Waconia, MN asked in Traffic Tickets for Minnesota

Q: Does MN State law require you to be notified of a traffic citation that was e-filed? Never received anything in mail.

My 16 year old son received a notice of late payment from the MN Court Payment Center for a citation that was issued over 30 days ago. I called the police department and was told the citation was e-filed. Went to the state court records online and verified that the citation was e-filed. We never received the citation in the mail from the court. There is no record online of anything being mailed to us except the notice of late payment. I have hearing setup with the court. Does MN law require the citation to be mailed? Also, the citation refers to the police report which I plan to get a copy of. The citation is in reference to MN Statute 169.20.5(a) failure to pull over for a emergency vehicle. I spoke with the officer that night and reason my son was pulled over was for not having his lights on (headlights were on but not the taillights), it was around 10pm. The problem was my son waited to pull over at a gas station and officer was not happy. Is this easily contested?

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

A: One of the courts' most important jobs is to ensure that each citizen enjoys their constitutional right to due process. Due process includes procedural fairness; and the right to notice and an opportunity to be heard, by a fair and neutral magistrate. In general, the more the government would take from us, the more process we are due. So, in Minnesota we do not have the right to a trial or guilty plea before we can be found guilty of a petty misdemeanor. Petty misdemeanors cannot result in arrest or jail, only a fine. However, we still have the right to notice, even in a petty misdemeanor case. If the court is asking for late fees, it's likely they already entered a conviction for failure to respond or appear. In that event I would contact the court to set up a hearing now, if possible. Or they might want a Motion to Reopen Petty Misdemeanor, filed with the court first. Then the defendant can appear at the motion hearing to ask the judge to reopen it; and discuss a possible agreement with the prosecutor. If no agreement is reached, and the judge reopens it, set it for trial. As for the merits, I cannot comment here with little information. But I would fight it, no matter what. You may want to call a lawyer on the phone to discuss.

Jonathan Matthew Holson agrees with this answer

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