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North Dakota Court Records

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Are Criminal Records Public In North Dakota?

North Dakota criminal records may be accessed by members of the public in compliance with North Dakota Century Code Title 44 Chapter 04. However, as stipulated by this law, access to certain information on these records is restricted to authorized parties. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is the central repository for criminal history information in the state, is responsible for compiling, maintaining, and issuing copies of criminal records to interested parties.

What Is Included In A Criminal Record In North Dakota?

The information readily available in North Dakota criminal records is usually dependent on the party that requests them. Criminal records obtained for regulatory and licensing purposes generally contain more detailed information than criminal records obtained for other purposes such as private employment and housing. However, a North Dakota criminal record typically includes the following information:

The subject’s full name and known aliases

  • The subject’s sex and date of birth
  • The subject’s current address and any known previous addresses
  • The subject’s physical description, including any distinctive marks, scars, and tattoos
  • The subject’s conviction details.
  • Details on charges brought against the subject
  • The subject’s jail or prison custody records (only information less than three years old is available for general criminal record checks)

How To Look Up My Criminal Records In North Dakota?

Interested parties may request criminal history checks from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. This agency offers name-based and fingerprint-based record checks.

Name-based record checks produce results based on the name provided to the agency. As such, if the subject of the record search was arrested with a different name, a name-based record check might not produce any results. However, fingerprint-based record checks produce results even when the subject was arrested with an unknown alias.

Parties that wish to request for criminal history record checks will be required to complete a Non-Criminal Justice Request for Criminal History Record Information and a Personal Authorization for Criminal History Record Information form signed by the subject of the record search. These forms should be submitted via mail to:

Criminal Records Section

North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation

4205 State Street

P. O. Box 1054

Bismarck ND 58502–1054

Parties that are unable to submit a signed authorization form must provide the current address of the subject of the record check. It is important to note that if a signed authorization form is not submitted along with the request form, a notice will be sent to the subject of the record search, informing them that their criminal history record has been released.

For North Dakota public schools that wish to perform record checks on prospective employees, a Criminal History Record Check for North Dakota Public Schools form, and two rolled fingerprint cards of the subject of the record check should be submitted instead.

Criminal history record checks cost $15. This fee is payable by a check or money order to “ND Attorney General,” and should be mailed along with the request form. Parties that need the results of the record check notarized or certified should attach a written request stating so.

Queries can be directed to (701) 328–5500.

How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In North Dakota?

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation does not provide any options for performing free criminal history record checks. However, eligible non-profit charitable organizations are offered a discounted fee of $5 per record check.

Parties that wish to utilize this discount will be required to complete and submit a Nonprofit Organization Application for a Reduction in Fee for Criminal History Record Information form via mail to the bureau at:

Criminal Records Section

North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation

4205 State Street

P. O. Box 1054

Bismarck ND 58502–1054

The following documents should also be submitted along with the request form:

  • A copy of the organization’s articles of incorporation and any articles of amendment
  • A copy of the organization’s certificate of incorporation as provided by the Secretary of State’s Office
  • A copy of the organization’s bylaws (if any)
  • A copy of a tax exemption letter from the IRS (if applicable)

Queries can be directed to (701) 328–5500.

How To Search Criminal Records Online In North Dakota?

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is the state’s central repository for criminal records, does not provide interested parties with any online options to obtain these records. However, criminal court records may be accessed online through the North Dakota Courts Records Inquiry website provided by the state’s judicial branch. It is important to note that the court records obtainable via this website are not considered official records.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In North Dakota?

The expungement of criminal records generally refers to the deletion of the records. In the state of North Dakota, criminal record information can be found in the criminal history records maintained by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and in court records maintained by the North Dakota Judicial Branch.

Expungements generally affect only criminal records maintained by the state’s courts and may only be granted under the following circumstances:

  • Cases where the individual was convicted for offenses involving prostitution, misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor forgery, manufacture and possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance, drug paraphernalia, and insufficient funds/credit as a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking. (These individuals may petition the court to vacate and expunge the record of the conviction)
  • Cases where the individual was convicted for a first-time offense involving the possession of a maximum of one ounce of marijuana and has not been convicted for another offense for at least two years
  • Cases where the arrest that led to the addition of the individual’s DNA profile to the state database resulted in any of the following outcomes -
  • Did not result in a felony charge within one year
  • Did not result in a felony conviction
  • Was resolved by either a dismissal, acquittal or misdemeanor conviction
  • The conviction was reversed, or the case was dismissed

When any of this happens, the individual may request an expungement of the DNA profile from the State Crime Laboratory through the court where the case was heard, under North Dakota Century Code Title 31 Chapter 13–07.

  • Cases where the arrest of the individual was deemed unconstitutional and the charges were either dismissed or overturned; in these cases, the individual may petition the appropriate court to expunge the arrest records.
  • Cases involving juvenile court unruly/delinquency proceedings. Juvenile court delinquency records are retained for a period of 10 years after the final order, or the individual named on the record turns 18, whichever date is later. Juvenile court unruly records are retained either for one year after the individual turns 18 or the expiration of the final order, whichever date is later. When this happens, the individual named on these records may petition the court to destroy these records under North Dakota Century Code Title 27 Chapter 20–54 and Rule 19 of the North Dakota Rules of Juvenile Procedure.

The state of North Dakota does not have any specific forms for expungement or procedures that may be followed by individuals that wish to request an expungement of their records. Qualified persons may contact the court where the case was heard for details on how to proceed with the expungement process. Contact information on North Dakota courts can be obtained from this online directory provided by the state’s judicial branch.

Note that if an expungement is granted, the information is only removed from the individual’s court records and not from the individual’s criminal history record information maintained by the state’s Bureau of Investigation. Once an individual is convicted of a criminal offense in the state of North Dakota, the conviction information permanently remains on the individual’s criminal history record regardless of the time that has elapsed since the conviction and completion of the individual’s sentence.

How To Get Criminal Records Sealed In North Dakota?

Eligible criminal records in the state of North Dakota are sealed under North Dakota Criminal Code Title 12 Chapter 60.1. As stipulated by statutory law, before an individual’s criminal records can be sealed, the following conditions have to be met:

  • The individual pled guilty or was found guilty of a misdemeanor offense, and has not been charged with a new crime for at least three years after the completion of the sentence. (The completion of the sentence includes the individual’s date of release from incarceration, parole or probation).
  • The individual pled guilty or was found guilty of a felony offense, and has not been charged with a new crime for at least five years after the completion of the sentence imposed, including parole and probation.
  • A period of at least ten years has elapsed since the individual was convicted for a felony offense involving violence and intimidation. (The ten year period here includes either the date of the individual’s conviction or the date of the individual’s release from incarceration, parole or probation, whichever date is the latest).
  • The individual was not convicted for an offense that requires registration under North Dakota Century Code Title 12.1 Chapter 32–15. This includes sex offenses and offenses committed against children.
  • The individual was convicted for a DUI offense eligible for sealing as stipulated by North Dakota Century Code Title 39 Chapter 08–01.6 and has not been found guilty of a subsequent DUI violation, or any other criminal offense, for at least seven years. This includes offenses where the individual either pled guilty or nolo contendere or was found guilty of a DUI violation.

The North Dakota court system consists of District and Municipal Courts. The process for sealing a North Dakota criminal record varies according to the type of court and the particular court where the conviction was issued, and parties are advised to seek legal advice before initiating the process.

However, the following general steps may be followed by parties that wish to begin the process of sealing their criminal records:

  • Contact the court where the case was heard. Contact information for North Dakota courts can be obtained through this directory.
  • Obtain and complete a Petition to Seal Criminal Records form and a Proposed Order to Seal Criminal Records form (Petitioners that wish to seal more than one criminal record may be required to complete a separate form for each charge).

Also, obtain a Proof of Service of the Petition and Proposed Order on the Respondent form. Ensure that the filled petition form contains the following information:

  • The full names of the petitioner and any aliases that may have been used
  • Addresses used by the petitioner from the date of the offense until the date of the petition
  • Reasons why the petition should be granted and the criminal records sealed
  • Details of the petitioner’s criminal history in the state of North Dakota or out of the state or country
  • Serve copies of all necessary documents to the State’s Attorney of the county where the case was heard for cases heard in District Courts, and to the Prosecuting Official of the municipality for cases heard in Municipal Courts. Make sure that the Proof of Service of the Petition and Proposed Order on the Respondent form is properly filled after the documents have been served.
  • File these documents with the Clerk of Court at the appropriate court. The payment of a filing fee may be required. (Parties are advised to make copies of these documents before filing).

Once the documents have been filed, a hearing will be held at least 45 days from the filing date. Then, the petitioner will be served a notice of hearing from the Clerk of Court. During the hearing, both the petitioner and the respondent (the State’s Attorney or Prosecuting Official) may present evidence as to why the request for the sealing of the criminal records should be granted or denied, respectively.

When deciding the petition to seal a criminal record, the court will consider the following factors:

  • The nature and severity of the offense
  • The risk posed by the petitioner to members of the society if the record is sealed
  • The length of time that has passed since the offense was committed
  • The petitioner’s criminal record, community involvement, and employment history
  • Circumstances that may have led to the petitioner committing the offense
  • Recommendations of the victims of the offense and other parties with a direct interest in the offense, including prosecutors, law enforcement, and corrections officials

If the petition is granted, the court shall order the sealing records. However, if the request is denied in a Municipal Court, then the petitioner may appeal the decision in a North Dakota District Court.

Once a petition to seal a criminal record is denied in a North Dakota District Court, this decision is considered final, and the petitioner must wait for at least three years before filing another petition.

Who Can See My Expunged/sealed Criminal Record In North Dakota?

Once an individual pleads guilty or is found guilty of a criminal offense in the state of North Dakota, this information permanently remains on that individual’s criminal history record. It is unaffected by the expungement or sealing process, regardless of how many years have elapsed since the conviction. This conviction information may be viewed by any party that requests a criminal history check from the state’s Bureau of Investigation.

In addition to this, access to sealed criminal records may be granted to parties that have an appropriate court order authorizing the disclosure of the requested records.

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