Only a judicial officer can issue an arrest warrant in Minnesota; however, such orders can be released by the judiciary of its own accord only if the directive in question is a bench warrant. For all active warrants, the police have to first petition the court with a sworn declaration before a pre-warrant hearing can be held. The issue of arrest warrants is governed by the establishment of probable cause.
In other words, if the magistrate cannot find reasonable cause to believe that the evidence shows how the accused was involved in the criminal act, the police request will be denied. Once an active warrant for arrest is released it has perpetual validity which means that these orders do not go out of effect unless the person in whose name they have been issued is booked.
Like all other legal processes, arrest warrants are also sent to the office of the sheriff for serving. The police place significant emphasis on executing active warrants at the earliest. Towards this end, information on all pending arrest orders, which are legally termed as outstanding warrants, is sent to the FBI. This data is then included in a central repository which is accessed by all police officers when making arrests.
What are arrest records in Minnesota?
Crime history information in Minnesota can be classified into two categories; private and public. Just about everybody can access public information free of charge. However, private crime data is only offered to individuals who are interested in a personal background check, employers who are legally mandated to acquire such information and justice agencies and applicants who have a signed release form from the subject.
Public information: Includes information on cases where less than 15 years have passed since the completion of the sentence. Details offered in public records include offenses, conviction, sentencing, level of conviction, incarceration facility, probation and release. Information on arrest records and outstanding warrants are not included in such reports.
Private Information: All arrest records including those in which the cases are still in the trial stage; all conviction records including those in which the offender completed his prison term more than 15 years ago; juvenile criminal history, all court records.
Accessing crime history information in Minnesota
There are a myriad of options to access crime history data in Minnesota; from the state judiciary to the Department of Corrections and from the local sheriff’s office to the Department of Public Safety. While applicants are charged for accessing private criminal records, publicly available information is offered free of cost as long as you can visit the office of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
At this point in time, only information from within the state of Minnesota is offered in response to a crime history query. This is a name based inquiry and the birth date of the subject also has to be furnished to narrow down the results.
There are two ways to access private criminal records; you can send in the request for such an inquiry (form available at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/bca/Pages/criminal-history-public-private-data.aspx) to the BCA Headquarters – St. Paul1430 Maryland Avenue East, St. Paul, Minnesota 55106-2802 or you could visit the agency office in person.
For public records, you can simply head over BCA headquarters or their regional office at Bemidji3700 North Norris Court NW, Bemidji, Minnesota 56601. If the records you find are inaccurate, you can contest them by calling on 651-793-2420. It is also possible to launch an online inquiry by going to https://chs.state.mn.us/.
The information held by the judiciary of Minnesota is no less extensive than the data kept by the police and the Department of Public Safety. If anything, you might even find civil case records through judicial entities like the clerk of court and the magistrate’s offices. To launch a statewide inquiry, you can use the court dockets search tool at http://www.mncourts.gov/publicaccess
The Department of Corrections does its own bit to keep citizens informed about prisoners serving time in state run facilities as well as offenders who are fugitives. This data can be found on the website of the agency at https://coms.doc.state.mn.us/PublicViewer/Home/Index. The webpage offers options to look for level 3 predatory criminals, inmates as well as active DOC fugitives. You can also find this information by visiting the office of the agency at the Minnesota Department of Corrections, 450 Energy Park Dr., Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55108 or calling the Vine Hotline at 877- 664-8463.
Minnesota Crime Statistics
Approximately 1.8 million complaints were filed with the law enforcement agencies of Minnesota from 1999 to 2008. Of the 170,000 plus criminal complaints received, only about 14,000 were against violent crimes, which puts the annual average of this crime category at less than 10% of the total incident rate.
There has been a marginal reduction in the crime figures of the state at just about 5%. However, these were not enough to curb the over 1200 cases of homicide, nearly 21,000 complaints against sexual assault and a whopping 130,000 reports against thefts filed in the state.