Your criminal history in Michigan is maintained by the Michigan State Police. Cases that are closed without a conviction are not supposed to be public record; however, closed cases frequently show up in public records searches because the information collected by MSP is not complete or it is inaccurate. If the closure of a case is not reported accurately, MSP will not remove the record and it wilAll Slidesl be open for public view indefinitely. Cases that are closed with a conviction remain on a person’s criminal history.
How Reporting of a Criminal History in Michigan is Supposed to Work
When someone is arrested for a felony, misdemeanor (punishable by 93 days or more), or a juvenile offense, the law enforcement agency is required to report that individual’s biometric data (fingerprints) to the Michigan State Police. When there is a conviction, acquittal, dismissal (also called nolle prosequi), plea of guilty or no contest or other disposition is entered, Michigan law requires the court to send that information to the Michigan State Police. MSP is supposed to update the criminal history with the court disposition.
Records that permanently stay on a criminal history by law include (unless expunged):
- Pending cases with a bench warrant issued.
- Finding of guilty but mentally ill
- Finding of guilty by jury or bench trial
- Plead guilty or nolo contendere or no contest
- Finding of guilt for a PPO violation
- Adjudication of guilt in a juvenile proceeding
- What about everything else? It should be removed!
Dismissals and Acquittals are Supposed to Be Removed
Under Michigan law, a person is released without a charge and not charged within a reasonable period of time (usually 12 months), the fingerprints and arrest card are supposed to be destroyed and erased from the criminal history. The same is true for charges that are not authorized against a juvenile. If a person is found “not guilty” or charges are dismissed (nolle prosequi), the biometric data and arrest card are required to be destroyed. In reality, this rarely happens and arrests frequently stay on criminal records. Now that a person’s criminal history in Michigan is so easy to get from public records, arrests that did not result in any conviction are routinely used to discriminate against job applicants, students, professionals, parents in divorce proceedings, immigrants, and much more.
Under Advisements, Expungements and Delayed Sentences
Under Michigan law, a case that is taken under advisement, like HYTA, 7411 or 769.4a, should not appear on a criminal history at all, unless there is a violation of probation and a subsequent conviction entered. Convictions with a delayed sentence, even if the case is scheduled to be dismissed at the end of probation, do appear on a criminal history; however, convictions for cases that are later dismissed after a delayed sentence should be removed from the public records. A conviction that is expunged should not appear at all on any public record.
What happens if the information is not reported by court or it is reported inaccurately?
Unfortunately, court clerks routinely enter information in their computers that is either incorrect or does not match the data entered upon arrest. If the original data was entered inaccurately by the police station and then an update is entered correctly by a court clerk, the criminal history will not be removed. The most common reason arrests improperly stay on a person’s criminal history is because of inaccurate record reporting. The Michigan State Police will not remove records unless the codes, information and identifying data matches exactly. When simple errors are routinely made, it results in offenses being improperly reported and included on criminal history records.
Want to remove an arrest from your criminal history in Michigan?
The law is clear on what arrests should be removed from a person’s criminal history in Michigan; however, the Michigan State Police and courts are frequently not cooperative in correcting these records. The vast majority of criminal defense lawyers in Michigan have no idea how the law works in this highly technical and specialized area. If you want help removing an arrest from your criminal history in Michigan, please call us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and an experienced criminal defense lawyer will promptly contact you.