A few different government divisions and departments maintain public records in Michigan. The most common public records are available for search and review online, but it can sometimes be faster – because of mail time – to order certificates in person. What follows are some general notes about obtaining Michigan public records.
The State of Michigan Vital Records Office, a subdivision of the Department of Community Health, maintains records of birth, death, marriage and divorce. Records can be ordered in a few different ways.
In Person – To order in person, visit the Vital Records Office at 201 Townsend Street, in the Capitol View Building, in Lansing, Michigan, 48913. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, but you must order before 3:00 p.m. to get same-day service.
Online – To order online, use VitalChek, which is a third party processor and the only authorized online vendor of Michigan vital records. Individuals can order their own birth record or that of their child. Birth records that are more than 100 years old are also publicly available.
By Mail – To order by mail, first print or download the appropriate form and follow the instructions indicated.
For general information or to request an order form, call (517) 335-8656 (it’s a recorded message). To speak with a Department of Community Health customer service representative, call (517) 335-8666.
The Criminal Justice Information Center (“CJIC”) is the general repository for all Michigan crime data, including arrests, charges and serious convictions. The CJIC can run a check based on name or fingerprints. Criminal convictions are public information in Michigan, therefore anyone can request criminal history records. There are several search options, broken down in detail on their website. Or call the CJIC at (517) 241-0606 for more information.
The website of the Michigan Courts allows online search of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals cases. It is possible to search by party name or docket number. The search page is here.
To request the records of lower courts, it is necessary to contact the courts directly. The Michigan Bar Journal publishes a list of Michigan court contact information. The most recent list, current as of January 2013, can be found online in .pdf form.
In Michigan, corporate and limited liability company records are administered by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA”). LARA has an entity search website online. It is possible to search the database by name, key word, or file number. The results will typically include vital business dates and filings, as well as the names of any officers or agents.
For more information, call the LARA Corporations Division at (517) 241-6470.
The Secretary of State handles driving records in Michigan, through its Record Lookup Unit. It is not possible to request your driving record online, at least officially. Rather, the only official order options are mail, fax, and in person.
By Mail – To request a Michigan driving record by mail, first print or download the record request form. Then send it, along with the required fee and documentation, to:
Michigan Department of State
Record Lookup Unit
7064 Crowner Driver
Lansing, MI 48918-1502
By Fax – It’s the same form as for mail requests, but you must pay by credit card or have an account with the Department of State. Once the form is complete, fax it to (517) 322-1181.
In Person – To order in person, visit any branch office, show your driver’s license, and pay the $8.00 fee. No forms required. Use the branch office locator to find the Secretary of State Branch that is located nearest to you.
For more information, call the Secretary of State at (888) 767-6424.