former is generally used in response to public queries about arrest records while finger print searches are reserved for cases in which federal statutes or an executive order calls for such an inquiry.

The information provided by the CJIC in response to a request for crime history data includes personal descriptors regarding the subject of the inquiry, details on felony and misdemeanor arrests, convictions, sentencing and incarceration. By law, all legal entities in the state of Michigan are required to submit reports on arrests including information on the case and finger prints of the accused when the person in question is charged with a crime that is punishable by a prison term of no less than 92 days.

The offenses in the category include both felonies and misdemeanors as long as the sentence for the crime exceeds the stipulated period of 3 months. Reports are also made to the CJIC when an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor which is punishable with a fine of $100 and imprisonment. Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act of the state of Michigan, the records stored in the CJIC repository are accessible to all state residents who apply for them.

However, when accepting requests for a crime history search, the Justice Department is merely screening the state wide crime records, so applicants do not get access to nationwide crime history information or even that from other states. Also, a criminal background check requested through the CJIC is not akin to a warrant search. In fact, mere arrest warrant information is not disseminated through this source to the general public.

When a search with common identifiers like the name of the subject brings back case related data, this is offered in the report. In contrast, often a query may just yield a "no records found" response. This simply means that there is no information in the system that matches the search identifiers furnished by the applicant. Also, when records are available, the results may be skewed depending on how common the name of the subject is. So, it is highly recommended that individuals requesting such information give their subjects the opportunity to verify the details in the report.

What is an arrest warrant?

Pursuant to Michigan Criminal Code MCL 764.Id, an arrest warrant is defined as a judicial order that is issued by a tribunal in the state with criminal jurisdiction which authorizes the police to apprehend the individual against whom it is released, and present him/her before the judiciary to answer the charges filed against him by state law enforcement.

Such an order for detention issued by the sitting magistrate of a tribunal is known as an active arrest warrant and it confers specific rights on the arresting officers. For one, law enforcement personnel can enter any premises to effect the arrest if they have a warrant in hand. While such a judicial decree is often sought in cases that entail an investigation, a warrant is not always a mandate in the process of arresting an alleged perpetrator.

In fact according to the Michigan Compiled Law section 764.15, an arrest warrant is only required to apprehend individuals who are suspected of committing a misdemeanor when the crime occurs in the absence of a police officer and in cases of domestic violence and driving under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol. Alternatively, a peace officer also has the jurisdiction to issue an appearance ticket in response to a civic violation that is not punishable by more than 93 days in prison.

However, in case of felony offenses, the dependent can be arrested from the scene of the crime, while he/she is in the process of committing the illicit act or right after and even when such an incident occurs in front of a police officer. As a matter of fact, police also have the authority to arrest an individual who they believe has been involved in a felony as long as they have proof to support this assumption.

Another scenario in which a warrant is not needed is when a person has already been arrested without such a detention order and is presented in front of the court where the judiciary endorses the reason for such incarceration.

The Michigan Criminal Code 102 subsections C and D lay down the guidelines for the information that has to be mandatorily included in all arrest warrants issued in the state. Generally, such a detention decree will have the name of the accused or a known alias of the individual used. If no name or alias is available, a discernible physical description will be mentioned which can aid the officers in making the arrest.

Apart from this, the warrant also contains the complaint for which the accused is being taken into custody and the documents should bear the signature of the magistrate who issued the order along with the county of issuance and the date on which the warrant was released. Also, information on interim bail will be clearly mentioned when the case permits it. However, this is never done in matters pertaining to felonies and serious misdemeanors.

How to search for inmates in the Michigan Jail and Prison System?

The Michigan State Department of Corrections has an online Offender Tracking System (OTIS) in place which offers in depth information on convicts serving time in the prison system of the state and also on those who have been released back into the community after the completion of their sentences. Currently, the Offender Tracking Information System database houses information on over 300,000 probationers, parolees and prisoners

While the details contained in this repository are available to all, information which is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act of Michigan state will not be offered through this database. This includes data on medical records, the addresses and contact information of law enforcement agents among others.In terms of offender records, no information is displayed on an accused unless he/she is arrested, convicted and sentenced for a crime. To put it simply, a mere arrest will not show up in the records.

Also, because this data is being provided by the MDOC which is in charge of all state run correctional facilities but not of the county jails, you will not be able to find details on offenders lodged in county prisons through the OTIS. Similarly, there will be no photographic records on prisoners who were let out of the correctional system before electronic images were taken. Remember that records on prisoners will only be stored in the OTIS database till 3 years from discharge.

To get prisoner information from the Michigan State OTIS, go to their official website at http://mdocweb.state.mi.us/OTIS2/otis2.html. The primary search parameters provided are the first and the last name of the offender or the MDOC number designated to the prisoner when he/she entered the correctional system. This unique code should be available on all forms of correspondence received from the judiciary or the prison authorities.

However, if you do not have the DOC number, it is possible to conduct the inquiry merely on the basis of the offender's name. To narrow down the search and lower the chances of erroneous results, additional input options are offered which include the gender, race, age, physical marks and offender status. Once you type in the information and click on search, you will be redirected to the results page where the names and other details pertaining to all prisoners who match your search query will be displayed in a tabular form.

Listed in table will be the first and the last name of the offender along with his/her DOC number and the number of the MCL used to bring charges against him/her. Information is also offered on the facility of incarceration and other details pertaining to the sentence including parole and release dates and the prisoner's status in the correctional system.

For additional data, you merely need to click on the offender number which will take you to a page with more extensive information on the person in question. The details provided not only include a recent photograph of the prisoner but also other information like his date of birth, physical identifiers, MDOC status, the low down on all charges filed against the offender and dates pertaining to the sentence including supervising conditions in case the prisoner has been released on probation.

Who can search for arrest records and warrants in Michigan and how?

As per MCLA 15.230 and its sub sections, all records held by state agencies are available for inspection to the general public. The law applies to all records held by justice agencies and judicial entities in the state of Michigan as long as the information pertains to a case which resulted in a conviction. The applicant can use one of the several online services offered by government divisions to access this information without a written permission from the subject of such an inquiry.

However, in situations where the data accessed through such searches is to be used for the purposes of offering employment, prospective employers are legally bound to let the candidate know of the results of any criminal background inquiry conducted against him/her along with the name of the agency that furnished this information.

How to request records under Michigan specific laws, freedom of information?

There are two options to avail crime history records from law enforcement and judicial agencies in the state. You can use the ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool) offered by the Michigan State Police to conduct such an inquiry or you can use the case database provided by the Michigan judiciary. The difference here is that while ICHAT will only bring back results on cases that resulted in conviction and sentencing, with the court records search tool, you will also be able to access warrant related information in both civil and criminal matters.

To access ICHAT, got to the official website (http://apps.michigan.gov/ichat/home.aspx) of the Crime Justice Information Center which maintains the central repository .The database contains information on all matters that have resulted in a sentence of 93 days or more. All 83 county courts in the state along with all law enforcement agencies and prosecutors send in records that are stored in this system.

In order to perform the search, you will need to furnish the first and last name of the subject along with the gender and date of birth. Additional details like any aliases, middle initial, race, nick names and maiden names will help to get accurate results. One you have filled in the search parameters, you will be redirected to the shopping cart of the ICHAT system. If you run a nonprofit organization or are conducting the search on behalf of such an organization or are part of government agency, the search fees will be waived for you.

However, regular applicants will have to pay $10 through credit card. If for some reason, you cannot pay the fees, you will need to submit a request under the FOI Act (Freedom of Information) of the state along with an indigence affidavit to the Criminal Justice Information Center. The FOI form should include your mailing address and you will have to send it to:

Criminal Justice Information Center

Freedom of Information Unit

P.O. Box 30634

333 S. Grand Ave.

Lansing, MI 48909-0634

A separate response will be provided for every subject of your inquiry; it will include physical descriptors and a list of cases against the offender. However, the CJIS does not provide details on out of state or federally held records. Also, for driving records, you will need to get in touch with the Michigan Secretary of State.

If you receive a response which states "no records meeting criteria", it simply means that information on the person in question is not available in the database. However, this does not always mean that the subject has never been involved in any illicit acts since Michigan Laws do provide for the expungement of records and information; in such cases, details are not disseminated to the general public.

For additional information, you can write to the Michigan State Police at the mailing address given above or get in touch with them over the phone at 517-241-0606. Alternatively, you could also use the electronic medium to initiate contact with the department by sending an email to MSP-CRD-ICHATHELP et michigan.gov and for billing inquiries to MSP-CRD-ACCTHELP et michigan.gov

Another approach to look for crime history information in the state of Michigan is to rummage through the judicial database. To access this, you will have to visit the official website of the court system of Michigan at http://courts.michigan.gov/Pages/default.aspx. Click on the tab that reads "cases, opinions and orders" which is at the top of the page. The drop down menu has an option "case search" use it to access the search tool of the site. The page offers 3 options for searching the judicial repository.

You can find a case through the docket number, name of the defendant or litigant and also through the name of the attorney. Once you insert the correct information in the required field and click on "search", you will be redirected to the results page which will have the case number and additional details pertaining to the matter.

How long does an arrest record/warrant stay on my file in Michigan?

Arrest warrants issued in Michigan stay valid for 99 years, so it is highly unlikely that such an order will expire during the lifetime of the accused. In fact, unlike some other states where bench warrants only remain active for a stipulated period, in Michigan these arrest orders also stay valid indefinitely. In other words, once issued, a warrant will only go out of effect when the arrest is made or if such discrepancies are observed in the decree that compromise the constitutional rights of the accused

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