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Minnesota Public Records

How to request Minnesota Public Records?

The Minnesota Data Practices Act ensures the public’s right to access records from governmental entities at all levels. It categorizes all data – whether collected, created, received, stored, or shared by any governmental body, irrespective of its format or storage medium – as public records.

Any individual can request these records and, if the data is unclear, they have the right to an explanation. No need to specify the reason for the request, but if the records are intended for commercial use, an additional fee might apply. The Act doesn’t specify a particular response time for providing the requested data.

To access public records, reach out to the specific state agency responsible for the records you seek. Many agencies offer online search platforms, while others may require you to send a written request via mail or their website.

If you’re uncertain about the appropriate state agency, the Minnesota State Government Departments and Agencies page on the official state website can guide you. Additionally, the Minnesota Historical Society Library houses an extensive collection of public records, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates, as well as census information.

Table of Contents

If you wish to access public records in the state of Minnesota, it's crucial to be aware of the specific steps involved so that your request can be processed effectively. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to go about it:

Where to Find Public Records in Minnesota

If you’re looking for public records in Minnesota, different departments and agencies maintain various types of records. Here’s a guide to help you find them:

Vital Records (Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce):

These records are generally sourced from the Minnesota Department of Health's Office. You can make requests online, by mail, or in person. For more information, visit their official website.

Property Records:

The Minnesota Commerce Department typically maintains these records. Visit their website for more details.

Business Records:

Information on businesses, LLCs, and partnerships can be found at the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office. For more details, visit their website.

Court Records:

For court records, you can use the Minnesota Courts Online service provided by the Minnesota Judicial Branch. More information is available on their website.

Driving Records:

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety administers these. To learn how to request these records, visit their website.

Professional Licenses:

Verify a professional's license in Minnesota through the relevant state board.

Minnesota State Archives:

For historical or older records, you can go to the Minnesota Historical Society. To access their collections, visit their website.

Are Minnesota Public Records Available Online?

Yes. In Minnesota, many governmental entities provide online avenues to public records, though the scope and kind of information differ across agencies.

For instance, the Minnesota Judicial Branch features an online database where one can sift through court records covering both criminal and civil matters. Several counties in the state further extend online gateways to explore records, including documents related to property tax and court proceedings.

Additionally, platforms like InfoTracer can be instrumental in accessing Minnesota public records. They typically offer a broad spectrum of records, encompassing arrest histories, court documents, and essential records.

State Public Records Law

The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA). governs the availability of public records within the state. The act aims to ensure governmental transparency and accountability by providing public access to records. Here are some key components:

Which Records are Public in Minnesota?

Which Records are Not Public in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, although the majority of public records are accessible to the general populace, there are specific exceptions. As per the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA), certain data categories are deemed private, non-public, or confidential. Such information can’t be divulged without the permission of the concerned individual.

Minnesota Background Checks

Minnesota’s Ban-The-Box legislation ensures that employers cannot inquire about a candidate’s criminal history during the initial job application phase. While background checks are permissible, they can only be conducted after the first interview.

Additionally, in line with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), employers must obtain written approval from the candidate before initiating such a check. 

What Can Be Included in an Minnsota Background Check Report?

Criminal History

This could include state and federal convictions, imprisonment details, sexual offenses, traffic violations, and any inclusion of the person on terrorist watch lists.

Social Security/Citizenship Verification:

This validates the person's social security details, any known aliases, and their legitimate status as a U.S. citizen.

Sex Offender Records:

All registered sex offenders are documented by law in their locale.

Terrorism Monitoring List:

Post the 9/11 events, the government maintains a record of individuals with potential or known terrorist connections. This may also be included in the report.

Driving Records:

For roles requiring driving, a thorough check of any history of DUIs or reckless driving behaviors is undertaken.

Academic Records:

Verifying academic records provides an authentic account of an individual’s educational history and qualifications, especially since some may embellish their achievements.

Financial Report:

This offers insights into an individual's financial behaviors and responsibilities.

Minnesota Court Records

Overview of the Minnesota Judicial System and Its Structure

In Minnesota, details related to court cases are publicly accessible, except for records from juvenile courts.

Minnesota’s judiciary is structured into three primary tiers:

  • Supreme Court: This is the highest judicial authority. It reviews and determines outcomes for both criminal and civil cases, oversees lower courts, and regulates attorneys among other duties.
  • Court of Appeals: This court primarily reviews decisions handed down by the district courts. It can issue writs, which are orders directing lower courts, and handles contested cases among other responsibilities.
  • District Court: This is the general trial court where most cases begin. It hears both civil and criminal cases. Within the district court system, there are specialized courts, such as juvenile courts, family courts, and probate courts.

Types of Minnesota Court Records

Civil Court Records​

Small Claims Records

Judgement Records​

Bankruptcy Records​


Restrictions, Limitations, and Confidentiality in Minnesota

In Minnesota, certain provisions allow minors to independently consent to specific services without requiring the permission of a parent or guardian.

According to Minnesota Statutes Sections 144.341 – 144.344, these provisions enable young individuals to confidentially seek health care for delicate matters, including pregnancy or its prevention, sexually transmitted infections, and issues relating to substance use or abuse. Moreover, Minnesota Statute 253B.04 subd.1 grants consent rights to youth aged 16 and above for inpatient mental health services.

These confidentiality measures are crucial as they empower adolescents and young adults to access necessary health care while ensuring their privacy. The degree of legal protection for these confidential services largely hinges on the age of the individual — whether they’re a minor (below 18 years) or an adult (18 years and above) — and their capacity to legally consent to their own care.

What Do These Records Contain?

Courts in Minnesota

In Minnesota, juvenile matters are typically handled by the Family Division of the Circuit Court in each county.

The highest court in Minnesota is responsible for interpreting state laws and the Minnesota Constitution.

In Minnesota, family law matters, including divorce, child custody, and child support, are generally overseen by the Family Division of the Circuit Court in each county.

Minnesota Public Vital Records

Birth Certificate:

  • Purchase from any County Vital Record Office.
  • Some county offices may provide on-the-spot printing.
  • The Office of Vital Records at the Minnesota Department of Health doesn’t entertain walk-in requests; they accept only mail or fax applications, which a notary public must authenticate. A certified copy comes at a fee of $26.

Death Certificates:

Obtainable through the Minnesota Office of Vital Records, which keeps death records from January 1908 onwards. A copy costs $13, with additional copies priced at $6 each when ordered at the same time. Note that this office doesn’t offer walk-in service.

Alternatively, one can purchase from any Minnesota County Vital Records Office. Immediate printing might be available in some county offices.

  • For deaths post-1997, the Minnesota Department of Health has an online Death Search Tool. For a search, provide:
  • The deceased’s first name, last name, and DOB, or
  • The deceased’s first name, last name, and unhyphenated SSN.

Marriage Certificates:

Minnesota doesn’t maintain marriage records at the state level. For copies, head to the county that issued the marriage license. Location details are available at the County Vital Record Office.

Divorce Certificate:

Divorce certificates (or decrees) are sourced from the county district court office where the divorce was granted. It’s essential to remember that the Minnesota Office of Vital Records doesn’t register divorces or marriages. The state, being open-record, also provides divorce statistics for each county via the U.S. Census Bureau.

Minnesota Public Criminal Records

Definition and Types of Criminal Records in Minnesota

In Minnesota, criminal records serve as authoritative documents chronicling an individual’s encounters with the criminal justice system. They furnish a thorough report, capturing details from arrest histories, court proceedings, convictions, and any probation or parole information tied to the person in question.

Information contained in criminal records

  • Personal Identification Details: This section carries the individual’s basic information like their full name, birth date, and sometimes, their residential address.
  • Arrest Records and Charges: This captures specifics surrounding an arrest, such as the arrest’s date and location, the law enforcement agency that carried out the arrest, and the charges levied against the person.
  • Court Case Information and Outcomes: This segment details the judicial proceedings tied to the individual. It includes the court’s name, the case number, its current status, and crucial dates, such as when the person was arraigned and the results of any trials.
  • Convictions and Sentencing Details: Should the person be found guilty, this section lists the exact charges they were convicted of and elaborates on the ensuing sentence, which might include financial penalties, community service, or incarceration.
  • Probation or Parole Status: If the individual is on probation or parole, this section provides specifics on the terms, conditions, and duration of the probation or parole.

Police Records and Reports

In accordance with the Minnesota Statutes, section 13.82, data related to law enforcement pertain to records that are generated, accumulated, or retained by bodies executing law enforcement roles. This includes entities like municipal police, county sheriff and fire departments, the Minnesota State Patrol, and the Department of Public Safety. Notably, data amassed by agencies collaborating with law enforcement, like prosecutors or probation officials, aren't encompassed by section 13.82's provisions.

Booking Records and Reports

Criminal records within Minnesota are overseen by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which is the primary point of reference for such searches.

DUI Records

DUI arrest and conviction records are generally available to the public and can often be accessed by examining county jail inmate databases or scrutinizing county court documents. If an individual hasn't been charged or convicted, such information might remain private. However, even in such cases, the details could be reflected in formal background investigations.

Felony and Misdemeanor Records

In Minnesota, individuals can procure a physical copy of their criminal records either through mail or by directly visiting the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

Parole Records

Parole records straddle the line between public accessibility and confidentiality. The nature of their accessibility is primarily shaped by state laws and previous legal judgments. However, federal laws, like HIPAA—which deals with health information—can restrict access to certain details. While the outcomes, votes, and recommendations of parole board proceedings are public, the specific records related to a parolee and discussions surrounding individual cases might remain confidential.

Probation Records

In Minnesota, probation records can typically be requested from the Minnesota Public Criminal History website. These records include details about the conditions of probation, reports from probation officers, and progress made in meeting those conditions. The availability and costs associated with these records can depend on various factors, such as the jurisdiction and nature of the case.

Warrant Search

In Minnesota, there are various methods available for conducting a warrant search. One of the most straightforward ways is to utilize the state’s official case search tool, the Minnesota Court Records Online (MCRO). Additionally, individual district courts offer the possibility to retrieve warrant information through either in-person visits or over the phone. Local county sheriff’s offices are also reliable sources for this type of inquiry. However, it's important for individuals to exercise caution; if someone is searching for their own active warrant in person, they could face immediate arrest. For those seeking a quicker, albeit potentially less detailed check, several third-party websites offer free warrant searches. While these platforms can provide swift results, the depth and accuracy of the information might not always match that of official channels.

Inmate And Jail Records

Jails serve as facilities where individuals are incarcerated for short durations, typically either while serving sentences for misdemeanors or while awaiting their trial. Typically, city jails fall under the jurisdiction of police departments, while county jails are managed by the sheriff's office. Therefore, if one wishes to search for an individual in either a city or county jail, it's vital to determine the specific location or county where the inmate is housed. Many county jails offer online inmate lookup tools that enable users to search for and access an inmate's records or relevant jail documentation.

What You Can Find When Searching for an Inmate in Minnesota

In Minnesota, when embarking on an inmate search, you’re likely to uncover various details about the individual’s incarceration status and history:

  • Inmate Location and Facility Details: Your search will typically yield results showing the current location of the inmate. This encompasses the name of the detention facility, its physical address, and the relevant contact details for the establishment.
  • Booking Information and Charges: The database will also provide a snapshot of the inmate’s booking history. Key details like the date of booking, the associated booking identifier, and the specific charges pressed against the inmate will be available.
  • Sentence Length and Release Dates: Additionally, you’ll get insights into the duration of the inmate’s sentence. The search will reveal when the sentence commenced and project an anticipated release date. It’s worth noting that the latter can be modified based on factors such as parole considerations, good behavior, or other relevant circumstances.
  • Parole Eligibility and Parole Board Decisions: The database will also shed light on the inmate’s parole status. This includes information on their eligibility for parole. Furthermore, records of any parole board deliberations, their resolutions, and any stipulations attached to a successful parole application will be accessible.

How to Conduct an Inmate Lookup in Minnesota

  • Visit the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) website: The BOP has maintained records of inmates incarcerated or released since 1982.
  • Access the MN Federal Prison Inmate Locator: This tool is available on the BOP website and is free to use.
  • Gather Preliminary Information: Before initiating your search, ensure you have some basic information about the inmate. This will make the search process more efficient.
  • Search for the Inmate:
    • By Name: Input the inmate’s full name in the search bar.
    • By Inmate Number: If you have the inmate’s unique identification number, you can use it for a more precise search.
  • Locate the Inmate: Once you’ve input the details, the system will display matching results. Select the correct inmate from the list.
  • Determine the Inmate’s Location: After identifying the inmate, use the Federal Prison facility locator tool on the BOP site to find out the specific facility where the inmate is housed.

Can I Look Up Mugshots in Minnesota?

To access someone’s criminal record or details about an individual charged with a crime in Minnesota, follow these steps:

  • Access the State Database: The criminal record will typically encompass mug shots or photographs of the individual in question. You can retrieve this information online.
  • Visit the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension: This platform allows you to execute a Minnesota criminal record search.
  • Contact Local Law Enforcement Agencies: If you’re seeking mugshots from other regions or specific details, approach local police departments and sheriff’s offices. These offices often provide inmate rosters with photographs or offer facilities for warrant searches. For instance, the Itasca County Sheriff’s department provides an online roster featuring inmate photographs.

Minnesota Arrest Records

In Minnesota, the primary agency responsible for the upkeep and management of criminal records is the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Anyone wishing to conduct a search for criminal records will need to go through the BCA’s system or services.

What Do Minnesota Arrest Records Contain?

  • Personal Identification Details: Minnesota arrest records frequently contain the individual’s full name, date of birth, and potentially additional identifiers like physical attributes or home address.
  • Arrest Information: This typically encompasses the date, time, and place of the arrest. Additionally, it sheds light on the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest and any particular charges levied against the person.
  • Booking Information: This portion might encompass fingerprints and possibly mugshots and other unique identifiers, though this can differ based on the jurisdiction.
  • Charges and Criminal Offenses: Arrest records in Minnesota usually delineate the explicit charges resulting in the arrest, and they might reference the pertinent Minnesota Statutes sections.
  • Court Case Information: While it might not be directly present in the arrest record, court case details can generally be procured from the Minnesota Court Records Online service. This can encompass case numbers, the current status, and the conclusions of any judicial actions.

Minnesota Property and Asset Records Online

Local authorities in Minnesota are generally cognizant of the fact that the Minnesota Department of Commerce is the designated custodian for unclaimed assets considered abandoned under the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act. This property remains with the Department of Commerce until the legitimate owner steps forward to claim it.

Unclaimed Properties in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Commerce collaborates with various states on a website designed to facilitate searches for unclaimed assets, possibly belonging to individuals or local governments. If you’re interested in initiating such a search, please direct your attention to the Missing Money website:

For local governments keen on discovering unclaimed assets, simply enter the name of your local government entity into the “Name or Business Name” field, then click on “Start Your Search.

Driving Records

Driving records in Minnesota are managed and maintained by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, specifically within the Division of Driver and Vehicle Services. If you wish to access or request these driving records, you should direct your request to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Division of Vehicle Services. To streamline this process, you can use their online Records Request Procedure. 

Traffic Infractions

In Minnesota, traffic infractions differ from traffic misdemeanors in that they are not deemed criminal offenses. Instead, infractions are categorized as civil violations, subject to fines or other penalties. Examples of these infractions encompass actions such as running a stop sign or parking in a no-parking zone.

While individuals cited with a traffic infraction have the option to represent themselves in a court of law, it’s often beneficial to consult with a legal professional in advance. This ensures a clearer understanding of the state’s legal intricacies and potential defenses.

Consequences stemming from traffic infractions in Minnesota encompass a range of penalties. These can be monetary fines, mandated community service, or even the suspension of one’s driving license. While the exact amount can fluctuate based on the infraction’s gravity, fines can reach up to $1,000. Additionally, community service hours for these infractions can vary between 10 to 40 hours, and a driver’s license suspension might extend up to 90 days.

Upon conviction for a traffic infraction, Minnesota motorists are typically obliged to settle the imposed fine. However, there’s room for negotiation, allowing the offender to possibly establish a payment arrangement or even decrease the fine amount.

Minnesota White Pages - Access to People, Addresses, and Other Non-Official Information

Address Search ​

Minnesota has 87 counties, and each county operates an Assessor’s Office responsible for preserving property records. To obtain land and tax records, one can visit the Assessor’s Office of the county where the property is situated. These records typically feature the owner’s name along with other pertinent information related to the property. Additionally, several counties offer online platforms, allowing users to undertake this search digitally.

Numerous online portals and websites extend reverse address lookup functionalities. While some might levy a charge for their services, they often furnish a comprehensive set of details, encompassing the owner’s name, address, and sometimes even their contact information.

People Search​

If you’re looking to gather information about individuals in Minnesota, conducting a people search can be a beneficial approach. Numerous online platforms and public records websites are available that can render basic details like full names, addresses, and contact numbers. It’s worth noting that while some of these websites may require a payment for their services, others might give access to a restricted set of data at no cost.

Can I Search By a Phone Number and Identify The Owner?

Yes, reverse phone lookup tools are available to help pinpoint the owner associated with a specific phone number. Utilizing these services, one can obtain data linked to the phone number in question, such as the owner’s name, address, and on some occasions, even photographs and links to their social media accounts. To employ a reverse phone lookup, simply input the phone number into the search bar of these platforms. Additionally, if you have other details like the individual’s name or address, some platforms might support searches using these parameters to retrieve associated phone numbers.

How to Do a License Plate Lookup in Minnesota

In Minnesota, civilians have the right to look up driver’s records using a license plate. Such queries can be facilitated through the Driver and Vehicle Services division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. While individuals can easily request records pertaining to their own vehicle or driver’s history, obtaining records of another driver might be restricted. License plate-based inquiries can be conducted online, in person, or via phone.

However, it’s crucial to understand the legal limitations. According to Minnesota Statute 168.36 and the United States Code, title 18, section 2721, the dissemination of specific details from motor vehicle records is forbidden. Access to such personal data is permissible only if the subject of the record has granted consent. In certain scenarios, acquiring the record might necessitate written authorization from the individual in question.

Personal specifics, including the registered driver’s name and address, might be deemed private, implying that disclosures are generally not allowed, barring situations that concern the physical safety of drivers, pedestrians, or property. Anyone intending to submit a request should first ascertain their eligibility to access the desired records.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who and why can request public records?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ensures that every individual has the entitlement to seek complete or partial information from the Executive branch of the Federal government. In line with this, the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA) ensures that data within the state is accessible to foster an informed citizenry. Importantly, the MGDPA does not stipulate that a person must be a citizen to request public records, making these documents accessible to anyone, regardless of their location or nationality.

Are there fees associated with requesting public records?

Certainly, when procuring public records in Minnesota, associated fees might be incurred. Many government entities impose modest charges to compensate for the expenses tied to photocopying, digitizing, and compiling the requested documents. The precise fee scale may vary contingent on the agency in question and the specifics of the request. In particular scenarios, for instance with journalists or non-profit entities, these charges could potentially be discounted or entirely waived.

Can I access public records for free?

In Minnesota, numerous public records are conveniently available online since many government departments proactively publish specific records for public access. Nonetheless, if the desired records aren’t directly accessible on the web, it may necessitate submitting a formal application. Such requests might carry corresponding fees or charges.

What is the response time for public records requests?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) does not delineate a definitive timeframe for responding to data requests.

For obtaining public records, it’s advised to contact the respective state agency that oversees the records of interest. A multitude of these agencies provide online databases for convenient searches. In instances where this isn’t an option, a formal written application might be necessary, either through mail or the agency’s official website.

Can my request be rejected?

Yes, in Minnesota, public records requests can be declined under particular circumstances. Government bodies may opt not to fulfill a request if the information in question is subject to specific exemptions that legally shield it from public disclosure. Typical justifications for denial encompass concerns pertaining to personal privacy, ongoing legal inquiries, national security interests, attorney-client privilege, or the safeguarding of trade secrets.

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