Accessing Public Records in Minnesota

There are several open records states, and Minnesota is one of them. The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act specifies that all administrative state statistics and files will be available to the public. This act ensures that persons in Minnesota may solicit, check and duplicate pubic government data irrespective of its physical form or medium of storage. Administrative agencies and departments provide access to critical data, judicial, malefactor, and over 47 million public records. Finding general information in Minnesota has been made convenient as government and third-party websites provide the public with more reliable data because of the digitization of records. Digitization, also known as digital imaging or scanning, eliminates the manual process of record-keeping, which is prone to errors. Thus, various private websites in the state make data available, without the need to supply personal information or forms, except the paper of interest is sealed by law or legal action.

Court Records in Minnesota

Minnesota’s court records are papers from the various courts in the state, including the State’s Appeals and Supreme Courts.

 These courts contain court orders, opinions from the court, and documents filed by parties such as petitions, briefs, and statements to cases. For specific reasons, court documents are a necessity in certain situations. The first step to finding court papers in Minnesota is to identify the record type, locate the court with the required court record, and contact the court’s record keeper. The Clerk of Appellate Courts maintains the Minnesota Supreme court information and the Minnesota Court of Appeals files giving interested persons somewhere for documents search. Each court maintains court records for the District Courts through an administrator. District courts provide electronic connections to most court records. Many papers, files, journals, and data sets are accessible in person at public access terminals at any state’s district court. Alternatively, interested individuals can get court papers through the Minnesota Trial Court Public Access Remote View Portal provided by the State’s Judicial Branch. Requesters can get files from the Courts and their Administrators through the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s court directory. 

In contacting the Clerk of Appellate Courts, requesters must offer details of the papers they wish to check. These requirements may include case numbers, valid IDs, and fees for duplicates of requested documents. Requesters must pay a processing fee to get court papers which typically costs $14 per copy; uncertified copies cost $8 per copy and $28 for verified copies. You can contact the Clerk of Courts in Minnesota at:

305 Minnesota Judicial Center

25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

St. Paul, NN 55155

Phone: (651) 291-5297

Hours: 8:00am – 4:30pm, Mondays – Fridays

Vital Records

Minnesota has an agency known as the Minnesota Department of Health, which maintains information of births, fatalities, civil union, or dissolutions within the state. These childbirth, demise, marital unions, and marital dissolution documents are vital records and considered public. The law assures the populace right to check and acquire copies of these files. However, some critical papers are legally private, and only authorized persons can view them. In such a situation, requesters must furnish the officials with a valid means of identification or court authorization to access the vital record they wish to get. In Minnesota, interested persons can retrieve critical papers online via third-party summative web pages. Typically persons can get documents by providing the jurisdiction of the file of interest (including town or state of the event) and the name of an individual listed on the paper to aid the search. However, since the government does not facilitate these sites, the available documents may not be as updated as official agency channels. Requesters should remember that there are charges to get verified copies of critical papers in Minnesota. Verified copies of childbirth cost $26.00 and $19.00 for additional documents requested simultaneously. Demise records cost $13.00 and $6.00 each for additional copies simultaneously ordered. Note that the records offices do not maintain marital union data at the state level. Interested persons can check out the Minnesota Marriage System website for further inquiries. To get marriage papers at the county costs $9.00. Getting divorce records at the county costs $10.00 from the Court Administrator in the county of the marriage dissolution. Note that there may be a variation of charges from one county to another.

You can contact via mail or in person the department maintaining critical records in Minnesota at:

Minnesota Department of Health

Central Cashiering – Vita Records

 P. O. Box 64499

St. Paul MN 55164

Criminal Records in Minnesota

In Minnesota, criminal records, also known as rap sheets, provide a detailed overview of an individual’s malefactor history. The rap sheet contains statistics, papers, recordings, and files collected from local, county, and state law enforcement agencies. There are several reasons people run background checks in the State, and what requesters may find on a person’s malefactor activities will include:

· The individual’s name

· Physical description

· Date of birth

· Arrest details 

· Disposition of all warrants

· Crime summary

· Details of conviction

The Public Records Act does not put a cap on who may inquire about felony records in Minnesota. However, access to a malefactor record is either open access or limited access in the State. Unrestricted access to criminal data is to serve the community best. In contrast, limited access shields the privacy of victims and witnesses. For an individual to get malefactor papers, they must provide specific information, such as the name of the record’s subject. Except the issue concerns a juvenile, requesters must provide the last known location, including cities, counties, and State of the record subject. Equipped with this, requesters can search criminal data over the internet. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) manages these records pool. Apart from utilizing the above online search option, interested persons can also visit the Court Case Search portal. The Minnesota Judicial Branch operates this portal to help citizens find facts on convicted persons. Requesters may also obtain copies of criminal records by sending a mail to the BCA or visiting the office at:

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

CHA Unit 

1430 Maryland Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55106

The Sex Offender Registry in Minnesota

Persons previously convicted of sex crimes such as sexual battery and assault in Minnesota have their information in the State’s sex offender registry. This registry provides information on sex offenders, such as offenders’ names, dates of birth, physical descriptions, convicted offenses, race, and registered addresses. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension makes data on sex offenders accessible to the public through the Minnesota Predatory Offender Search. Interested persons can search this database by city, county, or zip code.

In conclusion

just as it is with most states in the country, the public can view documents created and stored in government offices in Minnesota.

This accessibility is possible following the State’s Data Practice Act.

The public agencies have a mandate to respond favorably to records requests from any member of society, provided the requested information is not exempted or sealed. Systems created by the state departments enable interested persons to access public documents over the internet or in designated physical locations.

Keep in mind that some of these papers come at a fee; others require that the requester provides a valid identification to access documents.

The procedure for accessing Public Records in Minnesota may vary from one agency to another; however, it is generally straightforward.