Michigan Court Records
Michigan Court Records refer to the legal documentation generated by Michigan state courts. They include a wide range of documents related to legal proceedings in the state, such as criminal and civil cases, family court matters, and other court proceedings.
These records typically include information about the parties involved in the case, court orders, judgments, and other documents related to the case, such as motions, pleadings, and transcripts of court proceedings.
They are essential resources for legal professionals, researchers, journalists, and public members seeking to learn more about legal proceedings in the state.
Michigan Court Records are generally available to the public under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The FOIA establishes the right of citizens to access certain public records in the state, including court records. The law requires public bodies, including state and local government agencies, to provide access to records upon request.
Though these records are generally public, there may be some limitations or restrictions on access to certain documents based on the case's specific circumstances.
Some documents with restrictions include jury questionnaires, mediations, contact information for crime victims, and search warrants issued in less than 65 days.
Additionally, court records may be subject to redaction or other modifications to protect confidential or sensitive information.
Which Michigan Courts Maintain Publicly Accessible Records?
The Trial Courts, where most cases begin and end, maintain most public documents in the state. Thus, to start your court record search, familiarize yourself with the primary Michigan Trial Couts below:
Michigan Circuit Courts
Circuit Courts in Michigan have broad authority over all criminal and civil issues but often only hear cases that fall beyond the purview of other courts.
Some of the criminal cases that these courts can handle are as follows:
- Less serious crimes
- Juvenile delinquency
In terms of civil proceedings, they have the authority to hear the following matters:
- Disputes involving more than $25,000
- Equity claims
- Appeals of administrative agency rulings
- Domestic relations
- Juvenile proceedings
The Family Division of each Circuit Court handles domestic relations and juvenile matters, including divorce, adoption, paternity, name changes, child protection, abuse prevention, and juvenile delinquency cases.
In divorce proceedings involving minor children, Family Divisions have a Friend of the Court office that aids the court and parties with custody, support, and parenting concerns.
Michigan District Courts
District Courts in Michigan have limited authority over specific criminal and civil matters.
Under criminal jurisdiction, they can hear the following:
- Felony preliminary hearings
- Traffic violations
These courts also have the power to handle the following civil cases:
- Civil matters involving disputes of less than $25,000
- Landlord-tenant disputes
Furthermore, each District Court has a Small Claims Division for most ordinary civil matters with $6,500 or fewer claims.
Michigan Probate Courts
Probate Courts in Michigan have limited authority over probate affairs and some juvenile concerns.
Some of the cases these courts can handle include the following:
- The probate of wills
- The administration of estates and trusts
- Name changes
- Care and protection of individuals with a mental or physical handicap
Aside from the Family Division of the Circuit Court, some files related to juvenile, adoption, and name change issues are in the Probate Court in certain counties.
Michigan Municipal Courts
Municipal Courts in Michigan operate solely in Wayne County and have limited authority over specific criminal and civil disputes.
Here are the cases that a Municipal Court can hear:
- Traffic and ordinance offenses
- Felony preliminary hearings
- Civil issues involving up to $3,000 in dispute
- Landlord-tenant cases
In addition to the primary courts mentioned above, the Michigan trial court system includes Unified Trial Courts, Court of Claims, and Native American Tribal Courts.
Unified Trial Courts in Michigan are tribunals where a judge has shared jurisdictions from Circuit Courts, District Courts, and Probate Courts. Counties like Berrien, Iron, Isabella, Lake, and Washtenaw have Unified Trial Courts.
The Court of Claims has exclusive legal authority over civil actions against the State of Michigan or one of its departments. It handles matters for the entire state from the 30th Circuit Court in Ingham County.
Lastly, many Native American tribes in Michigan maintain their own separate Tribal Courts. These courts have specific reciprocal civil and criminal jurisdiction, and the State of Michigan may execute their judgments.
What are the Common Public Court Records in Michigan?
The following are the most prevalent types of public Michigan Court Records:
Michigan Civil and Small Claims Records
Michigan Civil Records are legal records that fully record civil court events and conclusions. These records often include information on disputes with a monetary stake of $25,000 or less. But some conflicts in these records may consist of more than $25,000.
Michigan's most common types of civil cases are civil infractions, equity claims, and landlord-tenant disputes.
Generally, these records may include pleadings and motions filed by the parties involved, court orders and judgments, court hearings transcripts, case evidence, financial documents, and any settlements or agreements.
To get information from a Michigan Civil Record, contact the appropriate Circuit Court or District Court in the county where the case occurred.
On the other hand, Michigan Small Claims Records compile civil cases in the state where the amount in dispute does not exceed $6,500.
The most common cases in Michigan Small Claims Records are as follows:
- Landlord-tenant security deposit disputes
- Contract disputes
- Car insurance lawsuits for not covering vehicle accident losses
- Invasion of private property for recreational reasons
- Policy violation on consumer protection
- Invalidated checks
The Small Claims Court in Michigan cannot award more than $6,500 in damages. You may still bring a lawsuit in Small Claims Court if you believe it is worth more than $6,500. However, if you do so, you forfeit any money exceeding $6,500. And you cannot file a second lawsuit based on the same disagreement after a judge or magistrate has rendered a verdict.
To get complete information from Michigan Small Claims Records, visit the Small Claims Division of the District Court in the county that handled the case.
Michigan Criminal Records
One of the most common Michigan Court Records is criminal records. These official papers outline criminal offenses committed by persons in the state. Michigan Criminal Records, sometimes known as rap sheets, include information regarding arrests, indictments, dispositions, and convictions.
Aside from the courts, the information included in criminal records is from police records and information kept by municipal and state law enforcement agencies and correctional institutions in Michigan.
Some of the common types of Michigan Criminal Records are arrest records, warrant records, inmate records, sex offender records, and conviction records.
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Michigan Traffic Records
In Michigan, public traffic records are official papers that provide detailed information on a person's driving history. These records may contain the following:
- The subject's name and address
- The driver's license number of the subject
- Traffic history, charges, convictions, and sentences
- Moving violations
- Citations for civil infractions
- Records of license suspension or revocation
- Driving points earned
In Michigan, there are many types of traffic offenses, and the most prevalent ones include speeding, failing to yield, and running a red light. The perpetrator may face a fine, license points, or even prison time, depending on the severity of the offense.
Aside from the court that heard the case, the Michigan Department of State (DOS) preserves and maintains all driving records, providing authorized parties in the state access to these papers.
If you want to obtain a traffic record in Michigan, request it through the traditional ways: in-person, by mail, or over the phone.
Bring your driver's license and payment method to any Michigan DOS office location to make an in-person request.
You must print and fill out the DOS Record Request form for mail-in requests. Then, submit the completed form and payment to the DOS mailing address (written in the form).
To make a phone request, contact the DOS Record Lookup Unit at (517) 322-1624.
Michigan Probate Records
Michigan Probate Records are legal documents that pertain to the administration of a deceased person's estate.
These records typically include information about the deceased person's assets, debts, and property, as well as the distribution of the person's assets to their heirs and beneficiaries.
Some common types of Michigan Probate Records include wills, trusts, estate inventories, letters of administration, and final accountings.
To find and obtain Michigan probate records, you must contact the Probate Court in the county where the deceased person lived or owned property. Each county maintains its own Probate Court, and the process for obtaining records may vary depending on the county.
But in most cases, you must provide certain information, such as the deceased person's name, date of death, and case number, to request the records.
You can use this page to contact and find the appropriate Probate Court in Michigan for the record you need.
Michigan Family Records
Michigan Family Records refer to the court's official documents, records, and proceedings related to legal matters involving families heard in the state. These records can include information related to divorce, child custody, child support, paternity, adoption, and other related matters.
A Family Court Record in Michigan can contain various information depending on the type of case and the specific court proceedings. Some examples of information that you can find in these records include the following:
- Basic information about the parties involved in the case, including their names, gender, and contact information
- Court documents, like petitions, complaints, motions, and orders related to the case.
- Information related to child custody and visitation, including parenting plans, custody agreements, and visitation schedules
- Financial information, such as income, expenses, and assets, particularly in cases involving child support or spousal support
- Information related to divorce, such as grounds for divorce, property division, and alimony payments
Aside from the Family Division of the Circuit Court in the county that heard the case, you can also find some Michigan Family Records in the county Probate Court and from the Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO), which oversees the state's trial courts.
Michigan Bankruptcy Records
Michigan Bankruptcy Records are not part of the state's trial court system. Instead, the federal U.S. Bankruptcy Court compiles and maintains these documents.
Bankruptcy Records in Michigan are documents that record the details of a bankruptcy filing in the state. These records contain information about individuals and businesses who have filed for bankruptcy protection.
Under the Bankruptcy Code, a person or non-individual debtor has different options in filing for bankruptcy in Michigan. They can file for a specific chapter depending on the amount of debt, income level, and intended result of the case.
They can file for Chapter 7 if their monthly income exceeds the state's median income. In contrast, debtors with a stable income may apply for Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to repay their debts within a specific period.
After filing, a typical Michigan Bankruptcy Record may have the following information:
- Bankruptcy chapter filed
- Name of all debtors and parties or creditors involved
- Status and outcome of the case
- Involuntary or voluntary petitions
- Date of filing
- Case number
- The attorney's information of the debtor
- List of assets
- The case Judge's name
- Discharge dates
- Trustee information
The U.S. Bankruptcy Courts for Western and Eastern Michigan Districts serve as the state's archives for bankruptcy records. With the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) assistance, they can give you copies of Michigan Bankruptcy Records online upon request.
You can also go to the courthouse and ask to see the bankruptcy records in person. The court clerk will help you identify the needed papers and make copies.
Does Michigan Have a Case Search?
Michigan has MiCOURT Case Search, where you can get electronic Michigan Court Records. However, the information available in this system is for informational use only and does not substitute the official record on file with the court. This online service restricts downloading large quantities of data and its use for commercial purposes.
In this system, once you have selected the appropriate county court, you can search through name or case number.
Thus, the first step in obtaining court documents in Michigan is to identify the courthouses where the relevant actions occurred. You can use this Trial Court Directory to locate the correct court.
Additionally, Michigan has an Advance Case Search portal to search cases, opinions, and orders from the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
If the court record you need is unavailable on these case search portals or you want complete files, submit a record request in person or by mail to the county court clerk or the agency that compiled the case records.
Most courts have a form you can fill out to request court records. Like online case searches, you need to provide information about the case, such as the parties' names and the case number. You may also need to pay a fee to obtain the records. Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 600.2546 authorizes courts to charge a fee for certified copies of court records.
Counties in Michigan
- Grand Traverse
- Presque Isle
- Saint Clair
- Saint Joseph
- Van Buren
Courts in Michigan
List of Content
- Which Michigan Courts Maintain Publicly Accessible Records?
- What are the Common Public Court Records in Michigan?
- Does Michigan Have a Case Search?