Minnesota Court Records
Are Criminal Records Public In Minnesota?
Minnesota Statutes Chapter 13.87 provides members of the public with access to criminal history data that has been compiled by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. According to this law, criminal conviction data are considered public up to 15 years, beginning from the completion of the sentence imposed for a crime. However, data on convictions older than 15 years, court information, arrest information, and juvenile records are considered private information, and access to them is restricted.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a division of the state’s Department of Public Safety, is the primary repository for criminal records in the state of Minnesota.
What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Minnesota?
Minnesota statutory laws require state law enforcement agencies to report all felony, gross misdemeanor, and targeted misdemeanor arrests to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which then records this information in its criminal history system. These criminal history records typically contain the following information:
- The name and date of birth used by the subject during their first arrest
- A state ID number issued by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
- Other names and dates of birth used by the subject during any subsequent arrests
- The subject’s sex and physical descriptors, including race, height, weight, hair and eye color
- The subject’s place of birth
- Identification numbers associated with the subject
- Fingerprint classification
- Distinctive scars, marks, and tattoos (where available)
- Arrest information, including the date of arrest, controlling agency and highest known level of conviction, if any
How To Look Up My Criminal Records In Minnesota?
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension processes requests for criminal history searches from interested members of the public. These requests can be made in person, via mail or online through the Minnesota Public Criminal History Search website.
Parties that want to view and obtain copies of their criminal history records may do so in person at the Bureau’s office located at:
1430 Maryland Ave. East
St. Paul, MN 55106
In-person viewings and requests should be made between the hours of 8:15 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. Viewing these records is free of charge; however, parties that wish to obtain copies will be required to pay a fee of $8 per copy. Parties will also be required to provide a valid government-issued photo ID, and in some cases, fingerprints may be required to verify the requestor’s identity.
Alternatively, individuals that wish to obtain copies of their criminal history record can send a written request. This request should include the requestor’s full name spelled correctly, the requestor’s date of birth, and any other names that may have been used by the requestor, including maiden names and former married names. The written request should be signed, dated, notarized by a notary public and mailed to:
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
1430 Maryland Ave. E.
St. Paul, MN 55106
Requestors should also include a self-addressed stamped envelope and a request fee of $8 in the form of a personal check, cashier’s check, money order, certified check, or business check made payable to “BCA” when mailing these requests. The response time for mailed-in requests is approximately two weeks.
Members of the public that are interested in accessing the public criminal history records of other individuals may do so online via the Minnesota Public Criminal History Search website or in person at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. It is important to note that third-party access to private criminal records is restricted. Parties that wish to access criminal history records of other individuals that contain both public and private information are required to provide the Bureau with a notarized Informed Consent Form signed by the subject named on the requested record.
Obtaining copies of criminal history records of other individuals costs $15. Note that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension does not offer same day service for parties that request for copies of these records in person. Requestors are required to pick up these records in at least three business days or have them sent via mail. To this effect, in-person requestors are asked to provide either a large manila envelope or a self-addressed stamped envelope, depending on their preferred method for receiving the requested records.
Queries can be directed to (651) 793–2400.
How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In Minnesota?
Parties that wish to obtain copies of their Minnesota criminal history records are required to pay a fee of $8. However, these records can be viewed for free between the hours of 8:15 a.m.—4:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension located at:
1430 Maryland Ave. East
St. Paul, MN 55106
Phone: (651) 793–2400
How To Search Criminal Records Online In Minnesota?
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension provides members of the public with online access to criminal records through its Minnesota Public Criminal History Search website. This service is free and can be used by interested parties to access public criminal records. To properly utilize this website, interested parties will be required to provide the name and date of birth of the subject on whom they wish to perform the record search.
Note that private information cannot be accessed via this website. Information considered private in the state of Minnesota includes:
- Juvenile data
- Arrest data
- Data on convictions where over 15 years have elapsed since the sentence imposed for the crime was completed.
In addition to this, the website does not contain federal criminal history data and criminal history data from other states.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In Minnesota?
Expungement in the state of Minnesota refers to a court order from a district court judge that seals an individual’s criminal records from public view, under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 609A. Expungements fall under two categories: Full expungements and Partial expungements.
Full expungements refer to situations where the court seals all of an individual’s criminal records. This includes records held by the court as well as records maintained by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and other government agencies. Minnesota statutory law provides state courts with authority to entirely expunge criminal records in some instances that fall under the following categories:
- Cases involving first-time drug possession offenses
- Cases involving offenses committed by juveniles that were tried in an adult criminal court
- Cases that ended in a dismissal or an acquittance
- Cases listed under Minnesota Statutes § 609A.02, subd. 3. These include cases –
- where the individual has successfully completed the terms of a court-ordered diversion program or stay of adjudication and has not been charged with a new crime for at least a year since the completion of the programs
- Where an individual was convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a petty misdemeanor/misdemeanor and has not had a new conviction for at least two years since the completion of the sentence
- Where an individual was convicted of or received a stayed sentence for a gross misdemeanor and has not had a new conviction for at least four years since the sentence was completed
- Where an individual was convicted or received a stayed sentence for a qualifying felony and has not had a new conviction for at least five years since the completion of the sentence
- Cases that do not involve individuals mandatorily required to register as a predatory offender. (Cases that fall under this category are prohibited from any kind of expunction)
Partial expungements are granted in situations where a case does not meet the requirements listed above for full expungements. When criminal records are partially expunged, only court records are sealed, and records held by other government agencies will still be available to members of the public.
The Minnesota Judicial Branch provides members of the public with access to a form packet where all the forms required for requesting a criminal record expungement can be obtained. Requests for records expungements can be made through the following steps
- Obtain a copy of your complete criminal history; available from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or at the District Court, where the case in question was filed.
- Complete a Form EXP102 (Notice of Hearing and Petition for Expungement). Ensure that all prior or pending criminal charges are listed, including continuances for dismissal, stays of adjudication, or pretrial diversions in any jurisdiction. Out of state criminal charges should also be listed. Parties that wish to expunge records from different cases should fill out a separate petition for each case.
- Obtain a hearing date from the court administrator at the district court where the case is to be heard (parties are advised to select a date that is at least 60 days from when the request documents are expected to be served).
- Complete an appropriate order concerning sealing/expunging records (Forms EXP105, EXP106, and EXP107), as indicated in the Petition for Expungement.
- Fill out the court information section on the Proof of Service form (EXP104) using the details that were used in the Petition for Expungement. Also, fill out the appropriate blank government addresses. Parties that are requesting for expungements in more than one case should complete a separate Proof of Service form for each case.
- Make copies of the completed documents for each government agency that has to be served (parties are advised to get legal advice about serving government agencies)
- Serve the documents to the appropriate government agencies. This can be done via U.S. mail or through a process server. Ensure that the server properly completes the Proof of Service form.
- File the original Notice of Hearing and Petition for Expungement, Order Concerning Sealing/Expunging Records, and the Proof of Service at the office of the Court Administrator. This should be done after the service process has been completed.
Cases that were resolved in favor of the requestor do not require a filing fee. This includes cases where the individual was exonerated or did not plead guilty and was not found guilty. However, a filing fee is required for cases where the requestor was convicted or entered a guilty plea. This fee varies by court. Parties that are unable to pay the filing fee may request a waiver from the court administrator where the expungement request is being filed.
Parties will be required to appear in court on their hearing date to explain to the judge why they want a record expungement. Government agencies served a petition may object to an expungement at any time before or during the hearing. It should, however, be noted that an objection does not mean that the expungement request will be denied.
After a hearing, the presiding judge has 90 days to decide whether or not the request for expungement will be granted. If the expungement is granted, the record is not officially sealed until 60 days after the expungement order is issued. During this time, the government agencies named in the order may choose to appeal it.
It is important to note that the presiding judge reserves the right to grant an expunction, even in cases that meet all the requirements for a full expungement. Before an expungement is granted, the court carefully considers several factors, such as:
- The nature and severity of the underlying crime
- Steps taken by the individual towards rehabilitation
- The length of time that has passed since the crime was committed
- Risks the individual might pose to others
- The reason the individual is requesting for an expungement
- The individual’s entire criminal record
- Recommendations from the victims of the crime or whether the victims were minors
- Recommendations from interested law enforcement officials, prosecutorial officials, and corrections officials
- Factors related to the crime, including the individual’s level of participation in the crime
- Efforts taken by the individual to make restitution
Parties that have their requests for expungement denied are advised to get legal advice.
How To Get Criminal Records Sealed In Minnesota?
Parties that were arrested but not charged with a crime or parties that had a case dismissed before a criminal complaint was filed typically do not have court records. However, records of the arrests usually exist, and these records may be viewed by members of the public, including employers and landlords, that make requests to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or law enforcement agencies.
Requests for the sealing of these records may be made at the appropriate law enforcement agency, under Minnesota Statutes § 299C.11. These requests must be made in writing to the law enforcement agency where the record is domiciled. Requests for the sealing/expungement of these records may be granted when:
- All charges against the requestor were dismissed before the probable cause could be determined
- The prosecuting authority declined to file any charges against the requestor, and a grand jury did not return an indictment
- The requestor has not been convicted of a felony or gross misdemeanor at least ten years before the arrest in question
- The requestor did not participate in a diversion program as a result of the arrest.
Who Can See My Expunged/sealed Criminal Record In Minnesota?
Minnesota expungements prevent members of the public from seeing an individual’s criminal conviction or arrest records. However, records that have been expunged/sealed may be reopened and viewed under the following circumstances:
- Certain types of employment checks.
- Criminal investigations
- Sentencing or probation services
- With an appropriate court order
In addition to this, parties may access documents in their own sealed criminal cases by completing and filing a Request for Access to Confidential or Sealed File and an Order Regarding Access to Confidential or Sealed File at the appropriate court.