Saint Paul, MN asked in Immigration Law, Personal Injury, Traffic Tickets and Workers' Compensation for Minnesota

Q: MN Statute 169.18(8)(a) - I need an affordable lawyer who can help me on this traffic citation please.

On July 18th I was cited for following a car too close as he was turning right in front of me on a 35E exit to pilot knob road which is a two-lane road. MN Statute 169.18(8)(a) I did end up closer to the vehicle than I, myself, would have preferred since the front car slowed to turn much more than usual, but how do they prove the distance between he and I was not "reasonable and prudent" and do they have to? The fine is only $128 but it will go on record. How will an unclean record like this typically affect insurance/background checks and for how long? Basically I want to see if these costs will out-weigh the price of my time/lawyer to fight the charge. I'm a very defensive and considerate driver and would hate one unreasonable citation to negatively affect me.

2 Lawyer Answers
Jonathan Matthew Holson
Jonathan Matthew Holson
Answered
  • Traffic Tickets Lawyer
  • Rogers, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: The effect that this might have on your insurance rates depends on your prior driving record and your insurance company. There is no mechanism for tickets automatically coming off of your driving record absent some type of agreement with the prosecutor. I don’t necessarily expect it to affect a background check in a major way. A private attorney will undoubtedly cost you more than $128. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to spent the additional money to potentially keep it off of your record.

Thomas C Gallagher agrees with this answer

Thomas C Gallagher
Thomas C Gallagher
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: How do they prove the distance was not "reasonable and prudent?" They will need admissible evidence. This could include witness testimony, accident investigation by the police officer (if any), car "black box" data, etc. Most people want to keep their driver's license record (different than court record) clean, since insurance companies use that record to set car insurance rates, and future police officers will use it when deciding to give a warning or ticket next time. Most people don't care much about the fine. (Increased insurance costs could be much more, especially after more tickets due to having a record.) So a common goal is to: "keep it off my driver's license record." You request the court set it for a court date. Then you can appear with a paid lawyer, to improve your chances of the desired outcome. Or you can appear without a lawyer, and talk to the prosecutor yourself. If the prosecutor will not offer an outcome that will "keep it off the driver's license record," politely decline their offer (likely a reduced fine), and request a trial date. Then try to win the trial. If the goal is only to "keep it off my driver's license record" then you have nothing to lose by refusing to plead guilty and demanding a trial. You could win. And again, your chance of winning is better with a lawyer. But fight it regardless.

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