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Michigan Warrant Search

Michigan Warrant Search is a process of checking for outstanding warrants issued by a court in the state.

A Michigan warrant is a legal document issued by a court authorizing law enforcement officials to take specific actions, such as arresting someone or searching a property. A Michigan court can issue various warrants, including bench, arrest, and search warrants, each serving a different purpose.

A judge or magistrate in Michigan typically issues a warrant after a law enforcement officer shows probable cause. Probable cause is a legal standard that requires a reasonable ground that there is a committed crime and that the individual named in the warrant is responsible.

The relationship between warrants and probable cause in Michigan protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures while allowing law enforcement officials to conduct investigations and bring criminals to justice.

The information contained in a state warrant varies depending on the specific circumstances of the case, but generally, it will include the following information:

  • The warrantee's name
  • The alleged offense(s) for which the person is being accused or charged
  • Date of issuance of the warrant
  • The warrant's issuing jurisdiction
  • The name of the court or judge that issued the warrant
  • The date and time the warrant becomes active or effective
  • Any warrant execution conditions, such as a "no-knock" entry

The law that makes warrants and other court documents publicly accessible in Michigan is the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Michigan FOIA requires that certain government records be accessible to the public upon request unless there is a specific exemption under the law.

How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in Michigan?

Law enforcement does not disregard outstanding warrants. Although most Michigan offenses have a statute of limitations of six to ten years, warrants have no statute of limitations and do not expire even after 10 to 20 years.

However, several factors can impact the length of time a warrant remains active in Michigan, including the type of warrant, the efforts made by law enforcement officials to locate the individual, and the court's jurisdiction.

An arrest warrant or bench warrant remains active until the individual named in the warrant is arrested and brought before a judge. Similarly, a search warrant is valid until the action it mandates is executed.

But if a court finds sufficient reasons to revoke and nullify a warrant and does so, the warrant becomes instantly unenforceable.

What Are the Most Common Warrants in Michigan?

Some of the most typical warrants in the state that you may discover while doing a Michigan Warrant Search are as follows:

Michigan Arrest Warrant

During a criminal investigation, Michigan law enforcement officials may need to detain specific people of interest. When officers arrest during or shortly after the conduct of a crime, they are not required to provide an arrest warrant.

However, if enough time has elapsed since the conduct of the crime, the arresting authorities must provide a valid arrest warrant.

In Michigan, arrest warrants give the police the authority to arrest and detain a person suspected of committing a crime. The warrant authorizes the police to enter the person's home or other property, if necessary, to execute the arrest. However, the police must follow specific procedures when executing an arrest warrant to protect the individual's rights.

Some of the rights that individuals have when a judge or magistrate issues this warrant include the following:

  • The right to know the charges against themselves
  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to an attorney
  • The right to a hearing
  • The right to be free from unreasonable seizures and searches as per the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

A judge or magistrate in Michigan may issue an arrest warrant after law enforcement or prosecutors file a criminal complaint. The courts thoroughly evaluate allegations and issue warrants only when substantial reasons exist.

According to the Michigan Court Rules, to be valid, an arrest warrant must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The warrant must state that there is probable cause for the arrest
  • An impartial magistrate or judge issued the warrant, which must have its official seal
  • An arrest warrant must specify the person and offense. It must have the person's name, physical description, and other identifying information
  • An accurate police affidavit must have supported the warrant

Can Michigan Police Arrest You Without a Warrant?

While warrantless arrests are uncommon, they do occur on occasion. Under Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 764.15 of the Michigan Code of Criminal Procedure, a peace officer can perform a warrantless arrest under some of the following circumstances:

  • If a peace officer witnessed an ordinance offense, misdemeanor, or felony
  • If a peace officer has sufficient grounds to believe the defendant committed a felony
  • If a peace officer has reliable information that another court has issued a warrant for the defendant's arrest
  • If a peace officer has probable grounds to think the subject committed a misdemeanor carrying a sentence of more than 92 days
  • If a peace officer has reasonable grounds to think the individual is an escaped inmate who has broken their parole, conditional release, probation, or pardon orders

Michigan Search Warrant

The Search Warrants Act 189 of 1966 empowers a judge or district court magistrate to issue a warrant authorizing a search of a house, building, or other location where the subject of the search is situated. This form of order is known as a search warrant.

A search warrant in Michigan requires strict adherence to the Fourth Amendment and Michigan state law before issuance.

What Are the Search Warrant Requirements in Michigan?

As per the Fourth Amendment and Michigan state law, the following are the general requirements for issuing a search warrant in Michigan:

Probable Cause and an Affidavit   

Apart from the Fourth Amendment, MCL 780.653 requires that there must be probable cause before a judge or magistrate can issue a search warrant. That indicates a reasonable suspicion that the searched area contains evidence of a crime.

Also, affidavits describing the location and items to be searched must accompany search warrant requests. The affidavit must contain information about the suspect or suspects who are the subject of the investigation and the name and title of the affiant, who is the law enforcement officer submitting the affidavit.


The search warrant affidavit must describe the target place and the items to be seized. As per MCL 780.652, among the included properties and other items that law enforcement agents may search and take with a warrant are as follows:

  • Stolen or embezzled stuff
  • Things used to commit a crime
  • Things owned and operated in violation of state law
  • Crime evidence
  • Contraband items
  • People and animals alleged to have been victims of a crime, or their corpses
  • Individuals for whom a judge issued an arrest warrant due to a criminal crime
  • Bench warrant holders in criminal cases

Knock and Announce Requirements

Before executing the search warrant, law enforcement officers must knock and announce their presence and purpose.

However, under the MCL 780.656, the police officer may break any outer or inner door or window of a house or structure to carry out the warrant if they are refused access after giving notice.

Tabulation, Filing, and Custody of Property Seized Upon Search

As per MCL 780.655, when an officer carries out a search warrant and finds property or other things that a search warrant can take, the officer must make a complete and accurate list of those properties and items.

The officer who takes property or other items under a warrant shall deliver a copy of the warrant and a copy of the tabulation to the property owner or leave them at the site.

The judge or district court magistrate must receive the tabulation from the officer, and they may suppress the tabulation until the resolution of the matter. The police will carefully store the seized items and goods until needed for trial.

What Constitutes an Invalid Search Warrant in Michigan?

In Michigan, a search warrant may be invalid for several reasons. Here are some of the common reasons that may render a Michigan search warrant null:

  • The absence of an affidavit establishing probable cause for the search
  • A warrant application that fails to include required information or contains false statements
  • If the warrant is too broad or vague
  • If the police exceed the scope of the warrant by searching areas or seizing items not authorized by the warrant
  • If the magistrate is biased or has a conflict of interest

If these factors are present, a Michigan search warrant may be invalid, and courts may suppress search-related evidence.

Michigan Bench Warrant

Another most-common warrant you will encounter when you perform a Michigan Warrant Search is the bench warrant.

A bench warrant in Michigan is a court order that authorizes law enforcement to take a person into custody and bring them before a judge or court.

A judge in Michigan typically issues a bench warrant when a person fails to appear in court as required, but they can also order this paper for other reasons, such as failing to pay fines or violating any court orders.

What is Failure to Appear in Michigan?

Failure to appear in Michigan typically occurs when defendants arrested for bailable crimes fail to appear in court on the hearing date.

If the defendant fails to appear in court within 48 hours, the court will issue a bench warrant unless there is a compelling basis for the court to schedule a new hearing.

Failure to appear could lead to further criminal penalties. As per MCL 780.62, this conduct is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine or up to one year in prison. In addition, the court may suspend the defaulter's driver's license.

What is Failure to Pay in Michigan?

Failure to pay in Michigan occurs when a person fails to pay fines, restitution, or other court-ordered financial responsibilities. It can occur in criminal and civil cases, resulting in severe consequences.

For example, a person who does not pay a court-ordered fine might face up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $100, and a possible driver's license suspension.

Suppose the court orders a person to pay support for a previous or present spouse or child but fails to pay the amount of support. In that case, the person commits a felony, which could lead to up to four years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,000.

How To Perform Warrant Search in Michigan?

You can perform Michigan Warrant Search in several ways, but the most convenient way to discover a warrant is to do an online search available at most government offices.

One example is the Records Request Portal of the Michigan State Police, where you can create an account using "MILogin" and search for warrant information. You can also browse the public records of the county court's website in your location.

In both cases, you must supply personal information such as your name or court case number to obtain information from a warrant.

Another option to perform a warrant search in Michigan is by contacting the court clerk in the area where you suspect a warrant exists. Often, this will include supplying information such as a complete name, date of birth, date of the warrant's issuance, case type, and other pertinent information.

Most of the time, you will find the phone number to call on the contact page or section of the court's official website.

The last alternative is to go to the appropriate courts and seek a warrant search in person. However, a warrant search in person may result in an immediate arrest.

If you have an outstanding warrant, it's in your best interest to take immediate action to resolve the situation. It may include contacting a lawyer, turning yourself into the authorities, or taking steps to address the underlying legal issue that led to the warrant in the first place.

Failure to do so can result in additional legal consequences and make it more challenging to resolve the situation.


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