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Fixing Mistakes on Your Criminal Record

Contents

    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

    • 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 with the Michigan State Police

    The Michigan State Police (MSP) is a common place to check about criminal records. It is often used by:

    • Employers

    • Landlords

    • The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)

    • 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 Internet Criminal History Access Tool (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 Indigence. 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, Freedom of Information Unit
    333 S. Grand Ave.
    P.O. Box 30634
    Lansing, MI 48909-0634
     

    Fixing Your MSP Criminal Record

    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 Records Division
    Attn: Records Challenge
    333 S. Grand Ave.
    P.O. Box 30634
    Lansing, MI 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.

    Fixing Clerical Mistakes

    Sometimes, there are clerical mistakes. This may include incorrect dates, incorrect conviction types, or a conviction that should have been removed.

    Get certified copies of the court documents that prove the mistake in your criminal record. You can get them at the court clerk’s office. The court charges a fee for certified copies. It is usually about $10. Some courts charge less for additional certified copies the same day. You might want to get extra copies in case you need to fix a mistake in more than one place.

    Attach your certified court documents, a copy of the incorrect criminal record, and a short explanation of the mistake. Send them to:

    Michigan State Police, Criminal Records Division
    Identification Section
    333 S. Grand Ave.
    P.O. Box 30634
    Lansing, MI 48909-0634
     

    Follow up to make sure the changes you requested are made.

    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, email the Office of Public Information and Communications at correctionsinfo@michigan.gov. You may also call the office at 517-241-0363.

    Fixing a Mistake with the FBI

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (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:

    FBI CJIS Division
    Attn: Summary Request
    1000 Custer Hollow Road
    Clarksburg, WV 26306
     

    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 Criminal Justice Information Centers.

    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:

    FBI CJIS Division
    Attn: Criminal History Analysis Team 1
    1000 Custer Hollow Road
    Clarksburg, WV 26306
     

    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.