Michigan Warrant Search – Outstanding & Active Warrants in MI


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Michigan Criminal Laws 764-1 is used to understand the procedure incorporated for the issue of legal instruments such as arrest warrants. This section explains the importance of the complaint filed in order to procure an order for arrest and the role of the judiciary played in the process.

Pursuant to this law, a person who is being charged with a felony or a grave misdemeanor must be apprehended under the provision of an arrest warrant unless such a criminal transgression has been committed in open view of a law enforcement agent in which case, the officer can arrest this offender on the spot. While a magistrate has the authority to accept the petition for a warrant or deny it, this section clearly states that the sitting judge will not issue an active warrant when the offense in question is minor.

If not warrants for arrests, then what?

If the crime commissioned is trivial, a summons may be issued in place of an active warrant. Only two exceptions exist when this rule might be rolled back and a warrant issued:

  • If the prosecution gives an authorization in writing to the magistrate, requesting that an arrest warrant be sanctioned
  • When security for the cost of issuing and serving the process is filed with the judge

Complaints and their submission by new age methods

A complaint has to be filed with the local tribunal for a pre-warrant hearing to be held. This affidavit can also be transmitted to the court via electromagnetic means. This provision has been included in the penal code to ensure that warrants are quickly and efficiently granted.

If the petition for the warrant is being relayed through new age means like facsimile, such an affidavit will need to include an authorization from the prosecuting attorney. If the judge allows witnesses to offer their testimony over the phone, the signature on the transcript of this affirmation can be collected electronically.

Once the warrant is granted, the magistrate sends the original order to the sheriff's office while keeping a copy of the warrant for his own office as well as that of the clerk of court's.

The basis for issuing an active warrant

Michigan Laws 764.1a mentions that a magistrate can only issue a warrant in response to the filing of an affidavit. Yet, despite a complaint being submitted the final decision on whether to grant an active warrant rests on finding reasonable cause. This also holds true in case of search warrants. The only time this rule is bent is when the order to be issued is a bench order. Court directives termed as bench warrants can released without supporting affidavits.

The determination of reasonable cause can be based on the following:

  • Any factual evidence including allegations on the complainant
  • Sworn testimony from the witnesses or the victim
  • An affidavit filed under oath by the affiant
  • Any supplemental sworn testimony or affidavits

Is a warrant search in Michigan possible?

If you are looking for crime history information including arrest records and warrants, you will be happy to know that Michigan is an open records state in which it is possible for civilian applicants to procure limited crime history data from state agencies. The term "limited information" used here refers to conviction details alone which are made a part of public records.

In other words, if it is a warrant search that you are after, you will not be able to find information on outstanding warrants that have yet to be served from a government department. However, it is possible to get your hands on data pertaining to warrants issued in cases that have ended in a conviction. This can be found through the Department of Corrections on their website at http://www.michigan.gov/corrections/0,1607,7-119-1409---,00.htmlor by searching through the court records.

For generic crime history data as well as specific name searches, you can also approach the office of the sheriff and the department of the county clerk which has the court dockets database. Studying the court records will enable you to understand everything that went on through the lifecycle of a case. Alternatively, you could also find information through the most wanted lists posted on the website of the State Police and those of local sheriffs' departments.

To get a detailed crime history report, get in touch with the Michigan State Police through their website at http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123-1589_1878_8311-16223--,00.htmlor by visiting the agency office at Michigan Dept. of State Police, CJIC, Freedom of Information Unit, 106 W. Allegan StreetLansing, MI 48933. To initiate the warrant search, you will have to submit the form available at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ri-101_6455_7.pdf with a $10 check