On your record: Convicted or not, your arrest record is public

Published 6:02 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
LANSING - A new dissemination law is making additional criminal history information available to the public. Starting Feb. 1, Public Act 310 of 2005 will give the public the option of digging further into an individual's criminal history. Specifically, a person's arrest information can be accessed whether the individual has been convicted of the crime or not.
With the induction of the new policy, Michigan will join at least 25 other states that have an established criminal record dissemination law.
The new act will not allow information that is either non-public or prohibited by law to be available.
Identification and Criminal History Section Manager Tim Bolles said Act 310 is not for the benefit of law enforcement because the agencies have always had access to arrest histories.
The introduction of the law partly stemmed from in-depth articles published in Detroit area newspapers a few years back, Bolles said. The stories focused on adults with criminal records that were involved in some of the region's youth sports. Following the articles, Bolles said the Criminal Justice Information System was approached about creating a law that would give the public extended knowledge of criminal activity.
People can use the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) online at www.michigan.gov/ichat. The cost is $10 per search and individuals need to register at the site with a username and password. Non-profit or government agencies doing employee searches are not charged for the service, Bolles said.