Are North Dakota Criminal Records Open to the Public?
Yes, criminal records in North Dakota are open to public scrutiny. In accordance with state laws, members of the public may access or make copies of criminal records. However, some criminal records may be protected by law or court order. The majority of North Dakota criminal records are organized in online depositories maintained by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NDBCI). The NDBCI provides criminal history records to state agencies, professional licensing boards, and the public. Interested persons may submit applications for criminal history records by mail.
Criminal records, considered public in the United States, are made available through some third-party aggregate sites. Searching with third-party websites is often easier as the information is not limited to geographic record availability. Information found on third-party websites can serve as a jumping off point for parties searching for a specific record or multiple records. Typically, requesters must provide the following information to gain access to these records:
- The record subject’s name, unless the subject is a juvenile.
- The record subjects’ last known location, including cities, counties, and states.
Third-party websites offer these search services, but they are not government sponsored. Availability of records may vary.
What is Considered a Criminal Record in North Dakota?
North Dakota criminal records provide official information on a person’s criminal history, including arrests, prosecutions, and convictions. Also known as rap sheets, these documents contain information assembled, compiled, and recorded from different North Dakota police departments, courts, correctional facilities, parole boards, and other government agencies in North Dakota and its various counties. While the specifics of what’s included in a record vary by county, most criminal records provide the following:
- Subject’s full name and any known aliases
- Current and previous addresses
- Arrest dates for felonies or misdemeanors
How to Obtain Criminal Records in North Dakota?
The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation provides criminal history records to state agencies, professional licensing boards, and the public. Persons interested in completing a criminal record search may submit applications by mail. Individuals applying for criminal records must complete a form to Request for Criminal History Record Information, include a check or money order for $15, and send the application to:
Criminal Records Section
North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation
P.O. Box 1054
Bismarck, ND 58502-1054
The North Dakota Court System also allows the public to search for criminal records through the North Dakota Courts Records Inquiry page. Interested persons may use this page to perform a free public criminal record check.
Are Arrest Records Public in North Dakota?
Yes, in accordance with state laws, members of the public may access or make copies of arrest records. However, some arrest records may be protected by law or court order. Typically, law enforcement officers catalog public arrest records, and individuals that wish to perform an arrest search must query their local police station or sheriff’s office. Free arrest records may be challenging to obtain, as local law enforcement may charge administrative fees to find and copy North Dakota arrest records.
What is Considered an Arrest Record in North Dakota?
North Dakota arrest records refer to the documentation that local law enforcement generates upon apprehending a suspect in line with a purported crime. These records contain information on the nature of the arrest, where and when it took place, and the officer(s) involved in the arrest. Arrests do not always lead to criminal charges in North Dakota, but arrest records may remain available to the public unless they meet expungement requirements.
North Dakota police records and police reports differ from arrest records. While the phrases are often used interchangeably, police records include incident reports and police logs, including records of arrests made. Arrest records include only arrest information and do not include police records.
North Dakota Arrest Warrant
A North Dakota arrest warrant is an official document that provides state law enforcement officials with the legal authority to arrest and detain the named subject(s). Arrest Warrants are signed and issued by a magistrate, judge, or grand jury. Some of the information contained in an arrest warrant include:
- The subject’s name (or alias)
- The crime allegedly committed
- Warrant restrictions
- Name and signature of the judge
North Dakota does not possess a single centralized database to track active warrants. Instead parties can find this information through national databases such as the DEA Fugitive Search tool and the U.S. Marshall's Warrant Information System. To perform a local active warrant search, members of the public can visit the county sheriff's website of the county where the warrant was issued.
How to Lookup North Dakota Inmate Records?
North Dakota inmate records contain an official compilation of an inmate’s status. Access to these records is provided by North Dakota's Department of Corrections, which maintains an inmate database that can be searched online. Interested parties can conduct an inmate search by keying in the offender’s last name or first name. Some of the information available in a public inmate record include:
- The inmate’s name
- Date of Birth
- Incarceration date
- Housing Facility
- Expected release date
- Convicted offense
How Do I Find Sex Offenders in North Dakota
The North Dakota sex offender registry is a public database containing information on offenders who have been convicted of sex-related offenses. It’s updated in real-time every day and changes with new data from the courts, department of correction, and local law enforcement. Searches through the registry provide details such as the registered sex offender’s name and aliases, crimes for which they were convicted, addresses, and photographs. North Dakota’s sex offender registry is managed by the Office of the Attorney General. Searches can be refined by city or county or to include/exclude incarcerated offenders.
While offenders are required to notify neighbors, registration is required for offenders who have pled guilty or been found guilty of the following offenses:
- Gross sexual imposition
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child
- Sexual imposition
- Corruption or solicitation of minors
- Luring minors by computer
- Sexual abuse of wards
- Sexual assault
- Indecent exposure
- Surreptitious intrusion
- Sexual performance by children (all offenses)
It is also mandated for the following offenses against children:
- Homicide offenses (all)
- Assault (felony only)
- Aggravated assault
- Stalking (felony only)
- Felonious restraint
- Removal of a child from the state in violation of custody decree
- Prostitution (all offenses)
- Criminal child abuse
Understanding DUI Laws in North Dakota
A DUI in North Dakota is a serious traffic violation in which a person operates or attempts to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs. North Dakota’s law enforcement officers stop drivers who appear incapable to operate their vehicles properly and subject them to sobriety tests.
Adult drivers are considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08%. For commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04%, while minors must stay below 0.02%.
In North Dakota, a person arrested for drunk driving may be imprisoned for as short as two (2) days and as lengthy as 360 days. The jail term depends on the number and severity of the offense. The same person may also pay between $500 - $3000 in fines or lose their license for three (3) months to one year.
North Dakota Misdemeanors Laws: Offenses and Penalties
A misdemeanor in North Dakota is a non-indictable offense that is generally less severe than felonies. Misdemeanors have a maximum penalty of up to a year in prison or jail. The state of North Dakota divides misdemeanors into Class A & B misdemeanors, based on the severity of the crime.
- Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of 365 days in prison and/or a $3,000 fine
- Class B misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of 30 days in prison and/or a $1,500 fine
In addition, the state has a lighter category of crimes described as infractions. Infractions carry a penalty of up to $1000 in fines. Multiple infractions may constitute a class B misdemeanor. Some of the examples of misdemeanors in North Dakota include:
- Ingesting a controlled substance
- Possession of marijuana
- Falsifying marital status
- Disorderly conduct
- Gambling on private premises where the amount exceeds $2,500 (infraction)
- Sale of tobacco to a minor (infraction)
North Dakota Felony Laws: Offenses and Penalties
Felony offenses in North Dakota are the more serious type of criminal conviction. They are punishable by a minimum of more than 1 year, which is to be served in a state prison or county jail. In some cases, a felony conviction may even be punished by death. Like most states, North Dakota organizes felony crimes into four separate categories based on the severity of the crime: Class AA, Class A, Class B, and Class C.
- Class AA Felonies carry the most severe penalty of up to life imprisonment.
- Class A Felonies carry a penalty of up to $10,000 in fines and/or 20 years in prison.
- Class B felonies carry a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine.
- Class C felonies carry a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
Examples of felony offenses in North Dakota include
- Murder (Class AA)
- Human trafficking of minors (Class AA)
- Treason (Class A)
- Kidnapping (Class A)
- Armed robbery (Class A)
- Manslaughter (Class B)
- Aggravated Assault of victims under the age of 12 (Class B)
- Negligent homicide (Class C)
- Human cloning (Class C)
- Perjury (Class C)
What are Conviction Records in North Dakota?
A conviction record in North Dakota is an official document providing information that a person was found guilty, pleaded guilty, or pleaded nolo contendere against criminal charges in a civilian or military court. The criminal charges can be classified as a felony, misdemeanor, or other offense.
Conviction records also include when a person has been judged delinquent, has been less than honorably discharged, or has been placed on probation, fined, imprisoned, or paroled. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include a final judgment that was deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed, or otherwise rendered inoperative.
Parole Records in North Dakota
North Dakota’s parole records provide official information regarding the early release of an offender. Inmates who are out on parole are required to meet certain conditions as part of the terms for their release. The decision of whether a prisoner is eligible for parole is decided by the North Dakota Parole Board, which holds scheduled meeting dates every month.
The board may also impose any conditions of parole it deems appropriate in order to ensure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of North Dakota are served. Parolees must be on their best behavior to avoid parole violations. Those who violate the terms of their parole may be reincarcerated for the rest of their sentence.
Are Probation Records Public in North Dakota?
Probation records are official documents that show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. Probation allows people convicted of a crime in North Dakota to serve their sentences out of custody as long as they comply with probation conditions imposed by the judge and the probation office. Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case.
The state of North Dakota has two major types of probation: Supervised by a probation officer or unsupervised. Unsupervised restrictions are typically used for low-level misdemeanors. Some of the terms of the condition associated with unsupervised probation include:
- Paying court fees
- Community service
- Meeting with a monitoring agency
Supervised probation carries more restrictions than unsupervised protection, some of which may include:
- Prohibition of taking alcohol
- Submitting to irregular chemical tests
- Restriction of movement to within the state
- Permission for warrantless searches
- Constant updates of any change in address or phone number
Are North Dakota Juvenile Criminal Records Public?
In compliance with state laws, North Dakota juvenile records are generally confidential and may not be open to release or inspection except where authorized by court order or the law. However, juvenile records still remain open to inspection by:
- Judge or staff of the Juvenile court
- Parties connected to the proceeding
- Institutions providing supervision/custody of the minor
- Agents or employees of the Department of Human Services
Minors arrested for crimes in North Dakota do not face trial like adults. Instead, they are tried through the juvenile justice system and sent to a juvenile detention center if judged to be delinquent. Juvenile criminal records contain official records of a minor’s arrest, trial, and judgment in North Dakota’s juvenile courts.
If a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.
History and Accuracy of North Dakota Criminal Records
The accuracy of the data of criminal records depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. North Dakota criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the 1970s when criminal and arrest data started to be centralized and compiled into an organized database much like we use today.
Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error in the past, but in the 1990s, the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer.