Sometimes another person’s criminal case shows up on your criminal record. This may happen when people have similar names, the same birthday, or if a person gave a fake name when arrested. If your criminal record has mistakes in it, they can be fixed.
Finding a Mistake
Before you can fix a mistake on your criminal record, you need to know where it is. Criminal records exist in several places:
The Michigan State Police (MSP) Database or ICHAT
The Michigan Department of Corrections
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Private investigation companies
A local police department or court
How you fix your criminal record depends on where the mistake is. If an employer, bank, or landlord rejects an application due to your criminal record, ask what criminal record search they used. This will make finding the mistake easier.
If you find a mistake in your criminal record in one place, it is likely in other places, too. Correcting a mistake in one place does not fix it in others. You must fix the information in each record separately.
Fixing a Mistake on the Michigan State Police (MSP) Database or ICHAT
The public records in the MSP database are what show up in an Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) search. The MSP Database is a common place to check about criminal records. It is often used by:
Private investigation companies
To fix a MSP record, you must show the MSP proof of the mistake.
Getting Your MSP Criminal Record
You can get your MSP record from the ICHAT. It links your criminal record and fingerprints to an online database. Go to the MSP website, create an account, and follow the steps listed to get your criminal record.
There is a $10 fee. You must pay it with a credit card.
If you can’t afford to pay the fee, you may get a fee waiver under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Send a FOIA request for your MSP criminal record with a Request for Public Records and an Affidavit of Indigency. This is a sworn statement explaining why you can’t pay the $10 fee. It must be signed in front of a notary. There are notaries at many banks or credit unions. They may charge a fee. They may waive the fee if you have an account there.
Send these forms to:
Michigan State Police, Records Resource Section
PO Box 30634
Lansing, MI 48909
If Someone Else's Conviction Shows Up on Your ICHAT
To fix a mistake on your MSP criminal record, you must show proof of that mistake.
Go to your nearest law enforcement agency and ask to be fingerprinted. The MSP does not charge for fingerprinting, but some local police stations do.
After you get your fingerprints, send a record challenge to the MSP. Fill out the Request for Amendment of Public Criminal History Record form. Attach your fingerprint card, a copy of the incorrect criminal record, and a short explanation of the mistake.
Send these items to:
Michigan State Police
Criminal Justice Information Center
Attention: Record Challenge
P.O. Box 30634
Lansing, Michigan 48909-0634
If your fingerprints prove the criminal record is not yours, the MSP will send you a clearance letter. It takes four to six weeks to change your record. Be sure to check back and make sure the record was removed. Keep a copy of your clearance letter in case the MSP does not fix the mistakes.
If Your ICHAT Shows an Arrest but No Charges Were Filed
Sometimes an arrest shows up on an ICHAT even though no charges were filed. If this happens, you will see information in the "Arrest Segment" but nothing under the “Charge Segment” or "Judicial Segment." This is sometimes called an "open" or "hanging" arrest record.
To fix this, you need to send MSP proof that no charges were filed.
Get Proof that No Charges Were Filed
Contact the law enforcement agency that arrested you. Use their non-emergency phone number.
It may take a little while to find the right person to talk to at the agency. Depending on the agency, the "right person" could be a detective, a warrants officer, or someone in the records department.
Explain that you want to get an "open arrest record" removed from your ICHAT. If they don't understand, explain that there is an arrest showing up on your ICHAT without a charge or conviction.
At some agencies, the paperwork you need might be called a "release no prosecution." But not all agencies use the term "release no prosecution," so using those words won't always help. The goal is to get something in writing from the law enforcement agency that shows no charges were filed.
Send Your Proof to MSP
Fax your "release no prosecution" or other paperwork from the law enforcement agency to MSP at 517-241-0866.
You may be able to find a fax machine at a library or a shop with printing and shipping services. Check the fax confirmation page to make sure the fax went through. Save the confirmation page and the paperwork from the law enforcement agency until the arrest is removed from your ICHAT.
You may want to check your ICHAT again after about six weeks to see if the arrest has been removed. If it has not been removed after six weeks, call MSP at 517-241-0606. Explain that you faxed paperwork to clear an open arrest record, but the arrest is still showing up.
If Your ICHAT Has a Clerical Mistake or Missing "Judicial Segment"
Sometimes, there are clerical mistakes. A clerical mistake happens when someone enters wrong information into the system. This may include wrong dates, or wrong conviction types.
Sometimes, the "Judicial Segment" for an offense can also be missing. The Judicial Segment is the part of an ICHAT that shows what happened in the court case.
A missing Judicial Segment can cause different kinds of problems:
- A charge may still show up on your ICHAT even if it should have been removed because the case was dismissed;
- A conviction that should be automatically expunged might not be expunged because of the missing information; or
- The charge on your ICHAT may look worse than your final conviction.
There are different ways to fix these mistakes depending on the court and the mistake.
Option 1: For Missing "Judicial Segments" Try Asking the Court to Fix the Mistake
A court can sometimes fix a missing "Judicial Segment" itself by sending the MSP updated information. To see if this is an option, contact the court where you were convicted. Ask for the criminal clerk.
Tell them that your ICHAT shows a charge but no Judicial Segment. Ask if they can update MSP with the missing Judicial Segment information. If they say yes, you may want to check your ICHAT a few weeks later to see if the information has really been updated.
If the court can’t or won’t update MSP with the correct information, go to the next option below.
Option 2: Send Proof of the Mistake or Missing "Judicial Segment" to MSP
Get Proof of the Mistake or Missing Judicial Segment
You will need court documents proving there is a mistake on your ICHAT or showing what should be in the ICHAT Judicial Segment. A “Judgment of Sentence” or “Order of Dismissal” will often be the best documents to use.
For example, if the ICHAT Judicial Segment is blank, a Judgment of Sentence would show the final conviction in the case, or an Order of Dismissal would show the case was dropped. Or, if your ICHAT shows the wrong conviction date, the Judgment of Sentence should show the right date.
You can get copies of a judgment, dismissal, or other court documents at the court clerk’s office. The clerk should be able to find your case information using your name. But if you have the case number, it could help the clerk find your case faster.
The copy of the court document does not have to be certified. But MSP prefers certified copies. The court charges an extra fee for certified copies. It is usually about $10. Some courts charge less for additional certified copies the same day.
Send your Proof to MSP
Write a short explanation of the mistake. It can be typed or neatly hand-written. Send your explanation, your court documents, and a copy of the incorrect ICHAT result to:
Michigan State Police, CJIC
P.O. Box 30634
Lansing, MI 48909-0634
Keep a copy of the documents you sent. Follow up to make sure MSP makes the changes you requested.
Fixing a Mistake with the Michigan Department of Corrections
The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) publishes criminal information about prisoners, parolees, and people sentenced to prison or probation.
Getting Your MDOC Criminal Record
Get your MDOC record on the Offender Tracking and Information System (OTIS). It links your MDOC criminal record to an online database. Visit the MDOC website and follow the steps to get your OTIS criminal record. There is no fee for this.
Fixing Your MDOC Criminal Record
MDOC gets most of its information from court records. MDOC will change your OTIS profile only after you get your court documents fixed.
To fix a mistake on a court record, contact the court that filed the conviction and sentence. You may need to file a motion asking the judge to make changes to your judgment of sentence.
MDOC will change the information on OTIS once directed by the court through a court order or through a supervising parole agent. Have the court or supervising agent send a copy of the changes directly to MDOC. To learn more or to discuss a mistake, e-mail the Office of Public Information and Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call the office at 517-335-2316.
Fixing a Mistake with the FBI
The FBI keeps a list of all of your arrests and convictions in the United States.
Getting Your FBI Criminal Record
You can get your FBI record by sending a Summary Request application to the FBI. Go to the FBI website to complete your application. When you submit your application include:
A signed, completed application
A completed fingerprint card (Form FD-258)
An $18 fee paid by credit card, certified check, or money order made payable to “Treasurer of the United States”
The FBI will not accept personal checks. If you can’t afford to pay $18, send a notarized affidavit stating why you can’t pay.
Send these items to:
Fixing Your FBI Criminal Record
The FBI gets all of its information from local, state, and other federal agencies. The FBI must get approval from the original agency or court to change your record. To fix mistakes on your FBI criminal record, contact the agency that gave the FBI incorrect information.
If the error on your FBI criminal record concerns a Michigan arrest or conviction, follow the steps earlier in this article. If the mistake concerns an arrest or conviction in another state, contact that state’s criminal records information center. See the FBI website for a list of State Identification Bureaus.
You can also send your own written challenge to the FBI. Include any proof showing the agency or court made a mistake. This includes certified court documents or past changes to your criminal record that are not on your FBI record now. The FBI should contact the agencies to verify the mistake you pointed out. After the local agency confirms the mistake, the FBI will make those changes. Either way, the FBI will contact you with the outcome of your challenge.
Send your written challenge to:
Fixing a Mistake with Private Companies
The process to correct your private company criminal record differs from company to company. Contact the company directly to learn about their process to fix mistakes. In general, private companies use state and local records to make their own criminal records. You will likely need to correct those records first.
Fixing a Mistake with the Local Police or Local Courts
In general, records from your local police department or court only include information about local offenses. These records may include information about minor convictions that do not appear on your MSP criminal record.
Getting and Fixing Your Local Criminal Record
Check with your local police department or court to find out how to get and correct your local criminal record. In some counties, your local criminal record may appear online. In others, you may need to go to the local police station to get your criminal record.
If a police officer does not take fingerprints for minor offenses, you may have trouble proving a conviction on your local criminal record does not belong to you. You may need to file a motion to correct or seal the record. If you need help fixing your local criminal record, you may want to talk to a lawyer. If you need a lawyer and are low-income, you may qualify for free legal help. Whether you are low-income or not, use the Guide to Legal Help to look for legal help in your area.