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Minnesota Court Records

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Are Minnesota Records Public?

Minnesota records are public and accessible to both state and non-state residents. Minnesota state laws govern the creation, storage, maintenance, and disclosure of public records. The following statutes may control access to Minnesota public records depending on the custodial agency and record type.

The Data Practices Act classifies which records are accessible to the public. In contrast, the Official Records Act requires government agencies to create and store records pertaining to their official duties. The Records Management Act differs from the first two; it determines which records are disposed of or stored. More so, these government entities must keep inventories on record and create retention schedules.

Who Can Access Minnesota Public Records?

Per Chapter 13.03 of the Minnesota Revised Statutes, members of the public can make requests and get copies of public data in the custody of designated record custodians. Minnesota record custodians are legally required to maintain a guide for accessing public records. Moreover, they must maintain records in easily accessible formats.

However, not all public records are accessible to the general public. The state laws exempt records deemed confidential or sealed per state or federal statutes. For example, juvenile court and adoption records are sealed under state statutes.

Record custodians can also restrict public data if it violates an individual's or entity’s right to privacy or security. For example, 80A.84 Section 607 redacts residential addresses or social security numbers from public records.

Sometimes, record custodians may release public data to only a select group of requesters. Requesters must present a valid government-issued identification card to access confidential or sensitive data.

Do I Need to State My Purpose and Use When Requesting Public Records in Minnesota?

Under Subdivision 1 of the Minnesota Court Rules, requesters are not required to state the reasons for requesting a public record. However, record custodians may request valid identification cards and a written request before releasing the record.

The written request must contain enough information to identify the requested record. Thus, the request letter may contain these details:

  • The record subject's name
  • Personal identifying features, such as fingerprint (for criminal history records) 
  • A full description of the sought record.

What Records are Public in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, multiple records or files are classified as public records under state laws. Public records in Minnesota include criminal records, court records, sex offenders’ information, inmate data, and vital records. That said, these records are available at specific government agencies. For instance, the Minnesota Department of Corrections maintains records of all inmates incarcerated in the state’s correctional facilities.

Minnesota Public Court Records

Minnesota public court records contain files pertaining to court proceedings and operations. Public court records generally provide information on court administration activities and court cases.

Note that information in court records may differ based on the case type. Criminal court records may contain forensic data and arrest records, whereas traffic court records may contain parking ticket information.

Minnesota court records are under the jurisdiction of the courthouse clerk handling the case. These clerks may provide access to court records online or offline. For example, the clerk of the district courts maintains online access to court records via public terminals.

What information will I find in a Minnesota public court record?

Generally, Minnesota court records may contain the following details:

  • Case information (case number, location, title, type, and date filed)
  • Case party’s information
  • Case assignment
  • Dispositions
  • Case Events

Which court records are exempt in Minnesota?

Under Minnesota laws, court documents are exempt from public view if they contain:

  • Data classified as confidential under state or federal laws
  • Adoption and child custody information
  • Psychological or mental health evaluation
  • Data on identities of crime victims and witnesses.

Minnesota Public Criminal Records

Minnesota public criminal records provide information on an individual’s criminal history. The record may provide information on the offenses, conviction date, and sentencing details.

Keep in mind that not all criminal records are publicly accessible. Record custodians will generally exempt confidential information, such as juvenile, arrest, and crime victim records.

Per Section 13.87, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, via the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), maintains online access to public criminal records. Interested public members can access these records via these steps:

  1. Visit the public criminal records website
  2. Select “Search Criminal History” at the bottom of the webpage.
  3. Next, input the offender’s name and birth date to view the record.

Only the record subject can obtain confidential Minnesota criminal records from the BCA. The BCA issues these records to eligible requesters via mail or in person. To get confidential Minnesota criminal records via mail, interested persons must send the BCA a dated, signed, notarized written request.

The written request must include the record subject's full name, including aliases. In addition to the request, requesters must attach an $8 fee as a money order or check in a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Conversely, you can visit the BCA in person during business hours (8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to obtain criminal history records.

All mail or in-person requests for Minnesota criminal records must be directed to this address:

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
CHA Unit
1430 Maryland Ave. E.
St. Paul, MN 55106

Note: Third-party requesters can obtain a full criminal history by submitting a signed, notarized consent form from the record subject.

Minnesota Public Arrest Records

Minnesota public arrest records are available to the public. These records are often under the purview of the local law enforcement agency where the arrest occurred. Furthermore, these agencies may enable access to arrest records via online forms, mail, in-person visits, or fax. Requesters must provide enough information about the record subject to obtain arrest records in Minnesota.

Note: Record custodians will wipe off criminal records 15 years after a sentence is completed.

Minnesota Public Bankruptcy Records

In Minnesota, public bankruptcy records are court documents pertaining to individuals or entities in a bankruptcy court proceeding. Bankruptcy records may contain different information based on the type of bankruptcy filed with the courts. Nevertheless, a Minnesota public bankruptcy record will provide this information:

  • Debtor's full birth name
  • Case number and status 
  • Docket Number 
  • Debtor's gross income and other necessary financial data
  • Creditor's name and address 
  • The amount owed 
  • A list of the debtor's assets under the bankruptcy chapter

Per the Data Practices Act, bankruptcy records are public information. Furthermore, these records are under the purview of the US Bankruptcy Court - District of Minnesota.

The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) also keeps online bankruptcy records filed from 1999 until the present. To obtain bankruptcy records online, requesters must create an account on the PACER platform and input the required search terms.

You can also get online copies of bankruptcy records at public terminals located at the office of bankruptcy court clerks. Physical copies of Minnesota bankruptcy documents are accessible at these bankruptcy court locations:

200 Warren E. Burger Federal Building and United States Courthouse
316 North Robert Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 848-1000


301 Diana E. Murphy United States Courthouse
300 South Fourth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: (612) 664-5200


404 Gerald W. Heaney Federal Building and
United States Courthouse and Customhouse
515 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218) 529-3600


Fergus Falls
204 Edward J. Devitt United States Courthouse and Federal Building
118 South Mill Street
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Phone: (612) 664-5200

Minnesota Public Birth Records

Birth records in Minnesota comprise information pertaining to birth events. Information in birth records may include:

  • Record subject's full birth name and sex 
  • Date and place of birth 
  • Names of parents, including the mother's maiden name.

The Minnesota Department of Health (DOH), via the Vital Records Division, is the state-level custodian of birth records. The agency will only disclose confidential birth records to these eligible requesters:

  • The record subject and close relatives, such as a current spouse, parent, offspring, or grandparent. 
  • Legal or personal representatives of the record subject 
  • Adoption agencies 
  • Legal representatives 
  • Persons empowered by a court directive to obtain the record.

Note: Each Minnesota county’s vital records office keeps birth records prior to and after 1900.

To obtain a birth record in Minnesota, interested parties must follow these steps:

  1. Fill out a birth certificate request form for confidential or informational copies. Also, the DOH provides birth record request forms in other languages
  2. Include a $26 search fee as a check or money order payable to the Minnesota Department of Health. 
  3. Also, attach a copy of your government ID if you are requesting confidential copies of birth certificates. 
  4. Send the forms in person or via mail to:

Minnesota Department of Health Office of Vital Records
PO Box 64499
St. Paul MN 55164-0499 
Fax: 866-416-1357 (credit card payments only) 


For requests via courier/express delivery only
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55101

Minnesota Public Death Records

Public death records in Minnesota are legal files that may provide information on the following:

  • The deceased's full name 
  • Date and place where the death occurred 
  • Cause and manner of death 
  • Occupation 
  • Parent's full name and birthplace 
  • The medical professional’s signature

Minnesota death records are under the jurisdiction of the state’s Department of Health. The department also issues copies of confidential and informational death records via the mail request option. You can only obtain confidential records if you have a legal or direct interest in them.

To obtain Minnesota death records, record seekers must fill out a request form for confidential or informational copies. Furthermore, they must attach a $13 search fee as a money order or check payable to the Minnesota Department of Health. Next, they must send the required documents to:

Minnesota Department of Health Office of Vital Records
PO Box 64499
St. Paul MN 55164-0499 
Fax: 866-416-1357 (credit card payments only) 


For requests via courier/express delivery only
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55101

Minnesota Public Marriage Records 

In Minnesota, public marriage records will provide information on the following:

  • The couple’s birth names
  • Certificate number
  • Date of marriage
  • The county where the marriage occurred
  • Names of witnesses

Marriage records are public documents and you may find them at a county’s vital records office. Also, the Minnesota Official Marriage System maintains an online searchable database for marriage records. To obtain Minnesota marriage records online, visit the MOMS platform and input the record subject’s name.

On the other hand, you can request birth records via mail or in-person at the vital records office that recorded the event.

The Minnesota Supreme Court
25 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard
St Paul, MN 55155
Phone: (651) 297-7650

Minnesota Public Divorce Records

In Minnesota, public divorce records are official files on dissolved marital unions. These records may provide data on the following:

  • Both record subject's full names 
  • Divorce filing date 
  • The county and courthouse where the divorce case was filed 
  • The case number

The district court clerk keeps records of divorce cases filed at the courthouse. Also, the Minnesota Court Records Online platform (MCRO) maintains online versions of all state divorce records.

To obtain divorce records, interested parties may visit the MCRO platform and input the required search details. On the other hand, you can obtain physical copies of divorce records at the clerk's office via mail or in-person request options.

Minnesota Public Inmate Records

All public members can look up Minnesota public inmate records via designated record custodians. The Minnesota Department of Corrections keeps records of all incarcerated offenders via an online search portal. To use the search portal, requesters may opt to search inmate records via the offender's name or MNDOC offender's ID. In addition to inmate records, the state's Department of Corrections also keeps data on sex offenders, active fugitives, and offenders serving time for violent crimes.

The Minnesota Historical Society is also a repository for inmate records. However, the agency only keeps prison records of past and paroled inmates. To find inmate records via the agency, make a request via mail or in person.

Also, the request must contain these details:

  • The inmate's name or aliases
  • Inmate birth or death date
  • Prison discharge date
  • Prison admission date.

Send the request to:

Minnesota History Center (Second Floor) 
345 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Phone: (651) 259-3300

To get more information on inmate records, requesters may contact the Minnesota Department of Corrections at:

Minnesota Department of Corrections
1450 Energy Park Drive
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108
Phone: (651) 361-7200

Minnesota Public Sex Offender Information

In Minnesota, sex offender information is classified as a public record. The Minnesota Department of Correction is the designated custodian of all data on registered sex offenders. Furthermore, it maintains a searchable database where requesters can view the sex offender's full name, aliases, location, physical attributes, and sex crime.

To access sex offenders data via the database, record seekers must choose a search option and type in the required information. Search options on the Minnesota sex offender database include:

  • Search by City 
  • Search by Name 
  • Search by County 
  • Search by ZIP code

In contrast, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension keeps an online list of fugitive sex offenders.

Minnesota Public Property Records

Property records in Minnesota may contain information on property taxes, titles, deeds, liens, and mortgages. There are no state-level custodians for Minnesota property records. Instead, this information is under the purview of local agencies, such as the land surveyor or assessor’s office. To obtain public property records, you must contact the record custodian in the county where the property is located. The record custodian may maintain both online and in-person access to property records. For example, you can view Hennepin County’s property records via an online searchable portal. Requesters can utilize different search options to view property records.

What is Exempted Under the Minnesota Public Records Act?

Under Minnesota laws, these records are exempt from public access:

  • Court records pertaining to domestic abuse. 
  • Documents submitted to government officials during audits or investigations pursuant to sections 80A.66(d) and 80A.79
  • Trade secrets and confidential data submitted to government entities 
  • Residential address and social security numbers 
  • Documents that were sealed or expunged upon the record subject's request.
  • Drafts or notes prepared by court officials and utilized in the court's decision-making process. 

How Do I Find Public Records in Minnesota?

Here's a step-by-step guide to finding and accessing public records in Minnesota:

Step 1: Find the agency responsible for holding and issuing the public record 

The Minnesota Data Practices Act requires custodian agencies to store documents that were filed with them. In other words, custodian agencies keep records that align with their core functions. 

For example, the Minnesota Department of Health and local vital records offices keep all health-related records, such as birth and death. This also applies to law enforcement-related records, which you'll find at the BCA or local sheriff's offices. 

Step 2: Check if you have the requirements to request and obtain the record 

A general requirement for accessing public records is to provide enough information about the record. Furthermore, requesters must present a valid ID when requesting confidential public documents. So, contact the record custodian to know the basic requirements for accessing the record. Luckily, some custodians will post this information on their websites.

Step 3: Choose the best way to obtain the record 

There are multiple ways to retrieve Minnesota public records. These options may include online platforms, mail, emails, faxes, or in-person request options. For example, Minnesota court records and inmate records are available online, whereas you need to create a written request to get vital records. 

Step 4: Write or fill out a request form 

This step is optional and mostly applies to mail-based options. Some record custodians, such as the Minnesota Department of Health, maintain a downloadable request form on their websites. In the absence of such forms, you must create a request letter featuring the following information:

  • Your full name and contact information 
  • The record subject's full name 
  • Identifying serial numbers for the record 
  • A description of the requested record

Step 5: Pay the required search fee

It's mostly free to view online public records in Minnesota. However, you may pay to access physical copies of the records. Note that the fees may differ based on factors such as the number of requested copies and the document format. Audio recordings or certified copies of public records may cost more than photocopies.

Can I Find Free Public Records in Minnesota Using Third-Party Sites?

Third-party search sites may feature free access to Minnesota public records, such as court and marriage records. In most cases, you only need to fill out the record subject's name to view the requested documents.

Nevertheless, third-party sites come with a caveat since they are not under the purview of government agencies. This means they may contain outdated or inaccurate information. Record seekers should always cross-check with a government website when accessing public records.

How Much Do Public Records Cost in Minnesota?

It costs $0.25 per page to retrieve less than 100 copies of Minnesota public records. Under the Data Practices Act, agencies may charge extra fees based on how long an employee takes to retrieve and make copies of the records. Also, the record format may cost more than photocopies.

What Happens if I Am Refused a Public Records Request?

Under Minnesota Statutes Section 13.04 Subd. 4, you can make an appeal to the Commissioner of Administration if an agency denies access to public records. Some of the general steps for filing an appeal include the following:

  1. Download the data appeal form and fill out the necessary details. An alternative is to create an appeal form providing these details:
    1. The requester's name and mailing address 
    2. A description of the requested record 
    3. The reasons for appealing the agency's decision. 
    4. A statement that you're appealing the decision of the record custodian regarding the reasons for denying the request. 
    5. List out the possible outcome you want from the appeal. 
  2. Attach a copy of the request letter, the agency's response, and copies of other communication with the agency. 
  3. Send the appeal letter via mail or email at:

Commissioner of Administration
c/o Data Practices Office
200 Administration Building
50 Sherburne Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55155

Note: Record custodians may deny requests if it contains exempt data under state or federal statutes.

Minnesota Public Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!