Michigan Background Checks and Public Records

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The State of Michigan

Michigan, also known as the “Motor City”, is the only state in the U.S. that consists of two peninsulas – the Lower Peninsula, an industrial area, and the Upper Peninsula, a mineral-rich area. Michigan’s largest city is Detroit, but its capital is Lansing. 

Michigan is known for its abundance of lakes. Aside from the automotive industry, its biggest industries include tourism, technology, and manufacturing. It’s the tenth-most populous state, so when running background checks, be sure to check the neighboring states as well.

Counties in Michigan

AlpenaDeltaJacksonMenomineePresque Isle
BenzieGogebicLapeerMuskegonSt. Clair
BerrienGrand TraverseLeelanauNewaygoSt. Joseph
CalhounHillsdaleLivingstonOceanaVan Buren

Where To Get Public Records In Michigan

Like in most states, Michigan doesn’t maintain a central repository for its public records. These are entrusted to various law enforcement agencies and government bodies, depending on the nature of the data involved. 

If you need vital records, for instance, reach out to the Michigan Vital Records Office. They keep records of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces dating back to 1867. 

The Michigan State Police handle criminal history records, including misdemeanor arrests, conviction or dismissal statements, and incarceration details. Aside from navigating to MSP’s Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT), you may also reach out to the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

For inmate records, the Department of Corrections manages these. Through their Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS), the general public could acquire details of any misdemeanor or felony charges that occurred and filed across all states.

If you’re looking for court records, including case and jury files, judgment and witness documentation, as well as court orders and minutes, the Michigan Courts are responsible for these.

Property records are also considered public records in Michigan. For land records and register of deeds, however, there’s no state-wide database; rather, these are maintained at a county level. Hence, you need to coordinate with the local office where the site is located. The State Land Bank provides lists of publicly-owned lands for sale, while the Department of the Treasury keeps property tax records. 

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Michigan

Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act is a state law that governs public records and extends to almost all government records; however, it states a few exemptions like records relating to the governor’s office or legislature members.

Anyone, even non-Michigan residents, can request access to its public records. Several files, however, are not available for currently incarcerated individuals.

The process for requesting public records can vary per department. Some have made such data available online, while others require more formal requests, verbally or in writing. The issuing departments may charge a small fee to copy public records. Also, the state doesn’t have an appeals process in place should your request get denied. 

If the processes seem to be too tedious, you may always utilize a third-party people search engine.

Michigan Background Check Reports

Michigan background checks are requested for various purposes such as licensing, property leasing, child adoption, and volunteer placement. Background checks, however, are most commonly requested for employment purposes. 

Checks in Michigan could be name-based or fingerprint-based. A non-criminal record merely helps confirm a person’s identity, while a criminal background check provides more in-depth information, including juvenile records, arrests that result in convictions, sex offender listings, serious traffic violations, and a lot more.

While Michigan doesn’t have implemented yet state-wide ban-the-box laws, the state adheres to background check laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Per these laws, employers are prohibited from inquiring applicants about their criminal history. These aim to prevent discrimination, especially in work environments.

You may conduct background checks through the Michigan State Police’s ICHAT, or using a trustworthy third-party site.

Michigan Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Michigan Background Checks

How do I obtain a background check in Michigan?

Michigan offers two types of background checks: Name-Based and Fingerprint-Based. To conduct a Name-Based Background Check, you can use ICAT. Records that are not included on ICAT include suppressed records, warrant information, local misdemeanors, criminal history in other states, Federal records, and more. To conduct a Fingerprint-Based Background Check, the process will depend on what the check is for. 

How far back do Michigan background checks go?

There isn’t a set number of years background checks in Michigan go. Typically, it is 7 or 10 years. 

How much does a background check cost in Michigan?

It depends on the background check being requested. For ICHAT, they offer both free and paid background searches. After conducting a search on the platform, you will view the price when reviewing your order. 

Is Michigan ICHAT accurate?

Yes, ICHAT is accurate. The information is maintained by the Michigan State Police. It is required that all felonies and misdemeanors that are punishable by 93 days and more are included on the platform. 

Are court records public in Michigan?

Yes. Under Michigan Court Rule 8.119(E), court records are available to the public with some exceptions. To view case information, you can use the Michigan Case Search