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Minnesota Court Records

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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Minnesota

In Minnesota, a traffic ticket is an official citation issued by a law enforcement officer to persons charged with violating traffic laws in the state. Minnesota traffic violations range from petty offenses to serious felony traffic violations. A traffic ticket usually contains the name of the offender, the vehicle registration details, the offense, the traffic law relevant to the offense, the receiver’s response, and all associated penalties. Traffic citations may be payable or non-payable. While payable citations get resolved by paying a fine, non-payable citations require a court appearance. A ticket recipient can enter a guilty or not-guilty plea. A guilty plea leads to a conviction by Minnesota traffic laws, and the penalty options for traffic violations in the state include payment of fines, imprisonment, or losing driving privileges. Ultimately, convictions on Minnesota driving records are visible when the involved party seeks to get a license in another state.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, 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.

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in Minnesota?

Minnesota residents have the right to appear in court to fight a traffic ticket. They also have the right to request a jury trial. The involved party may decide to either self-represent in court or get the services of an attorney. Fighting a ticket in a Minnesota court of law gives the involved party the chance to fight off a driving conviction’s penalties. The recipient must understand the nuances involved in rules of court.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Minnesota

The procedure for fighting a ticket in Minnesota varies from county to county. However, the procedural framework is the same:

Interested parties must visit the applicable courthouse to schedule an appearance with the court within 30 days from citation. The following counties provide hearing officer appointments to persons who wish to contest their tickets: Ramsey, Hennepin, Dakota, and Washington. Hearing officers assess the case and provide options based on the merit of the case and any previous violation record. Available options for clearing a ticket are:

  • Reduction in fine
  • Guilty plea with explanation
  • Installment payment arrangement
  • Dismissal with payment of prosecution costs

For other counties, contact the local court for more information.

Defendants may appeal their case if the hearing officer’s options do not favor them. To put it differently, if all the options above fails or the defendant insists on a court appearance, the hearing officer sets the case for a trial by the laws regarding misdemeanor traffic violations. Hearings for petty offenses must be held within 30 days of setting the trial date; if not, the defendant loses the right to one, according to the statutes regarding trial of traffic cases.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

Attendance at a court hearing is mandatory, unless there is adequate representation by an attorney. Hearing Officer appointments are made possible by remote technology or by mail. Eligible parties can schedule one by contacting the Court Payment Center. For a remote technology appointment, parties must have the following:

  • Valid and current photo ID (birth certificates are not acceptable)
  • Evidence of vehicle insurance. A covering letter from the company or copy of policy is acceptable.
  • Accident report, if applicable.
  • Colored copy of photo proof of correction of equipment violations, license plates and relevant receipts
  • Original copy of disability permit, if applicable.
  • Presence of parent or guardian (with juvenile offenders)

The system allows persons other than the ticketed party to meet the hearing officer as per parking violations. Mail hearings must include:

  • A clear, readable copy of driver’s license
  • A copy of the citation
  • A statement of the circumstances of the offense

Note that these options are applicable only to payable citations.

How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Minnesota?

A “guilty with an explanation plea” option offers offenders a chance of a ticket fine reduction. Alternatively, the hearing officer may recommend a reduction based on the merit of the case. If it is not reducible, there is the option of payment in installments.

Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Minnesota?

To get a ticket dismissed in Minnesota, the alleged offender must fight the ticket in court. However, in selected cases, a hearing officer may also recommend that a ticket be dismissed when the defendant completes the payment of the prosecutor’s fees. Besides, gross errors on the ticket could also lead to a dismissal of the case. For example, if the name of the ticketed party, vehicle information, or location do not match with the details of the defendant.

What Happens If You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Minnesota?

When a traffic ticket recipient pays off a fine without a contest, the court enters a default guilty plea on behalf of the defendant. A guilty plea translates to a conviction in Minnesota. The court sends the conviction records to the Department of Public Safety where they are assessed as points on the party’s driving record. The accumulation of assessed points can lead to the suspension or revocation of the party’s driver’s license. The aftermath of assessed points also causes an increase in insurance rates. If fines do not come in within the stipulated period, the court enters a default judgement for the party and may issue an arrest warrant. This could lead to a criminal record that may cause further problems for the individual.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Minnesota

The experience and expertise of a traffic ticket attorney can increase a defendant’s chance of being declared not-guilty. Interested parties can get the list of attorneys in a county by visiting the county information offices or website for a directory. The Minnesota Judicial Branch provides links to the Minnesota Bar Association. Some traffic ticket attorneys have websites accessible through an internet search. Also, some third-party websites provide online directories of attorneys by state, county, and expertise.

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