With a population of around 10 million, Michigan is the 10th most populated state and the 18th most densely populated state in the country. As home to a number of high-poverty, crime-plagued urban areas, the state has a high 4.49 per 1,000 violent crime rate.
Detroit is Michigan’s largest and most dangerous city, with a remarkably high violent crime rate of 20.08 per 1,000. Interestingly, Michigan doesn’t experience a high concentration of arrests, earning the 4th lowest arrests per capita rate in the country.
Michigan Arrest and Crime Statistics
- In 2018, 235,757 arrests were made in Michigan, as reported by 611 law enforcement agencies. Of these arrests, 13,267 were of minors under the age of 18.
- The leading identified cause of arrest in Michigan was drug abuse violations, accounting for over 30 thousand arrests.
- Michigan has the 4th highest rate of registered sex offenders in the United States with 440 per 100K.
What is a public arrest record?
An arrest record is a report produced by a law enforcement entity after the arrest or apprehension of an individual which contains the details of the incident, the individual’s personal information, and occasionally includes additional information about the individual’s criminal record.
An arrest record is often a key document in a criminal case and may play a significant role in an ensuing trial. The arrest record may remain in the public record for a long time regardless of whether the suspect is ultimately convicted of the crime(s) for which they were initially arrested. This means that it can be accessed by the general public.
What is included in a public arrest record?
- Description of the incident: An arrest record will include a chronological account of the alleged crime produced by the arresting officer that may utilize information provided by first-hand witnesses and/or victims of the alleged crime.
- Date and location of the arrest
- Physical description: The height, weight, hair color, sex, and race of the arrested person, along with other distinguishing characteristics such as tattoos, scars, or birthmarks.
- Personal information: The name, age, date of birth, phone number, address, social security number, and other contact information of the arrested individual, as well as any other names the person may go by.
- Criminal charges filed
- Classification of the crime: Whether the alleged crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.
- Court date
- Police interrogation details
What are the types of charges that may appear on an arrest record?
Generally, charges are classified into three main categories:
- Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is typically a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering.
- Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, but less severe than a felony, and generally punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
- Felony – A felony is the most serious type of crime and generally results in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Having a felony on one’s record may result in limitations of employment and the acquisition of specialty licenses. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and arson.
Who can access arrest records?
As in most other states, arrest records (also known as arrest reports) are public records in Michigan and can be accessed by anyone upon request to a law enforcement agency, and may come up during a routine background check.
Other examples of Michigan public records include:
- vital records such as birth and death certificates
- marriage licenses
- court records
- voting records
- property records
Where are physical copies of arrest records kept in Michigan?
Arrest records are typically held by the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest, usually a local police department or county sheriff’s office. They also may be kept in the archive of a state government agency, or circuit court. However, there is no official repository for arrest records.
Why can’t I access an arrest record in Michigan?
There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to access an arrest record. Although the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies to release arrest records and other public records, records that fall under certain exemptions can be withheld from the public.
The FOIA includes nine exemptions that allow agencies to withhold documents, such as arrest records, and not release them to the public. They are:
- The information is classified to protect natural security.
- The information focuses on the internal rules and practices of the agency.
- Another federal law prohibits the release of the information.
- The information includes confidential trade secrets and/or commercial and financial information.
- The information includes privileged, confidential communicative exchanges between two agencies.
- The information could pose a danger to another person’s privacy if released.
- The information is reserved for law enforcement purposes in a court case or an investigation or could reveal a confidential source.
- The information includes confidential information about financial institution supervision.
- The information includes geographical information about wells.
Additionally, some state laws limit the availability of arrest records due to the fact that they are perceived as one-sided documents that do not include the arrested person’s account of the incident.
What is the difference between an arrest record and a criminal record?
Compared to an arrest record, a criminal record is a more thorough document that details an individual’s entire criminal history, including arrest warrants, arrests, third party complaints, convictions, and even dropped cases.
What is the difference between an arrest record and an arrest warrant?
An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that grants law enforcement the authority to arrest an individual suspected of a crime or to search and seize the individual’s property, whereas an arrest record is a document of an arrest that is only created after an arrest or apprehension has already occurred.
In order for a judge or magistrate to issue an arrest warrant, they must conclude that there is probable cause for an arrest. Probable cause must be backed by sworn testimony or an affidavit that provides sufficient information supporting the need for an arrest. An arrest warrant must also specify one individual that should be arrested, rather than a group of individuals or a rough description of a suspect.
How many Americans have been arrested?
While crime has steadily dropped in the United States over the past several decades, arrests have gone up, particularly for younger age groups. Typically, law enforcement makes around 10 million arrests each year. Here are some key statistics on arrests in the United States:
- In 2018, around 10.3 million arrests were made nationwide.
- 73% of arrested persons in 2018 were males.
- The more recent an American was born, the greater the likelihood that the individual has been arrested at least once. The following is the percentage of Americans in various age groups that have been arrested:
- 6.4% of Americans born before 1949
- 10.7% of Americans born between 1949 and 1958
- 13.8% of Americans born between 1959 and 1968
- 18.7% of Americans born between 1969 and 1978
- 23% of Americans born between 1979-1988
How to search online for Arrest Records in Michigan
Arrest records and other Michigan criminal history information can be searched using the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (iCHAT) provided by the Michigan State Police.
iCHAT is a fee-based service that allows individuals to perform name-based Michigan criminal history background checks. Here is some important information about the service:
- Users must first register before conducting a search.
- Each search costs $10.
- Official tutorials are provided for different aspects of ICHAT.
- Once a search is paid for, results are viewable for seven days.
- Results will not be mailed.
- Users cannot search by driver’s license number or social security number.
- The ICHAT database contains a personal description of the subject searched, as well as felony and serious misdemeanor convictions and felony arrests.
- The database does not contain traffic records, federal records, arrest warrants, juvenile records, criminal history from other states, sealed records, or juvenile records.
If you any questions or concerns about the ICHAT service, you can contact support at 517-241-0606, or send a message at the bottom of this page.
How can I search for a Michigan arrest record on the internet using a background check service?
Since tracking down physical copies of arrest records can prove challenging, searching for them online is a viable option. There is a wealth of online services that allow you to search and access Michigan arrest records and other public records via numerous government agency databases in exchange for a fee.
However, despite the fact that users must pay to obtain an arrest record from an online service, it’s nevertheless a convenient means of getting these documents. The offices of government agencies are often marred by inconsistent service and take a long time to process requests to view documents.
Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a fee to use an online background check service, rather than endure the extended delays typical of government offices.
What can I do if my arrest record has a mistake?
If your Michigan criminal record or arrest record has inaccurate or incomplete information, you can submit a challenge to the Michigan State Police to have the information fixed. In order to submit a challenge, you’ll need to have your fingerprints taken at a local law enforcement agency or MSP office.
Follow these steps to challenge a mistake on your Michigan arrest record or criminal history record:
- Highlight the mistake on a copy of your Michigan criminal record.
- Gather any documents in your possession that support your challenge.
- Write a short note describing the mistake and how you’d wish to see it amended.
- Get your fingerprints taken at a local law enforcement agency or MSP office.
- Complete a Request for Amendment of Public Criminal History Record form.
- Mail the copy of the criminal record, form, fingerprint card, written note, and any supporting documents to:
Michigan State Police
Criminal Justice Information Center
ATTN: Record Challenge
P.O. Box 30636
Lansing, Michigan 48909-0634
If you’re worried that someone you know or love has a criminal record and maybe hiding it from you, run a quick background check online with ArrestRecords.com. Thanks to public records laws, almost all Michigan arrests, criminal and civil records are available online, as well as comprehensive background checks and secret data. You can even find Michigan marriage records, secret divorce records as well as birth and death records.
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