Free Background Check Michigan: Criminal Records, Employment

A portrait of Background Check Records founder, Jayson Baxter.Written by Jayson Baxter

Background Checks | June 7, 2023

A man wearing a light blue t-shirt and dark blue pants is standing on the right holding a grey magnifying glass pointed at a computer monitor that has the words "Michigan Records" and the state of Michigan outlines in yellow while a woman on the right has black hair, a yellow t-shirt, and blue jeans on as she looks at her free background check Michigan report. on the right holding a grey magnifying glass

Table of Contents

To run a free background check, Michigan residents and even those outside the state can do so for free by stirring through public records such as criminal history, marital status, probation information, driving records, and other details that provide insight into someone’s life.

For those hoping to avoid looking through countless government databases, a free background check can also be done by using the form above.

However, with more than 4 million people in the Michigan workforce, its instrumental to understand that background checks for employment or other professional purposes must abide by 2022 legislation, remain FCRA compliant, and obtain the persons’ consent.1

No matter the case, being familiar with the intricacies of personal and professional background checks can help anyone find information on another person, know what laws need to be considered, figure out how long it takes, what shows up, how to pass them and any offenses that serve as disqualifiers.

Free Michigan Background Check (Access Free Public Criminal Records in MI)

Individuals wishing to see what shows up on their background check report can search a number of state and local agencies for information. Most records through official government agencies are public records and can be accessed by the subject of the record for personal reasons.

A professional background check, Michigan and elsewhere, must be conducted in compliance with state and federal laws regarding lookback period, content, and use of records too.

Criminal History Check Through the Michigan State Police

Those wishing to see if they have a criminal history in Michigan can access their records through the Michigan State Police via the ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool) online. ICHAT is the only official source of criminal history reports in Michigan and requires registration to use the system.2

A screenshot showing ICHAT or Internet Criminal History Access Tool search feature that has fields such as first name, last name, date of birth, race, gender and the reason for the search is required too.

Records can be accessed and printed immediately after payment is processed through the system. ICHAT is a name-based search only and does not cover fingerprinting searches. Only non-profit organizations and government agencies can search ICHAT for free, all other searches carry a fee of $10 per report.2

The state police provide background report services whether it is for personal use by the subject of the record or for a state of Michigan background check for employment.

How To Get a Background Check in Michigan & Check Criminal Records for Free Using Court Records

Court records in Michigan can be accessed for free using the MiCourt Case Search Portal online through the Michigan Judicial Branch. Records obtained through the search do not replace official background checks; however, it is a way for an individual to see if they have a court record.3

A screenshot of the Michigan Courts website showing that records can be searched by case, opinion, and orders.

Searches are broken down by the court or the court where the case was heard. Information obtained can be regarding criminal court cases, civil court, probate matters, or family court matters. Records that have not been sealed or expunged are available through the online system.3

Find Vital Records Through Using Michigan County Clerk Offices

County clerk offices for each of the 83 counties in Michigan maintain a number of records for the residents of the county in which they live. These records include the following:

  • Births Records
  • Deaths
  • Marriages
  • Voter Registration
  • Property ownership (addresses)
  • Notary applications

Many offices have online search portals as well as in-person services. For example, Wayne County Clerk’s office has an online request option but also fulfills records requests in person by appointment. Requests can also be made via mail at Wayne County Clerk’s Office, 400 Monroe St, Suite Number 605, Detroit, Michigan 48226.4

This includes vital statistics for Detroit located in Wayne County.

The state capital, Lansing, however, spans three counties in Michigan, Ingram, Eaton, and Clinton, so requests for records from the County Clerk for Lansing residents depend on which county the record was recorded.5

Obtain Driving Records Through the Michigan Department of State

Drivers in Michigan can obtain a copy of their driving record through the Department of State using its online portal, via mail, or by scheduling an office visit through the online scheduler.6

A screenshot shows copies of driving records can be obtained in office, through self service terminal, by mail or online.

Records are typically released only to the subject of the record; however, governmental agencies or driving record subscription services can purchase an individual’s driving history through the online portal.7

Free Michigan Criminal Background Check Through Local County & City Police Departments

Searches looking for local criminal history for someone in Michigan can also search local county and city police agencies for information. Michigan has 619 local law enforcement agencies on the county and municipal levels, and each one has a record division that maintains incident information.8

Michigan’s largest municipal police department is located in Detroit. Detroit Police Department Records and Reports Division provides documentation of crash reports, criminal complaints, and purchase permits within the city limits. Detroit record requests can be made at the 3rd Precinct, located at 2875 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit Michigan, 48202.9

A screenshot showing the 3rd precincts address, commander, hours of operation, and a mention that they offer police reports, gun permits, clearances for police and fingerprinting.

Individuals need to have a valid ID and information on when the incident occurred. For crime reports it is recommended the searcher have the 10-digit official complaint number before they can be released; however, if the 10-digit code is not available a valid ID will be sufficient.9

There are other ways a person can find records in Michigan including a search of inmate records through the Department of Corrections Offender Search online, the National Sex Offender Registry and the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, or through state licensing boards.

Michigan's Department of Corrections search tool to find state prisoners by name, MDOC number, sex, race, age, offender status and identifying marks such as birth marks, scars, and tattoos.

In addition to criminal records, there are other documents (known as vital records) that can be accessed in Michigan.

How To Check if Someone Is Married or Divorced in Michigan

Vital records include births, deaths, marriages, and divorces in Michigan. To find out if someone is married or divorced in Michigan, it’s important to understand if these are considered public records.

A form to request verification of marriage records in the state of Michigan that requires that requesting individual to provide their phone number, date, agency name, their name, and full address along with their signature.

Michigan maintains all marriage and divorce records from 1867 to the present day, and these records can be requested through VitalChek online for a fee.

Records can also be requested in writing via mail. Individuals need to download a form from the Michigan Health and Human Services website, complete it and mail it along with the required fees to Post Office Box 30721, Lansing Michigan 48909. In the address, the individual can designate if it is a “Record Request” or a “Rush” request.10

Once someone knows where to look for records, it’s important to understand how background checks are used in Michigan.

Reasons Background Checks Are Used in Michigan

There are a number of reasons a background check may be performed on someone living in Michigan. The most common background checks are for employment purposes, licensure, property rentals and to purchase a firearm.

Background checks are also performed when someone wants to volunteer with a non-profit agency, wishes to become a foster parent, or is trying to adopt a child.

The amount of information contained in a Michigan background check depends on the reason for the report, who conducts the screening, and what information is being requested. For example, a business may wish to have just a name-based search which could return criminal history only, whereas a business that requires using a motor vehicle may include a driving history.

For a criminal background check, Michigan employment is the most common for such background screening sand there are options for free checks through third party sites and for individuals, but some reports required for business purposes require a fee.

There are several reasons someone may undergo a background check in Michigan. From purchasing a firearm to getting a job or an apartment, a criminal history screening is part of the process.

Firearms Check by Michigan State Police and the FBI

Firearm background checks in Michigan have several stipulations and pertain to those purchasing weapons from licensed dealers in the state. Even those who are given a pistol as part of a deceased loved one’s last will and testament must obtain a license to possess the weapon.11

Michigan state requirements or stipulations to apply for a firearm include being over 21 years old, be a U.S. citizen, be a resident of Michigan and not have any felony charges.

What questions are asked in a gun background check? Mainly questions regarding identity verification and criminal convictions that would make owning a firearm illegal in the state.

Individuals purchasing a firearm in Michigan must undergo a state-level and federal-level background check. The person wishing to purchase a pistol must obtain a permit from the local sheriff’s department (or other designated law enforcement agency in their geographical area).

The local agency works in conjunction with the FBI to complete a national check and local criminal history report.11

Those purchasing rifles or shotguns must undergo to FBI background check before the purchase can be completed. The licensed dealer either calls in the information or electronically submits an application for the purchase of a firearm through the NICS to see if the person can legally purchase and possess a firearm.12

Michigan Criminal Background Check for Employment (State of Michigan Background Check for Employment by Michigan State Police)

Employment criminal background screenings are conducted by the Michigan State Police. Businesses or organizations use an online portal called ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool) for all name-based searches. Searches for non-profit or government organizations are free through ICHAT.2 The ICHAT background check, Michigan tool is the primary source for background screenings within the state.

Another type of Michigan criminal background check for employment involves a deeper dive into the person’s history and a national background screening. Fingerprint-based searches which include an FBI national criminal history are also initiated through the Michigan State Police. The state police use Live Scan vendors to complete and submit the fingerprints for these more extensive background checks. 2

Background Checks Through the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)

Michigan uses the LARA Workforce Background Check system for individuals working in the childcare industry, healthcare, or other public service industries that require licensure or certification because the person will be working with vulnerable populations. LARA checks require the completion of a Michigan background check form before they can be initiated.

A background checks Michigan LARA search uses the Workforce system to screen all paid employees. Volunteers are usually not covered in the Workforce screening except for those hospice positions with certain designation, or volunteers who will have clinical privileges (for example, interns who are undergoing clinical hours).13

Michigan Workforce Background Check Program

The Michigan Workforce Background Check Program is primarily used to verify those working in childcare or with vulnerable adult populations do not have any disqualifying offenses. The background checks are overseen by the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs office (LARA).

A screenshot showing that LARA workforce background checks can be used for licensing, child care, volunteers, adult care staff and directors of programs.

Can someone run a background check without my permission in Michigan? The Michigan workforce background check consent and disclosure form notifies the applicant of a background check that will be performed, what it consists of, and documents the applicant consents to the search.13

Vital Records Check Through City and County Agencies

City and county agencies can provide information on property ownership, voter registrations, address confirmation, and vital records such as births, deaths, marriage background checks, and divorce records.

For example, the City Clerk’s Office for Lansing, Michigan maintains all records of business licenses within the city limits. This can be used to verify a sole proprietorship or small business is legitimate before hiring the business to perform a service.14

The Oakland County Clerk’s office maintains records of births, deaths, and marriages for the county. Information can also be obtained on voter registration and county property listings to verify addresses.15

The table below lists the various agencies in Michigan that perform or require background checks and what they are used for.

Agency Purpose of Background Check
Michigan State Police
  • Employment
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Firearms
  • Volunteer Screenings
Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Health Professions
  • Acupuncturist
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Audiologists
  • Behavioral Analysts
  • Chiropractors
  • Counselors
  • Dentists
  • Genetic Counselors
  • Marriage/Family Therapists
  • Massage Therapists
  • Medical Professionals
  • Midwives
  • Nurses
  • Nursing Home Administrators
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Optometrists
  • Osteopathic Doctors and Surgeons
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physician Assistants
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Respiratory Care Professionals
  • Sanitarians
  • Social Workers
  • Speech-language Pathologists
  • Veterinarians
Workforce Background Check (LARA)
  • Childcare Workers
  • Childcare Facilities
  • Program Directors
  • Volunteers (Unsupervised)
  • Childcare Licensees
  • Childcare Home Adult Household Members (Live-in Group Home Workers)
  • Nursing Home Staff
  • Hospice Staff
  • Individuals with Clinical Privileges
  • Educators (Teachers K-12)
LARA Occupational Licensing Background Checks
  • Accountants
  • Appraisal Mgt Companies
  • Real Estate Appraisers
  • Architecture
  • Barber
  • Collection Agents
  • Cosmetologists
  • Professional Engineers
  • Hearing Aid Retailers
  • Landscaping Architecture
  • Personnel Facilities
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Professional Surveyors
Michigan Health and Human Service Central Registry
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Registry
Michigan Department of State
  • Michigan driving history

These agencies use online processes and Live Scan fingerprinting locations to perform background checks. Fingerprinting processes can take up to 45 days in some cases, but most are returned in approximately two weeks. Knowing what shows up on these background checks can help the candidate prepare for what may happen after the screening.

What Is on a Background Check in the State of Michigan? What Shows Up?

The amount and kind of information that shows up on a Michigan background check depends on the nature of the screening and how much information is requested. Certain laws also limit what can be on a background screening.

Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA) restrictions limit credit history to a seven-year lookback period. Therefore, any negative credit information older than seven years cannot be included in a credit check.16

Criminal background checks have some limits on what employers can ask regarding criminal history. Employers cannot ask about misdemeanor non-convictions; however, they can inquire about felony arrests that resulted in non-convictions. Background checks will also reveal any misdemeanor and felony convictions in the state.17

A background check by the Michigan State Police shows all felony and misdemeanor convictions that can result in a punishment of 93 days or more in jail or prison (even if the offender wasn’t actively incarcerated, if the charge carries the possibility of incarceration at that level, it is reportable).18

A driving record in Michigan can be one of three versions. Each one shows a different level of information and is used for various reasons. The levels and what they show are:

  1. Michigan Driving Record: A comprehensive report on the subject including license number, and driving activity (including all at-fault and not-at-fault accidents and driving convictions).
  2. Limited Driving History: Report on subject minus accident reports.
  3. Employer Driving Record: This report shows all CDL-related information including medical documentation required for a CDL. It does not include at-fault or not-at-fault accidents.17

The Michigan Child Abuse and Neglect Registry reveals those individuals in the state that have been reported for abuse and neglect and have been found to be a danger to children.19

A search of the Michigan Sex Offender Registry will show who in the state has been convicted of a sexual offense, showing the offender’s name, last known location, offense, a photo of the offender, and the offender’s biometric information (race, height, weight and other identifiers).20

Do Warrants Show Up on Michigan Background Checks?

Warrants sometimes can appear on a Michigan background check when they are connected to a criminal charge; however, the record may just show the pending charge and not the order for arrest. Some law enforcement agencies make active warrants available for public search, others do not.

Warrants are court documents that are considered public records, but the decision to release that information can be made at the local law enforcement level.

Does Probation Show Up on Background Check?

Probation can and does show up on a background report because it is part of the court record regarding sentencing for a criminal conviction. Probation is an important part of the record because the conditions ordered may limit a person’s job availability.

The main purpose of a background check is to identify any offenses that may prevent a person from performing a certain job, known as a disqualifying offense.

Background Check: Michigan Disqualifying Offenses

There are several disqualifying offenses outlined in Michigan’s Public Health Code. Below is a list of the convictions that would be considered a disqualifier in the state as outlined in the Michigan Workforce Background Check Legal Guide.

  1. Violations of state or federal Medicaid/Medicare laws.
  2. Tier 1 Felonies
    • Murder.
    • Assault inflicting serious injury on a spouse or dating interest (2 or more convictions).
    • Assault on other family members (3 or more convictions).
    • Assault, family independence agency employee.
    • Assault, battery, resisting, obstructing or opposing police, EMT, firefighters, sheriff, constable, peace officer, or other public safety official.
    • Felony assault in a weapon-free school zone.
    • Assault intending to commit murder.
    • Assault intending to inflict serious bodily harm.
    • Assault intending to maim.
    • Attempted murder.
    • Armed robbery.
    • Carjacking.
    • Robbery.
    • Felony cruelty to animals.
    • Inflicting harm or severe mental anguish.
    • Criminal sexual conduct (levels 1-3).
    • Child abuse (level 1 background checks through to level 2 background check).
    • Felonies against persons underage.
    • Felony home invasion involving the use of a weapon.
    • Felony drug convictions.
  3. Tier 2 Felonies
    • Insufficient funds (felony).
    • Felony larceny statute violations.
    • Home invasions (felony).
    • Embezzlement
    • Felony receipt of stolen items.
    • Felony receipt and concealment of a stolen vehicle.
    • Prostitution (accosting and soliciting).
    • Taking a child from a lawful parent (biological or adoptive).
    • Felony Driving Under the Influence.
  4. Tier 3 High Misdemeanors
    • Assault and battery with serious injury (no familiar or dating relationship).
    • Aggravated assault (relationship established).
    • Threats or assault against DHS employees.
    • Misdemeanor offenses against at-risk adults.
    • 4th-degree sexual misconduct.
    • Animal cruelty (1st offense).
    • Misdemeanor retail fraud.
  5. Tier 4 Misdemeanors
    • Misdemeanor breaking and entering or unlawful entry.
    • Misdemeanor embezzlement.
    • Receipt of stolen goods or motor vehicle.
    • Homicide (negligent).
    • Misdemeanor Larceny
    • Concealing Goods
    • Misdemeanor assaults.
  6. Tier 5 Less Serious Misdemeanors
    • Communicating threats
    • 3rd-degree fraud (retail)/shoplifting
    • Misdemeanor possession with intent to sell or deliver controlled substances.
  7. Tier 6 Juvenile Misdemeanors

In short, violent crimes (both felony and misdemeanors) are considered disqualifiers, and certain misdemeanor theft offenses can also disqualify someone from employment in the state.21

Driving offenses can be disqualified when the job involves the use of a motor vehicle. These include multiple moving violations or Driving Under the Influence (DUI).22

How Far Back Do Employment Background Checks Go in Michigan? How Far Back Can Employers Check Criminal Background In Michigan?

How far back do employment background checks go in Michigan? How far back can employers check criminal backgrounds in Michigan? The state does not have a law limiting how far back a criminal history for convictions can go at this time; therefore, any felony or misdemeanor convictions can show up on a background check unless they have been sealed or expunged.

How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record? Currently in Michigan, unless it’s been removed from the record, the answer is indefinite.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act does limit the lookback period for credit history to seven years. FCRA is governed by the Federal Trade Commission.

Michigan background check laws work in conjunction with federal statutes to give some protections to applicants when applying for jobs.

Michigan has enacted clean slate legislation which makes it possible for eligible misdemeanors to be set aside after 7 years, and eligible, non-violent felonies after ten (an action that will go into effect in April 2023).23

A screenshot showing clean slate includes an automatic process to set aside misdemeanors after 7-10 years along with other program changes.

This will effectively move them from criminal background checks to give those with a criminal record a better chance at employment. A Michigan background check 7 years old or older may not be permissible in making hiring decisions after the new statutes go into effect depending on whether eligible offenses that should have been removed still appear on the report.

Michigan also prohibits employers from asking about misdemeanor arrests that did not result in a conviction.17

The FTC administers the FCRA which limits how credit history can be used in making decisions and provides guidance on requirements when adverse action is taken based on a credit history report.

If someone feels they have been wrongly denied a position or a rental property because information on the background check was used in a discriminatory manner, they can file a complaint with the FTC (for credit information) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for violations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Background check laws in Michigan are designed to give an applicant a fair chance at employment, and applicants need to know how to get a background report and how much it will cost.

Background Check Cost in Michigan: How Much Is it?

For a background check, Michigan costs can vary depending on the agency who performs the check and the table below shows the various costs.

Agency Background Check Cost
Michigan State Police $10 per search for the general public
Free to government agencies or non-profit organizations
Michigan Department of State $12 per search
Michigan Sex Offender Registry Free
Department of Health and Human Services (Vital Records) $34 per record for routine delivery
$46 per record for rush orders

Once the fees are paid, individuals want to know how long they have to wait before they receive the report.

How Long Does a Background Check Take In Michigan?

Using the online systems available, records can be returned in a matter of minutes for a name-based search. Searches that require fingerprints can take anywhere from 2-30 days to complete depending on how quickly fingerprints are submitted and how deep the check needs to go.13

Overall, knowing how and where to access Michigan records is the first step in learning the history of an applicant. As seen, many agencies offer free search portals, and others have nominal fees to cover the search costs but state and federal laws also play a role in a background check, Michigan and other states too.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Do Driving Tickets or Moving Violations Go on Background Checks in Michigan?

Driving tickets or motor vehicle violations show up on a background check Michigan when the matter is a misdemeanor or felony charge, or when a driving record is required due to the nature of the job. In other words, jobs that require a CDL or use of a motor vehicle will require a driving history check.

Do Speeding Tickets Show Up on Michigan Background Checks?

Speeding offenses that are considered misdemeanor charges can show up on a background check.  Speeding 25 miles per hour over the posted limit or in a school zone or other restricted area carries a much higher punishment and can show up on a background check.24

Are Misdemeanors Revealed on Background Checks in Michigan?

Employers cannot ask about non-conviction misdemeanors; however, misdemeanor convictions can and do show up on background checks. Misdemeanors that have been sealed or expunged will not show up on a background check.25

Do Felonies Go on Michigan Background Checks?

Felonies (both convictions and non-conviction arrests) can and do show up on a Michigan background check unless they have been sealed or expunged by a court in good standing.25


Michigan. (n.d.). Census Bureau. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

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11 FIREARMS LAWS OF MICHIGAN. (2021, April 4). Michigan Legislature. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

12 National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) | Federal Bureau of Investigation. (n.d.). FBI. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

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14 Business Licenses. (n.d.). Lansing, MI. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

15 Clerk/Register of Deeds | Clerk/Register of Deeds. (n.d.). Oakland County, Michigan. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

16 Fair Credit Reporting Act. (n.d.). Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

17 Home. (n.d.). Pre-Employment Inquiry Guide. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

18 Criminal History Records. (n.d.). State of Michigan. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

19 Central (Perpetrator) Registry. (n.d.). State of Michigan. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

20 Search. (n.d.). Michigan Sex Offender Registry. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

21 LEGAL GUIDE. (n.d.). North Country Community Mental Health. Retrieved September 10, 2022, fro <>

22 Michigan Legislature – Section 333.20173a. (n.d.). Michigan Legislature. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

23 Clean Slate. (n.d.). Michigan Courts. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from <>

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