Michigan Arrest Records and Warrant Search

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What is an arrest warrant in Michigan?

In the state of Michigan, an arrest warrant is defined as a written judicial order issued against the alleged perpetrator of a crime in response to writ filed in court against him/her by law enforcement personnel or the victim of the crime. All warrants issued in Michigan are to be supported by a sworn statement filed in court that establishes the probable cause for suspecting the individual for the crime in question.

While all warrants for detention authorize police officials to take the person in whose name the decree has been issued into custody, warrants do come in different forms. For instance, although a written affidavit is a mandatory perquisite for the issue of an arrest warrant, this rule is waived in case of an administrative order for detention which is issued for the re-arrest of a parole violator. However, the rule does apply when a person is to be re-taken in connection to a supervised release violation.

The issue of arrest warrants

Warrants issued to bring in people who have failed to appear in court or respect a directive from the tribunal do not require a sworn affidavit. In fact, unlike regular arrest warrants, these orders for detention can also be issued by magistrates of civil tribunals while warrants in felony and misdemeanor offenses can only be released by the judge of a court that hears criminal matters.

All complaints filed in court to obtain an arrest warrant must be backed by factual finding. This simply means that an arrest warrant will not be issued just because the investigating officers feel or believe that the crime has been committed by a certain individual unless such an inference is supported by witness testimony and proof.

Yet, a pre-warrant hearing should not be confused with the trial proper, so while probable cause has to be clearly established for the issue of a warrant, there is no need to prove the crime in court. The only thing that the law enforcement agents have to do is prove that there is ground for a reasonable person to believe that the person in whose name the warrant is being sought was indeed a part of the act.

The different types of arrest processes released by the courts of Michigan

A telephonic warrant:This is simply an arrest order issued in response to a telephonic communication between the magistrate and the affiant or when the complaint is filed by means that do not involve a personal appearance in court. The complaint is filed through phone, facsimile or electronically in this case and the warrant is also issued through similar channels. Such warrants are issued pursuant to Michigan PC 817 (c) and (f).

A Ramey warrant: This refers to an arrest decree that is issued before a court filing is made against a specific defendant. To put it simply, these are pre-filing arrest warrants which are released without the filing of a formal complaint in court.

A John Doe warrant: This type of an arrest order is issued when the name or aliases of the accused are not known. In such a scenario, a physical description or a DNA profile are offered to assist the law enforcement agents in making the arrest.

When is an arrest warrant issued in Michigan State?

Pursuant to Michigan Penal Code 813, a warrant can only be issued when the sitting magistrate of a tribunal that has criminal jurisdiction is completely satisfied that the offense did occur and it was indeed committed by the person in question. An arrest warrant is issued in the state of Michigan to bring in a person accused of a felony as well as serious misdemeanor.

Such a detention decree is only required when the crime is not committed in front of a law enforcement officer. This means that a warrant is not a requisite for arrest if a perpetrator is picked up from the scene of the crime or if a police officer is a witness to an illicit act. Also, a formal arrest order is not required when a person is found to be in possession of illegal substances or arms during a routine stop and check.

Why do the police need an arrest warrant?

A warrant for arrest confers upon police officers the right to enter the home or workplace of the accused in order to effect the arrest. In fact, they are also allowed to enter third party premises if they suspect that accused is hiding there. Also, peace officers are authorized to use reasonable means of force required to bring in the alleged suspect.

Under the authority granted to law enforcement agents by such a detention decree, the arresting officers can pick up any item found in the house or office of the accused which is lying in plain view and which can be used as proof in court. However, for an extensive search of the property, the police will have to bring a formal search warrant along.

What happens once a warrant has been issued?

Once an arrest warrant is issued against an individual, there are no bindings in terms of time or geography in the execution of such an order. So, the offender can be picked up at anytime during the day or night and from just about anywhere.

In fact, in cases pertaining to felony, arrests can also be made outside the issuing county and even the state.In case of warrants issued in misdemeanor matters, the arrest can only be made between 6 am and 10 pm unless the arrest order has been endorsed for night service.

Upon the issue of an arrest warrant, law enforcement agents are legally bound to present the defendant before the court at the earliest. So, the warrant is rapidly executed and after questioning and investigation, the accused is generally brought to the court within 48 hours. If bail is specified on the warrant, the defendant may secure his release by posting the security amount.

However, this is seldom done in case of felonies; so in such a scenario, the arrested individual has to wait for an arraignment and bail hearing before formal charges are filed by the state against him and he is made to stand trial for his indiscretions. If found guilty, a punitive sentence is dispensed against the person and he/she is sent to the Michigan Department of Corrections for serving time.

Warrants and their validity

Arrest warrants issued in Michigan have a validity of 99 years at the minimum, so to put it simply, no extension is required on such orders because they never go out of effect. All active warrants issued in the state are merely stored in the state and national database under the name of outstanding warrants. The only time the court purges or recalls a warrant is if probable cause ceases to exist against the individual because another person is found culpable for the crime

What resources are available for arrest records and warrant searches in Michigan?

Justice agencies offer a myriad of options for gathering information on arrest records in Michigan; these include:

  • To gather data on prisoners serving time in the incarceration facilities across the state, you can use the online tool at http://mdocweb.state.mi.us/OTIS2/otis2.html
  • It is also possible to use the ICHAT tool provided by the Crime Justice Information center of Michigan to access details on arrest records from the state. To use this facility, visit the official website of the agency at https://apps.michigan.gov/ichat/home.aspx
  • The sex offender registry provided in the interest of public safety can be accessed at http://www.mipsor.state.mi.us/
  • The judiciary of Michigan also maintains their very own database of case records which can be browsed through online at http://courts.mi.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Crime rates in Michigan

From 1999 to 2008, almost 4,000, 0000 crimes were reported in the state of Michigan of which almost 15% were instances of violent crime and included an estimated 6500 instances of homicide and well over 50,000 sexual assaults. However, the remaining 85% of cases were attributed to property crimes.

Over the ten year duration from 1999 to 2008, the crime average for the state reduced by almost 25% while an improvement of over 10% was also observed in instances of violent crime. Yet, an illicit act is committed in Michigan every hour and most of these crimes transpire within a mile of the victim’s home or office.

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