Juvenile Records in Minnesota
General rule – accessible to the juvenile and parents
Records of juvenile court delinquency actions are accessible to the minor “Respondent” and their parents or guardians. In general, no one outside of the judicial and law enforcement systems may see “traditional juvenile court” records, without a court order. But the law makes other limited exceptions.
The exceptions to limited access:
- The “victim” may get the name and age of the juvenile, the act, date of the offense, and case disposition. Minn. Stat. §260B.171, subd. 4
- A county attorney may give the referring law enforcement agency a summary of the results of that referral, including details of any court disposition. Minn. Stat. §260B.171, subd. 4
- Schools can get access to court disposition orders in certain cases. Minn. Stat.§260B.171, subd. 3
- Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors see records of adjudications, court transcripts, and delinquency petitions, Minn. Stat. §260B.171, subd. 1. “Criminal justice agencies” and public defenders can see them as well. Minn. Stat. § 299C.095, subd. 1(a).
- The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) can:
“disseminate a juvenile adjudication history record in connection with a background check required by statute or rule and performed on a licensee, license applicant, or employment applicant or performed under section 299C.62 or 624.713. … A consent for release of information from an individual who is the subject of a juvenile adjudication history is not effective … Data maintained under section 243.166 [Registration of Predatory Offenders], released in conjunction with a background check, regardless of the age of the offender at the time of the offense” is lawful. Minn. Stat. § 299C.095, subd. 1(b).
- Certain Minnesota statutes require or permit access to a juvenile adjudication history as a condition to employment in specified occupations (for example, licensing by the Minnesota Department of Human Services). In those situations, the BCA has authority to release juvenile records relating to qualifying adjudications. Minn. Stat. § 299C.095, subd. 1(b).
- The court provides data to the BCA about juvenile petitions (even where no adjudication resulted) involving unproven felony or gross misdemeanor claimed offenses. Minn. Stat. §260B.171, subd. 2.
General Rule – Juvenile Court proceedings closed to the public
Delinquency proceedings conducted by the juvenile court closed to the public, as a general rule
Exceptions – when proceedings open to the public
- hearings and court records involving minors 16 years or older are open to the public, if the minor is accused of a felony; and,
- a claimed “victim” of a child’s delinquent act may attend any related delinquency proceeding, subject to the court’s authority to exclude “the victim” for specific reasons. Minn. Stat. § 260B.163, subds. 1, 3
Minnesota BCA & Juvenile Records
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension retains juvenile history data on a child until the child reaches age 28, when:
- the court continued a delinquency petition without adjudication, or
- a child who was found to have committed a felony or gross misdemeanor offense.
However, if the offender commits a felony between the ages of 18 and 28, then the bureau retains the juvenile data for as long as the data would have been retained had the offender been an adult when of the juvenile offense. Minn. Stat. § 299C.095, subd. 2
Sex Offender Registration for all Juveniles
Or, now broadened and labeled “predatory offender” registration. Most of the important provisions are at Minnesota Statutes §243.166. If charged with most sex crimes and later convicted of any crime (no matter how trivial) arising out of the same set of circumstances, including a non-listed crime; then the convicted person must register, under this statute. More on that on our Juvenile Sex Crime Charges page.
Failure to register is a crime – see Minnesota Statutes §243.166, subd. 5. The registration period is at least ten years, often much longer – see Minnesota Statutes §243.166, subd. 6.
Even juveniles must register – no matter how young. Juvenile records can become public this way as well.
Do you need a private Juvenile Attorney?
Keeping your juvenile court record clean is important. You can protect your future, however.
Most Minnesota juvenile courts will appoint a Public Defender. Public Defenders are heroes of the criminal defense world, but burdened with a heavy caseload.
And not everyone will be able to hire a private juvenile attorney to defend their child in juvenile court.
But information is power. And you need to know about juvenile records – before it’s too late to influence future events in court, and beyond.
If you are considering retaining a private attorney or to ask a question, you can talk to Juvenile Attorney Thomas C. Gallagher in person by calling 612 333-1500.