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Are Criminal Records Public in Minnesota?

Yes, criminal records are considered public information in Minnesota. The Freedom of Information Act makes criminal records and information about arrests available to the general public. However, this does not include sealed juvenile records or court orders sealing some criminal charges.

The Public Records Act does not restrict who can request access to records, so anyone can request access to arrests and convictions from the appropriate law enforcement agency. Under Minnesota law, access to criminal records is either open access or limited access. The state has determined that open access to criminal records is in the public's best interests, while limited access protects the privacy rights of victims and witnesses.

Public criminal records offer information on criminal activities committed by an individual. Most criminal records contain general information such as:

  • Individual’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Disposition of all warrants
  • Physical descriptors
  • Details of the arrest
  • Crime summary
  • Details of the conviction (name of a criminal offense)

Criminal records, considered public in the United States, are made available through some third-party aggregate sites. Searching with third-party websites is often easier as the information is not limited to geographic record availability. Information found on third-party websites can serve as a jumping off point for parties searching for a specific record or multiple records. Typically, requesters must provide the following information to gain access to these records:

  • The record subject’s name, unless the subject is a juvenile.
  • The record subject’s last known location, including cities, counties, and states.

Third-party websites offer these search services, but they are not government sponsored. Availability of records may vary.

What is Considered a Criminal Record in Minnesota?

Minnesota criminal records, also called rap sheets, provide a comprehensive overview of an individual’s criminal history. They contain data compiled from local, county, and state agencies. This includes courts, law enforcement departments, and state correctional facilities. While the standard for criminal record collection varies from county to county, most Minnesota criminal records are organized in online record depositories jointly managed by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

How to Obtain Criminal Records in Minnesota?

Record holders as well as residents can request for criminal records in Minnesota. Keep in mind that only the record holder will be granted access to both private and public information on the record. Free public criminal record checks are available to state residents. However, confidential and sensitive information are omitted from these free records.

Requesters may visit or mail the BCA (Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) to obtain copies of criminal records:

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

Interested persons may also use the online criminal record search database to find information on convicted individuals in Minnesota. On demand court records also reveal details of individuals’ criminal history. To obtain these court records, visit the Court Case Search platform provided by the Minnesota Judicial Branch.

Are Arrest Records Public in Minnesota?

Yes. Minnesota law requires that all arrest records are public. Arrest records are kept in the custody of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Arrests that occur within municipal limits must be reported within 24 hours, and arrests that occur outside municipal limits must be reported within 48 hours.

Police departments maintain public arrest records for individuals who have been arrested in their jurisdiction, while law enforcement agencies maintain arrest records for individuals who have been arrested outside their jurisdiction. To perform an arrest search, it is important to know where the arrest occurred. Free arrest records can typically be obtained by interested persons.

What is Considered an Arrest Record in Minnesota?

Minnesota arrest records provide information about a subject’s arrest history. It documents if a subject has been questioned, taken into custody, apprehended, or arrested or investigated. Arrest records may also detail the charges leading to the arrest. In the state of Minnesota, a person can be arrested once they commit a misdemeanor, a felony or a repeated traffic violation. Although arrest records are included within police records, police records are not present in arrest records. Police records include police reports, activity logs, and incident reports.

Minnesota Arrest Warrants

A Minnesota arrest warrant is an official document that is signed and issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the local and state law enforcement department. It authorizes a police officer to arrest or detain the person or people named in the warranty. In Minnesota, police officers are permitted to make warrantless arrests. This often occurs when the officer has reasonable cause to suspect a person has committed a crime or witnessed a person committing a crime. Minnesota does not have a database to run a warrant search throughout the whole state. However, parties may use the DEA Fugitive Search tool and the U.S. Marshall's Warrant Information System. Parties can explore local county sheriff's websites to run a local active warrant search.

How to Look Up Minnesota Inmate Records?

Minnesota inmate records provide official information about offenders booked or incarcerated in correctional facilities within the state. Public information on inmates can be accessed in person by visiting the department. Alternatively, inmate lookup is available online via the inmate search maintained by the Minnesota Department of Correction. Some of the details provided in an inmate record include:

  • Offender’s name
  • Physical descriptors
  • Incarceration date
  • Date of birth
  • Details of the inmate’s offense
  • Inmate photo (mugshot)
  • Expected date of release

How Do I Find Sex Offenders in Minnesota?

A sex offender listing is a registry of persons convicted of committing a sex crime in Minnesota. Megan's Law is a general term used to describe the state laws that govern the creation, access and administration of Minnesota’s sex offender registry. It ensures that information on registered sex offenders is available to the public. The state maintains and provides public access to the Minnesota Predatory Offender Search by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Members of the public may conduct searches by city, county, or zip code. Residents can also search through registrants by zip code. Under Minnesota law, sexual battery and assault are referred to as “predatory offense”. The prosecution need not prove that the victim resisted the sexual conduct to convict a person charged with any of the crimes of criminal sexual conduct. Some of the information provided in a search offender listing include:

  • Offender’s name
  • Birthdate
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Physical descriptors
  • Release date
  • Convicted offense
  • Registered address

Understanding DWI Laws in Minnesota?

A DWI, also known as drunk driving or DUI, violates Minnesota Statute 169A.20, which makes it illegal for road users to operate motor vehicles if they are impaired by alcohol or drugs. A DWI in Minnesota is considered a serious traffic violation. Motorists are considered impaired by the law if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is. 08 or higher based on one test at the time of the arrest.

A person's BAC is calculated and recorded, and it is based on how much blood the person has, the amount of alcohol in that blood, and how long it has been since they consumed alcohol. The more alcohol a person has in their body at the time of a test, the higher their BAC will be. A driver's BAC level can change as more time passes after they drink.

A second test taken within two hours after arrest shows the amount of the driver's intoxicants in their system. A jury may not convict a driver for a violation if their BAC is. 08 and it was not over. 15 at the time of the arrest. If it is found that the driver's BAC was under. 15 at the time of arrest, then there is no legal basis to convict them for a DUI. A DWI crime is a misdemeanor, and the punishment can range from probation to jail time and fines, depending on the number of previous convictions and the seriousness of the crime.

Minnesota Misdemeanors Laws: Offenses and Penalties

In the state of Minnesota, misdemeanors and felonies are defined under Section 609.02 of MN Statutes. Misdemeanors refer to offenses that are generally less severe than felonies. The seriousness of the crime is distinguished by factors such as the cash value of the property damage/theft or the seriousness of the personal injury. Unlike most states in the country, Minnesota does not use a class system to divide misdemeanor offenses. Instead, misdemeanors are categorized as petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, or gross misdemeanors.

  • Gross misdemeanors are the most serious kind of misdemeanor crimes in Minnesota. They’re punishable by up to a year in jail and/or $3,000 in fines.
  • Misdemeanors are the second most severe type of misdemeanor offenses, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $1,000
  • Petty misdemeanors are the least serious type of crimes and carry a fine of up to $300

Some misdemeanor examples in Minnesota include:

  • Criminal neglect of a vulnerable adult
  • Prostitution
  • Assault in the fifth degree
  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • Assault of a peace officer
  • Stalking

Minnesota Felony Laws: Offenses and Penalties

Felony offenses are crimes that carry a minimum sentence of one year to be served in a county jail or state prison. Felony convictions may even be punished by death. Crimes that are not defined as felonies may be charged as a felony if the offender has certain prior convictions. Unlike the legislature in some states, Minnesota laws do not categorize felonies into different classes. Instead, the state’s statute provides penalties and possible sentences for different felonies. Examples of crimes that are considered to be felonies include:

  • Domestic Assault
  • Criminal sexual assault in the first degree
  • Murder in the first degree
  • Crimes related to a controlled substance (fifth degree)
  • Robbery

Probation and Parole in Minnesota

Parole records in Minnesota are an official document that includes information about the release of a prisoner who agreed to certain conditions before completion of their maximum sentence. While the prisoner is on supervised parole, the board shall need as a condition of parole that he/she pays a monthly supervision fee of not less than $30, unless the board agrees to accept a lower fee after determining the inability of the prisoner to pay. The board may also impose any conditions of parole it seems right to make sure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of Minnesota are served.

Probation records are official documents that provide the details and conditions linked with a person’s probation. It contains general information such as:

  • Details of the supervision during probation
  • The duration of the probation
  • The amount to be repaid
  • The frequency of check-ins with a probation officer

Probation records fall under the umbrella of public records, which means they can be accessed by almost any member of the public. There are however exceptions. Probation records for juveniles remain sealed until the offender is an adult. Guardians and parents of minors out on probation may be able to secure these records.

Are Minnesota Juvenile Criminal Records Open to the Public?

Access to Minnesota juvenile records isn’t as direct as public criminal records. In most cases, individuals or organizations seeking access to juvenile records may be required to obtain court permission. This will involve making a showing of good cause. Juvenile records may also be open to the public in cases where a juvenile is charged with a crime that would be a major felony if committed by an adult.

Juvenile criminal records provide an official record of information about criminal activity committed by minors or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Although cases for this group falls under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Juvenile Justice system, exceptions may be made for some cases, such as when a minor is being accused of a particularly dangerous offense.

Although juvenile records in Minnesota are protected from most members of the public, they still remain open to inspection by a group of people, some of which may include:

  • The youth
  • Parents or guardians of the youth
  • Surrogate
  • Judge of court
  • Individuals intervening on behalf of the unit during a proceeding
  • The DA’s office
  • The Juvenile department
  • Service providers on the case

Minnesota Conviction Records

A conviction record provides information about the results of a trial. It reveals if the subject pleads guilty, was found guilty or pleaded no contest to criminal charges in a civilian or military court. Conviction records also include information on persons who are judged delinquent and less than honorably discharged or placed on probation, fined, imprisoned or paroled. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law.

Minnesota History and Accuracy of Criminal Records

The accuracy of criminal records data largely depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Minnesota criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the early 1970s - which is when different institutions began to compile criminal and arrest data into an organized, centralized database, much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error in the past. However, in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of digital storage options.

How to Find Minnesota Criminal History Record for Free

Minnesota Criminal records are accessible to the general public free of charge for 15 years following the conclusion of a sentence. The state of Minnesota provides access to public criminal records, allowing anybody to learn the recent criminal history of any Minnesota resident. These free Minnesota background checks are conducted through the Minnesota Criminal History System, the state's repository of criminal records. Typically, law enforcement creates these records during arrests, incarcerations, and court arraignments, with the goal of using this criminal justice information to solve crimes, prosecute offenders and protect Minnesotans.

This free check is made available through the collaboration of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), and this accessibility in Minnesota for Public criminal history record search is furnished by Minnesota Statutes §13.87, Subd. 1(c).

Are Police Records Public in Minnesota?

Yes, in Minnesota, police records are considered public information. The Freedom of Information Act makes available to the public, various criminal records and information regarding arrests. However, this does not apply to juvenile records and court orders that seal some criminal accusations. The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, (which defines data as public, private, or confidential) and the Public Records Act do not restrict who can request access to records, therefore anybody can request access to arrest and conviction records from the relevant law enforcement agency. Included in police records are police reports, logs, notes, blotters, bookings, and mugshots.

According to Minnesota law, access to criminal records can be classified as either open or restricted. This category was developed by the state with the belief that free access to criminal records is in the best interests of the public, while restricted access protects the privacy rights of victims and witnesses engaged in specific cases.

How to Obtain Police Records in Minnesota

Criminal history is documented in a criminal record, police record, or RAP sheet (Record of Arrests and Prosecutions). This explains a person's prior interactions with law enforcement. The information is gathered from a variety of sources, including local police departments for arrests, courts for trials and convictions, and the state prison system for information about incarceration.

For access to public records in Minnesota, criminal and police records can be accessed online via The Minnesota Public Criminal History Record Search Website, which provides public criminal history information. For this search, a first and last name and date of birth are necessary.

Similarly, a record holder may file a request for public records; this request is often delivered via letter, email, or telephone to the department holding the records. In addition to writing to get a police or criminal record, a record holder may also visit the BCA office to request a printed copy of a criminal history record.

Written petitions must contain the following information: full name with correct spelling, date of birth, and all other names used, including maiden and former married names. The request must be signed, dated, and the signature must be notarized by a public notary. If the request is for immigration purposes or information intended for use outside the United States, it must be specified in the request. In a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope, the requester should enclose a BCA-payable personal check, money order, cashier's check, certified, or business check for $8.00. The average response time for mail inquiries is two weeks or less, and the record holder can receive both public and private information.

If the record holder wishes to only view the criminal history record, the offices are open for walk-ins from 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, they are closed on holidays. To enter the BCA facility, the record holder must present an appropriate form of government-issued picture identification, such as a driver's license. Fingerprints may be necessary for additional verification. Viewing criminal and police records is free; however obtaining a hard copy costs $8.00.

Are Minnesota Police Reports Public Record?

A police report is a written document prepared by law enforcement after a crime or accident has been reported. A police report is compiled when a crime or accident is reported to law enforcement.

Typically, reports identify the victim of a crime and witnesses who may have relevant information needed for investigations. Also included is the offense's classification and other important information. In a police report, an incident that was regarded to be illegal or potentially illegal is physically documented. It is collated by a police department representative and filed in compliance with its rules. It is also known as an "incident report" or an "investigative report".

In Minnesota, assessing whether a Police Report is a publicly accessible public record depends on a variety of situation-specific considerations. When citizens request a copy of a "police report," "incident report," or "investigative report," they are requesting law enforcement data. The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act governs the capacity of individuals to seek and access law enforcement data. If the records are public, the law enforcement agency must generally release a copy or permit inspection. If the data are not public, or if they are confidential, the law enforcement agency cannot furnish a copy by law.

Furthermore, law enforcement data that are always accessible to the public include arrest data, request for service data, transcripts of 911 recordings, and basic information regarding the agency's response to an incident. Law enforcement data considered confidential are criminal investigative data on an active investigation, i.e., the information acquired by the law enforcement agency to prepare a case against a suspect.

  • If the criminal investigation is still ongoing, members of the public will not be able to obtain a copy of the report. They can, however, obtain what is commonly referred to as the public component of the report, which contains public information regarding the case.
  • If the investigation has been concluded and no charges will be made, the case is no longer ongoing, and the data are available to the public. The report should be accessible to members of the public. The law enforcement agency may restrict access to the entire or a portion of the report to protect an ongoing investigation or the identities of victims, witnesses, or others.
  • Nevertheless, if the prosecutor's office is still analyzing the investigative file to determine whether or not charges will be filed, the case remains alive. The report is confidential, and the general public cannot obtain a copy.
  • If the prosecutor's office decides not to pursue a case, the investigation is deemed inactive and the report's contents are made public. Subject to the aforementioned limits, the public should be able to get a copy of the report.

However, these restrictions do not apply to a Domestic abuse situation, as a victim of domestic abuse can request a free copy of a domestic abuse report from a law enforcement agency. Likewise, if the offender is a minor, the investigative report is not public even if the investigation is inactive. In a juvenile case, a victim or victim's legal representative (such as a parent) may submit a written request to the prosecutor's office for the release of investigative data.

How to File a Police Report with Minnesota Law Enforcement

To file a police report in Minnesota isn’t different from any other state police operations. The incident data on police report usually contains the type of suspected crime (burglary, arson, rape, etc.), the location, how it was received and reported (over the phone as an assault), the date and time of the complaint and the actual incident, any injuries, and the officers involved.

Most counties propose that an incident must have occurred in the past to qualify for filing. Anyone involved in a non-emergency incident or a scenario requiring quick police attention can make a police complaint.

However, if the crime is in progress, one must immediately dial 911. For concerns that do not require an urgent response, one may phone the non-emergency number of their local law enforcement agency, register an incident report in person at their police precinct, or file a police complaint online.

Using the online police report system in most cities permits users to submit a report immediately after an incident, and to print a free copy of the police report afterwards. In submitting a report online, the user must have a valid email account. Online police reports can be filed for situations such as theft, lost property, and property damage.

Where to Find Free Public Police Records in Minnesota

Using a name search technology, the BCA's public data is freely accessible online through a name search interface. The public information contains offenses, conviction courts, conviction dates, and punishment details. To search the Public Criminal Record History for free police records, the requester must know the last name, first name, and date of birth of the individual whose identity is being verified. It is crucial to remember that if information from the BCA website is used for job, housing, or credit purposes, the applicant must be aware and have been properly advised. According to section 13.87, subdivision 3(f) of the Minnesota Statutes, the applicant's rights should never be violated.

The lobby is open from 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, for anyone who wishes to see their criminal history records. The free viewing service is unavailable on holidays. Proof of identity will be required in the form of a government-issued photo ID, such as a valid driver's license; fingerprints may also be required to establish identity.

How to Find Mugshots in Minnesota

Mugshots are photographs of a person's face taken for official use, specifically for police records. A mug shot is a snapshot of an individual from the shoulders up, typically after an arrest. Although the Department of Justice doesn’t release mugshots of criminal defendants on privacy grounds, even though courts have repeatedly ruled that the public has a right to see them; in Minnesota, arrest records are considered public documents. Therefore they can be requested from a variety of government entities, including Minnesota State, County, and municipal law enforcement. The websites of the Minnesota Police Departments and Minnesota Criminal Courts provide access to Arrest Records, Warrants, and Mugshots. Checking the websites of county courthouses and local police departments is an excellent starting point. The requester must provide as much information as possible about the individual, including their name and date of birth.

Moreover, according to the Minnesota Data Practices Act, mugshots are public information and websites may post them, allowing individuals to view or locate their mugshots by entering their first and last name on third party sites serving as repositories and offering either free or paid services for viewing and locating mugshots.

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