What defines a Criminal Record in Minnesota?
A criminal record is an official document that records a person’s criminal history. The information is assembled from local, county and state jurisdictions as well as trial courts, courts of appeals and county and state correctional facilities.
While the standard for criminal record collection and storage varies from county to county, a large percentage of Minnesota criminal records are organized in online record depositories that are available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report. This report is accessed through a number of courts, police departments, and the official Minnesota State Records Online Database.
The amount of criminal records information presented on StateRecords.org varies from person to person. This is because different sources often have non-standardized state level protocols, storage classifications, requirements, organization and digitization processes for data collection. Criminal records in the state of Minnesota generally include the following subjects:
Minnesota Arrest Records
An arrest record is an official document providing information about a person that has been questioned, apprehended, taken into custody, placed in detention, held for investigation and/or charged with, indicted or tried for any felony, misdemeanor or other offense by any law enforcement or military authority.
The arrest of a person may also be made by any peace officer or a private person without a warrant upon reasonable information that the accused stands charged in the courts of a state with a crime punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
Minnesota Arrest Warrants
An arrest warrant is an official document that is signed and issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the local and state jurisdictions. It authorizes a police officer to arrest or detain the person or people named in the warrant or to search and seize the individual’s property. The warrant must substantially recite the facts necessary to the validity of its issuance.
A misdemeanor is a non-indictable offense and is generally less severe than felonies. However, like felonies, a misdemeanor charge is classified by a number-based system designed to describe the severity of the alleged crime. Misdemeanors usually distinguish from felonies by the seriousness of injury caused to another person, the cash value of the property taken, or a number of drugs in a person’s possession and whether there is proof of intent to sell or distribute the drugs. In Minnesota, misdemeanors are categorized as gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and petty misdemeanors. Gross misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor crimes in Minnesota. Petty misdemeanors are the least serious, as the potential sentence for these crimes does not include jail time.
A felony offense is a criminal conviction with a maximum sentence of more than 1 year. This is served in a county jail or state prison. In some cases, a felony conviction can 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.
Minnesota law does not classify felony crimes into different classes. Instead, the Minnesota criminal statutes offer the possible penalties for each person felony. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines
also govern sentencing for felonies and offer minimum sentences for some crimes. Felonies in Minnesota range from murder—the most serious felony crime in the state—to criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, robbery, assault, forgery, property crimes, and controlled substance crimes.
Minnesota Sex Offender Listing
A sex offender listing is a registry of persons convicted of committing a sex crime. In most cases, jurisdictions compile their laws into sections, such as traffic, assault and sexual. Judges are given discretion as to whether they need registration for crimes besides the charges listed under the sex offender registration law. A judge may order an adult to register as a sex offender if the crime they were convicted of involves sexual motivation.
Under Minnesota law, sexual battery and assault are referred to as “criminal sexual conduct
.” 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.
Minnesota Serious Traffic Violation
A serious traffic violation tends to involve willful disregard for public safety, death, serious bodily injury, damage to property and multiple minor traffic violations. Ticket fines vary by county. There is also no points system in Minnesota. However, the MN Department of Public Safety (DPS)
may suspend the driver's license of habitual traffic offenders or anyone convicted of a serious traffic violation.
Minnesota Conviction Records
A conviction record is a document providing information that a person is found guilty, pleaded guilty or pleaded no contest to criminal charges in a civilian or military court. The criminal charges are classified as a felony, misdemeanor or other offense. Conviction also includes a person 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. A conviction does not include a final judgment deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed or otherwise rendered inoperative.
Minnesota Jail and Inmate Records
Jail and inmate records are official documents of information about a person’s current and sometimes past inmate status. A person who is in jail or considered an inmate is someone deprived of their civil liberties while on trial for a crime, or a person serving a sentence after being convicted of a crime. Like most states, Minnesota has a Department of Corrections
, which maintains an inmate database that contains information such as the inmate’s name, incarceration date, expected release date, convicted offense and sometimes photos.
Minnesota Parole Information
Parole records 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.
Minnesota Probation Records
Probation records are official documents that show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. Probation allows people convicted of a crime in Minnesota to serve their sentences out of custody, as long as they follow probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case.
Probation typically falls into three categories: minimally supervised, supervised and intensive. Intensive probation is a form of very strict probation that emphasizes punishment and control of the offender within the community.
Minnesota Juvenile Criminal Records
A juvenile criminal record is an official record of information about criminal activity committed by children or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Juveniles are not considered to be convicted of a crime like an adult but instead, are found to be “adjudicated delinquent”. These criminal records are often mistakenly thought to be erased or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. If a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.
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 the human error in the past. However, in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer. As a result, the information provided on StateRecords.org will vary from person to person.
Minnesota Megan’s Law
Megan's Law is the term for state laws that create and keep up a sex offender registry, which provides information on registered sex offenders to the public. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government mandated that all states set up sex offender registries and offer the public with information about those registered.
Registration is required of any person convicted in Minnesota of criminal sexual conduct that involves especially egregious factors (such as death, torture, severe psychological harm, mutilation or great bodily harm, or a prior sex offense). In addition, individuals designated as predatory sexl offenders are required to register as such an offender. Sexual offender registration is accessible by neighbors, employers, landlords, schools, and other members of the public, and restricts where a registered offender may live, work, go to school, and just hang out.