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Juvenile Court Records

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 have access.  But in general, no one outside of the court and law enforcement systems may see “traditional juvenile court” records. So others need a court Order. However, the law does make other limited exceptions.

The exceptions to limited access to juvenile records:

  • 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, including details of 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.  And “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).
Juvenile records in Minnesota
Juvenile records in Minnesota
  • Certain Minnesota statutes require or permit access to a juvenile adjudication history as a condition to employment in specified occupations. So, examples include licensing by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.  And in those situations, the BCA has authority to release juvenile records relating to qualifying adjudications.  Minn. Stat. § 299C.095, subd. 1(b).
  • The court gives data to the BCA about juvenile Petitions (even where no adjudication); but only for felony or gross misdemeanor charges. Minn. Stat. §260B.171, subd. 2.

General Rule: Juvenile Court proceedings closed to public

The juvenile court’s Delinquency proceedings are generally closed to the public.

Exceptions – when proceedings open to the public

Exceptions are:

  1. hearings and court records involving kids 16 years or older are open to the public, if accused of a felony; and,
  2. a would-be “victim” of a delinquent act may attend a related delinquency proceeding. But the court can exclude “the victim” for specific reasons. Minn. Stat. § 260B.163, subds. 1, 3
Juvenile Justice Center Minneapolis
Juvenile Justice Center Minneapolis

Minnesota BCA & Juvenile Records

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension retains juvenile history data on a child until the child reaches age 28, when:

  1. the court continued a delinquency petition without adjudication, or
  2. a child who the court found to have committed a felony or gross misdemeanor offense.

But, if the offender commits a felony between ages 18 and 28; then the bureau retains the juvenile data for as long as it would have; had the offender been an adult at the time 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.  And you’ll find more about juvenile sex offender registration on our Juvenile Sex Crime Charges page.

Failure to register is a crime – see Minnesota Statutes §243.166, subd. 5.  And 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.  And Juvenile records can become public this way as well.

Do you need a private Juvenile Attorney?

Keeping your juvenile court record clean is important.  But you can protect your future.

Most Minnesota juvenile courts will appoint a Public Defender.  And Public Defenders are heroes of the criminal defense world, though burdened with a heavy caseload.

Not everyone will be able to hire a private juvenile attorney to defend their child in juvenile court.

Thomas Gallagher, Minneapolis Defense Lawyer
Thomas Gallagher, Juvenile Lawyer

But information is power.  So you need to know about juvenile records. And you need to know before it’s too late to influence future events in court, and beyond.

So if you are considering retaining a private attorney, or to ask a question; call Juvenile Attorney Thomas Gallagher in person at 612 333-1500.

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