October 17, 2017, 10:33 pm
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General Information About Michigan Public Records and Laws
In Michigan, public records are available to both individuals and businesses that need information or resources. There is no limitation on who can obtain this information, though it is not accessible for marketing purposes in most cases. The Michigan Open Records Act, Public Act No. 442, governs the right of the general public to have access to governmental records and proceedings.
What Is a Public Record Here?
The state's laws define a public record as any type of written material that is owned, managed, used or in the possession of a public body. This may come from the official function of the body or from other means. It also is any type of media, not just written work, to include video, images, audio files, handwritten and typed material as well as electronic documentation.
Most types of records remain open to the public. However, the state does have a long list of exempted or non open Michigan public records. The following are some of those restricted types of information.
·         Any record that contains private information of a citizen, wherein disclosure could infringe on privacy rights or on safety
·         All data that could compromise an ongoing or open investigation, including any information that would lead to limitations on obtaining a fair trial, or would identify key components that would be at risk
·         Trade secrets that are part of a business record
·         All medical, doctor and patient and hospital documentation protected under federal HIPAA laws
·         Records that would compromise the safety at a correctional facility
·         Any records that are exempt through federal laws
·         Student records, including all test results, licensing test results, status information or other private student records
In addition to this, a judge or other official may rule that information is to be kept private if the information is sensitive in nature. For example, if an individual is a juvenile, information may be protected. Victim information is also protected, as is information regarding undercover police officers.
Obtaining a Copy of Records
In Michigan, public records information is available upon request. Most of this information is readily available through the website of the governing department or through a visit to the actual location. Some third parties can also provide access to this information. Laws in the state indicate that this information is to be made available upon request, in a timely manner, but a small fee may also be required to cover administrative costs. The following are some of the agencies most commonly contacted for public record searches.
·         Vital statistics data is available through the county Department of Health, Vital Records Requests department.
·         For criminal records available, contact the Michigan State Police, Criminal History Section.
·         Some court records are available through the Sate Court Administrative Office or through a local court.
·         For vehicle or driver information, the Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of State, Records Lookup Unit provides this information.
Data from Michigan public records must be verified to be certified by the governing body.
 
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