Minnesota Court Records
What are Minnesota Juvenile Court Records?
Within the Minnesota court system, the Juvenile Divisions of the District Courts are responsible for handling legal proceedings involving children below 18 years of age. These proceedings range from child protection to juvenile delinquency cases. When any of these cases are filed in the court, whether by a prosecutor for a delinquency case or by a parent/legal guardian, law enforcement, or school for a juvenile matter, juvenile court records are generated in both physical and electronic forms by the court. According to Rule 30.01, Minnesota juvenile court records include all documents filed with or maintained by the court; electronic recordings; trial/hearing transcripts; notes and tapes of reporters; records of juvenile probation officers, county home schools (as defined by § 260B.060),, and county detention agencies; and any document concerning a juvenile delinquency matter.
What Information is Contained in a Minnesota Juvenile Record?
Any Minnesota juvenile record maintained by the court has information on the child involved in the case as well as all court proceedings, motions, orders, and case-related documents. It is important to note that the contents of a juvenile record will vary according to the type of case. A juvenile record may contain the information below:
- The child’s full name and known aliases
- Personally identifiable information (date of birth, most recent residence, fingerprints, etc.)
- All court orders, notices, decrees, findings, and motions
- Arraignment and trial information or documents
- Court disposition
- Probationary and correctional records
- Court transcripts
- Other filed or relevant documents
What Cases are Heard by Minnesota Juvenile Courts?
Cases heard by the Minnesota juvenile courts include child in need of protection and services (CHIPS) cases, status offenses, and delinquency proceedings, such as:
- Termination of parental rights
- Petty, misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony traffic offenses
- Offenses involving sexual conduct
- Felony/misdemeanor crimes
- Curfew violations
- Drinking/smoking offenses (tobacco, alcohol possession, and marijuana possession/consumption)
Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Minnesota?
Under Minn. Stat. §260B.171, juvenile records are closed to the public, except for records of juveniles who committed felony offenses when they were at least 16 years of age or above (Minn. Stat. § 260B.163, subd. 1,).
Although public inspection or copying is generally prohibited, Minn. Stat. §260B.171, subd. 4 and Rule 30.02 permit access by court order provided the record is requested in the interests of the child or public safety, or for the operation of the juvenile court system. Certain parties can also access these records under specific statutory conditions. These parties include:
- Another juvenile or adult court
- Law enforcement agencies
- Prosecuting attorneys
- Counsel representing a juvenile, parent, legal guardian/custodian, or guardian ad litem (an individual appointed by the court during a case to guard a child’s interests)
- A parent/legal guardian of the juvenile
- The subject of the record
- Probation officers
- Schools and educational institutions
- Correctional institutions
The court may also release information about a delinquent case such as a juvenile’s name and age, the offense/offense date, and the court’s disposition, to a victim. However, Minnesota Court Rule 30 subd. 3, prohibits the release of any juvenile record to the military services or a juvenile’s current or soon-to-be employer.
How to Find Juvenile Records in Minnesota
Individuals, including members of the public and persons with custody/supervision of children, may inspect or copy juvenile records in Minnesota by obtaining a court order from the judge who presided over the case. These records include adoption, delinquency, status offenses, and child protection case records, and may be accessed by written request. The juvenile courts may provide forms for this purpose. Forms are obtainable by contacting the relevant court. However, these forms can be downloaded online for persons requesting juvenile records from the Hennepin County Juvenile Court. Contact information for record requests, and in the case of Hennepin Juvenile Court, forms and submission guidelines, can be found on the specific court’s page via the Find Your Court tool. Usually, the copy fee is $8 per document for plain copies and $14 per document for certified copies.
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 person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
Can You Lookup Minnesota Juvenile Records Online?
No, it is not possible to lookup Minnesota juvenile records online. Generally, members of the public are restricted from direct online or remote access to Minnesota juvenile records under Rule 8 (d), (e), and (f), including records of juveniles who were at least 16 or older when accused of felony offenses (Minn. Stat. § 260B.171 subd. 9),, that are otherwise public. Minnesota law limits public viewing or inspection because these records concern individuals below the legal age, and disclosure will defeat the objective of juvenile rehabilitation in the juvenile justice system.
Do Minnesota Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?
In Minnesota, most juvenile records, both trial and appeal records, are private and as such do not show up on background checks. Juvenile records that are likely to show up are those authorized by the law to be publicly available, namely: the juvenile records of persons who were prosecuted as adults for felony offenses. However, government agencies responsible for licensure or background research can access private juvenile records.
Minnesota law permits the expunction (sealing) of juvenile delinquency records under Minn. Stat. § 260B.198, subd. 6 (a), so far as the record’s expungement will not compromise public safety and that issuing, enforcing, or monitoring the order of expungement will not place a burden on the court and government agencies/jurisdictions. In deciding whether or not to issue an order of expungement, the court will look at:
- An individual’s educational background, experience, and age at the time of an offense
- The offense’s severity, as well as aggravating and mitigating circumstances
- An individual’s juvenile delinquency and criminal history
- Possibility of gaining housing, employment, or education after expungement
- Other criteria outlined by Minn. Stat. § 260B.198, subd. 6 (b)
More information on the expungement process for juvenile records may be obtained from the Criminal Expungement page of the Minnesota judiciary’s website.
How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Minnesota?
According to Minn. Stat. § 260B.171, subd. 1, records of juvenile delinquency adjudication cases are kept and maintained by the court until the subject of the record becomes 28 years old. Other retention schedules for juvenile delinquency case records can be found under No. 53.1 et seq. of the District Court Record Retention Schedule. Minnesota statutes do not address retention schedules for juvenile records that are not related to delinquency adjudication cases.