How to Run a Criminal History Check
Maybe you are worried about sex offenders living near you or your children or are just curious about a neighbor’s past. Either way, there are resources you can utilize to find sex offenders in your neighborhood as well as information about your neighbor’s criminal history such as what the charge was, when the offense occurred, what the person was convicted of, and what they were sentenced to.
Sex Offender Search
Convicted sex offenders who qualify under the Sex Offenders Registration Act are listed on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry website, which can be accessed here. You can conduct a sex offender search in Michigan on offenders within .25 to 5 miles from any location. The website provides an offender’s vehicle information as well as addresses for their work, school, and home.
Criminal Record Search
Criminal background checks can be done by running an individual’s ICHAT. ICHAT Michigan costs $10 to run a record and requires the person’s first and last name, date of birth, and race.
OTIS contains information about prisoners, parolees, and probationers who were or are under the supervision of the Michigan Department of Corrections. Information is only on OTIS for three years from the person’s discharge date.
VINE allows the public to see an offender’s custody status and limited case information. The site is geared towards victims, but can be used by anyone. It has features that allow you to be notified of changes in a person’s status. For example, you can request a phone call, email, text, and even TTY if you would like to get notification of an offender’s court dates.
Is the Information Accurate?
Although uncommon, it’s important to note that these websites might host incorrect or outdated information. The best way to confirm information is to contact the court the individual was or will be sentenced in.
How to Find the Right Court
To find the correct court, you must know the city the incident took place in. For instance, if John Doe broke into a home in Rochester Hills, you would google “Rochester Hills Michigan court” and would see that the 52-3 District Court would handle the case since Rochester Hills is in that court’s jurisdiction.
Courts usually handle incidents that occur in the same city they are located in. However, not every city has its own court. Therefore, some courts have jurisdiction over multiple cities. For example, the 44th District Court in Royal Oak has jurisdiction over incidents that occur in Royal Oak and Berkley.
If you do not know the city, you can narrow down your search if you know the county. Although it’s a tedious task, you could call every district court in the county. For instance, if you know John Doe had a DUI case in Oakland County, you could call every district court in Oakland County and inquire about the case.
If you would rather search online than make phone calls, you can see if the court has an online search engine. For example, I googled “royal oak district court case search.” Below, you can see Google found that Royal Oak has an online search engine.
You can run a case search through the Michigan Courts website, which allows you to search for cases in courts all over Michigan. Simply select the court from a drop-down menu and enter either the person’s name or case number.
Federal cases can be searched on PACER. You need to make an account to run searches. Registering won’t cost anything, but running searches costs $0.10 cents a page.
Below are some Michigan circuit courts that have search engines:
● Oakland County Circuit Court
● Wayne County Circuit Court
● Washtenaw County Circuit Court
● Macomb County Circuit Court
● St. Clair County Circuit Court
Sarah Tarockoff is the Paralegal at The Law Offices of Barton Morris. She earned a Paralegal Certificate from Oakland Community College in 2015 and graduated from Oakland University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a concentration in criminal justice. She completed internships at the 52-3 District Court where she aided probation officers in the Probation Department and at Bernstein & Bernstein, where she worked closely with attorneys and paralegals on various litigation-related matters.