Minnesota Background Checks and Public Records

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The State of Minnesota

Minnesota, also known as the land of 10,000 lakes, is located in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Though it’s the 12th largest state in land area, it only ranks 22nd in terms of population.

Minnesota is home to several great museums and theaters, including the oldest continuously running theater – The Old Log Theater. Most of its residents live in St. Paul, MN – the state capital, also known as the Twin Cities. This state’s specific region houses Minnesota’s largest industries, including education, transportation, and financial business. Outside the region relies on agriculture, mining, and recreation.

Minnesota’s tourism often causes a seasonal fluctuation of its population; hence, should you need to run a background check on a Minnesota resident, consider checking its neighboring states as well.

Counties in Minnesota 

AitkinDakotaLac Qui ParleNormanSibley
AnokaDodgeLakeOlmstedSt. Louis
BeckerDouglasLake of the WoodsOtter TailStearns
BeltramiFaribaultLe SueurPenningtonSteele
Big StoneFreebornLyonPipestoneSwift
Blue EarthGoodhueMahnomenPolkTodd
CarverHoustonMcLeodRed LakeWadena
ChippewaIsantiMille LacsRenvilleWashington
CottonwoodKittsonNoblesSherburneYellow Medicine
Crow WingKoochiching

Where To Get Public Records In Minnesota

Like in most states, Minnesota doesn’t have a central repository of information, confidential or public. Rather, such records are handled by different government bodies – from collating to securing to releasing.

For instance, should you need birth or death certificates and marriage or divorce records, reach out to the Office of Vital Statistics, a division of the Department of Health. Across all states, older genealogy-related details are quite challenging to acquire as most of these have been archived. In Minnesota, they keep vital records from the 1900s to the present.

If you’re looking for criminal records, navigate to the online-based criminal history database managed by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). A criminal history record information includes criminal convictions and incarcerations, including arrests, offenses, mugshots, fingerprints, distinguishing features, and basic personal information.

The Department of Corrections is responsible for inmate records. They manage an online page where users can look up offender information using either the inmate’s name or identification number. Inmate records entail basic information like name, date of birth, and gender, as well as case-specific details like custody status, the jail location, and registration number.

For court records, they are kept by the Minnesota Judicial Branch. They collate documents from several courts – from where a case is initially heard to where a decision is finalized. These can include case records, court minutes, judgment documentation, jury files, and witness statements.

Property records can also be accessed by the general public, either in digital or paper format. These are commonly maintained at a county level by county recorders, assessors, or land surveyors. Land and deed records could be obtained from the Minnesota IT Services Department’s Geospatial Information Office, while property tax records could be accessed from the Library of the University of Minnesota.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Minnesota

The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA) governs all of the state’s records. Though Minnesota statutes and legislations aim to make as many records as possible to be publicly accessible, a few exemptions applicable for both private and public sectors are clearly stated. Some of these exemptions include certain legislature documents, judicial information, and court service records.

Generally, to request access to public records, you’ll be required to provide your name and contact information, the details of the records, and how you wish to receive the documents. Should the request get denied, you may appeal to the Commissioner of Administration within two years from the denial date.

Requests can either be made in person, in writing, over the phone, or online. Most offices, however, do not allow walk-in requests, so be sure to properly coordinate with the respective agencies first. Should you want to, you may always utilize a trustworthy third-party people search engine.

Minnesota Background Check Reports

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), a division of the Department of Public Safety, is in charge of all background checks in Minnesota. They conduct criminal background checks and provide basic background reports. 

The state adheres to federal laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which prevents bias final adverse action and decision by employers. To further protect the rights of aspiring employees and workers, Minnesota has also implemented a ban-the-box law. This prohibits employers, public or private, from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal history record during the interview process. All these laws eventually aim to stop discrimination within workplaces.

While basic checks could be done online, full background checks require a filled-out and notarized Informed Consent Form. There’s a $15 fee for every background check request, and an additional $18.25 is charged should an FBI check be needed.

Though most received requests are for employment purposes, background check reports in Minnesota are also used by license issuers, foster care, and property lessors. Aside from coordinating with the BCA, you may also conduct background checks using a reputable and reliable third-party site.

Minnesota Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Minnesota Background Checks

How far back does Minnesota go for background checks?

In Minnesota, Criminal Background Checks go back 7 years from the date it was requested. 

How do I check my criminal record in Minnesota?

To obtain a copy of your own Minnesota criminal records, you must submit a written request to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or visit their office. You must provide your full name, DOB, and any former or maiden names. You will also need to pay an $8 fee. 

What is a predatory offender in Minnesota?

As stated by the state of Minnesota, a predator offender is “A person is treated as a predatory offender if the person has committed felony criminal sexual conduct or certain other designated sex crimes, kidnapping, or false imprisonment.“

Utilizing the Minnesota Predatory Offender Registration, the public can search for offenders by name, age, and location. 

How do I look up court cases in Minnesota?

To look up court and case records in Minnesota, visit www.mncourts.gov/publicaccess. However, not all records may be viewable if they are confidential or sealed by the court.