Ramsey Criminal & Traffic Division

The Criminal & Traffic Division is composed of six offices.  See the tabs below for more information.

(651) 266-1999

(For questions about fine payment, call (651) 281-3219.  Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611.)

Main Office:  15 W. Kellogg Blvd Room 900, St Paul, MN 55102
Law Enforcement Center:  425 Grove St, St Paul MN 55101
Suburban Court2050 White Bear Ave, Maplewood MN 55109
 

Overview of Criminal Traffic Court

Getting Information About a Case
Contesting a Payable Ticket
Hearing Officers
Paying a Fine / Inquiring on the Amount Owed 
Domestic Violence Cases

Scheduling

When is my court date? 
Can my court date be continued to another day?
What happens if I miss my court date?
How am I notified of my court date?

Legal Representation

Can I get a Public Defender?
How do I apply for a Public Defender?
How do I contact my Public Defender?
If I don't want or don't qualify for a Public Defender, how do I find an attorney?
Am I allowed to represent myself?
Your Right to an Attorney

Appearing in Court

Why do I have to go to court instead of just paying a fine?
What happens when I go to court?
What kind of sentence will I receive?
If You Must Appear in Court
Pleading Not Guilty to a Court-Required Offense

Witnesses and Subpoenas

I want to call in a witness to testify. How do I get a subpoena?
How do I serve a subpoena?
What do I do if I've been served with a subpoena?
I'm a witness; am I allowed to attend the trial and the hearings?

Paying Fines

How do I pay a fine?
Where can I go to pay a fine in person?
What will happen if I don't pay the fine?
Can I pay online?
What should I do if I can't pay the fine before the due date?

Warrants and Bail

Why do I have a warrant for my arrest?
What should I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?
Can I post bail for my warrant? 
Who can I talk to about someone in custody?
What's the difference between bail and bond?
Where can I get a bond?
When do I get my bail back?
If I post bail for someone else, how do I make sure it is returned to me?
 

Scheduling a Court Date

When is my court date?
If your hearing is within the next 7 days, consult the Alpha Roster on our Calendar page to see when and where your court appearence is scheduled.  Use your browser's text search to quickly find your name.  If you are unable to find the case or if it is more than 7 days away, call our office at (651) 266-1999 for the information.

Can my court date be continued to another day?
It will depend on the seriousness of the case, who is prosecuting it, and whether you've had continuances in the past. If you have an attorney, ask them to make the request. Otherwise, call the court for instructions.

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What happens if I miss my court date?
If you miss a court appearance, a warrant for your arrest may be ordered. For traffic offenses, the judge may order a warrant, suspension of your driver's license, and/or certification of the offense to your record. You may also lose any bail or bond you have posted. If you have already failed to appear, call the court at (651) 266-1999 to find out what happened.

How am I notified of my court date?
The most common notification method is to give you the notice at the end of the previous hearing. If it's necessary to notify you of a first appearance or a change in a court date from a previously scheduled time, you will receive a notice in the mail. To avoid missing an appearance, keep the court informed of your correct mailing address.

Note: in certain circumstances, a complaint will be filed as an arrest warrant and no court date will be mailed. In such a case, you will need to turn yourself in. See the Warrants section on this page for more information.

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Legal Representation

Can I get a Public Defender?
You can apply for a public defender and, if you qualify, one will be appointed to represent you.

How do I apply for a Public Defender?
Apply when you make your first appearance in court. You will need to fill out an application form to determine if you are eligible. Be sure to be on time for your court appearance -- the public defender announcement is made and application forms are provided at the beginning of the court session.

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How do I contact my Public Defender?
If a Public Defender has already been appointed to represent you, visit the Public Defender website or call the local office directly at (651) 757-1600.

If I don't want or don't qualify for a Public Defender, how do I find an attorney?
Visit the Find a Lawyer page in the MN Judicial Branch's Help Topics for attorney referral or low-cost attorney services such as Criminal Defense Services, Inc. or the Neighborhood Justice Center.

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Am I allowed to represent myself?
Yes, but keep in mind that you will be expected to follow all the rules of law and court procedure that an attorney would follow. Criminal charges are serious matters that may result in jail time. Consider carefully whether you want to represent yourself.

For more information, visit the Representing Yourself in Court page of the State Self-Help Center.
 

Appearing in Court

Why do I have to go to court instead of just paying a fine?
State statutes dictate which violations are payable and which ones require a court appearance.

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What happens when I go to court?
Typically, your case is called and you will appear before the judge. Because several cases are scheduled, the court session could last half a day (morning or afternoon). It's important to be on time. In some court sessions you or your attorney may have an opportunity to speak with the prosecutor before court begins.

What kind of sentence will I receive?
It depends on the level of conviction.
  • Petty Misdemeanor: Maximum fine of $300.00 (no possibility of jail time).
  • Misdemeanor: Maximum of 90 days in the workhouse and/or $1000.00 fine.
  • Gross Misdemeanor: Maximum of 1 year in the workhouse and/or $3000.00 fine.
  • Felony: Minimum of 1 year and 1 day in prison.
These are only the maximum (for Felony, minimum) sentences and not necessarily the sentence that will be imposed in your case.

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Witnesses and Subpoenas

I want to call in a witness to testify. How do I get a subpoena?
If you have an attorney, have the attorney do it. If you are representing yourself, go to Room 900 of the City Hall/Courthouse to receive subpoenas and instructions on how to get them  signed.  Do not use online subpoena forms without first getting instructions from the Court.

How do I serve a subpoena?
A disinterested third party must serve the supbpoena and sign and notarize the affidavit of service. There are professional process servers, including the Ramsey County Sheriff, who will serve for a fee. Anyone who has no stake in the outcome of the case can do it, but keep in mind that an improperly-served subpoena may be ruled invalid.

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What do I do if I've been served with a subpoena?
Follow the instructions on the subpoena. You must appear on the date, time, and location specified, bring any documents named in the subpoena, and be prepared to tesitfy under oath.

Am I allowed to attend the hearings and trials if I'm not the defendant?
It depends. If you are an interested party who hasn't been subpoena'd, and if the trial/hearing is not closed to the public, you may attend. If you have been subpoena'd to testify, there may be restrictions. You should contact the party who issued the subpoena. If there is a No Contact Order in effect, all of the terms of the Order still apply.

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Paying Fines

How do I pay a court-imposed fine?
Pay in person at one of the three locations listed above or mail your payment to the Minnesota Court Payment Center, P.O. Box 898, Willmar, MN 56201. Include your case number.

Where can I go to pay a fine in person?
Pay at any of the three locations listed at the top of this page

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What will happen if I don't pay the fine?
The debt may be referred to a collection agency, your driver's licence may be suspended, and/or you may be summoned back to court. If you have failed to pay a fine, call (651) 281-3219 or (800) 657-3611 (if you are outside the metro area) to find out what happened and what you need to do.

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Can I pay online?
No. Only offenses that don't require court can be paid online.  If none of the offenses you are charged with requires court, visit our Violations Bureau page or go directly to Online Fine Payment.

What should I do if I can't pay the fine before the due date?
Call (651) 281-3219 or (800) 657-3611 (if you are outside the metro area) to see what can be done about getting an extension.

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Warrants and Bail

Why do I have a warrant for my arrest?
There are several reasons why a warrant can be issued. Some of the most common ones are:
  • Failure to appear at a court hearing
  • Violation of the terms of a sentence you received
  • Failure to pay a fine
  • A warrant was filed with the court as part of a criminal complaint
 Call our office at (651) 266-1999 for specific information.

What should I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?
Turn yourself in at the Law Enforcement Center, 425 Grove Street, St. Paul, MN  55101. Go to the Jail Entrance (open 24 hours) before 4:00 a.m. if you wish to be heard on the next available court calendar. You will be taken into custody, booked, and fingerprinted.  For more information, visit the Turning Yourself In page of the Ramsey County Sheriff's web site.

Who can I talk to about someone in custody in Ramsey County?
This will depend on what you want to know.  Call our office if you want information about the charges or about an upcoming court appearance.  If you are interested in contacting an inmate, picking them up upon their release, or posting their bail or bond, contact the Adult Detention Services Unit at (651) 266-9350.

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Can I post bail for my warrant?
It depends on the warrant.
  • If your warrant allows for your release upon arrest, you may be released.
  • If your warrant allows for your release upon posting bail, you can post bail or bond and be released.
  • If your warrant does not allow for release or if you are unable to post the set amount, you will be held in custudy until your hearing.
For information on the amount of your bail, visit the Arrest Warrant Search page of the Ramsey County web site or call the Warrant Office at (651) 266-9320.

What's the difference between bail and bond?
Bail is cash you post as a guarantee of your future appearances. Once the case is closed, your bail is either refunded to you or applied to any money owed.

Bond is a guarantee of your appearance offered by a bonding company. The bond is purchased by you or on your behalf from a bonding company and is not refunded or applied to any money owed.

Important: If you fail to appear for any scheduled hearing, you risk losing the entire bail or bond. The court may order that it be forfeited. If your bond is forfeited, the bondsman might keep any cash or property that you put up as a guarantee of your appearance.

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Where can I get a bond?
Visit the Bonding Agents in Minnesota page of the Judicial Branch website to find a bonding agent. The court isn't allowed to recommend any particular bonding company.

When do I get my bail back?
Once the case is closed, your bail is either refunded to you or applied to any money owed.

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If I post bail for someone else, how do I make sure it is returned to me?
By law, bail is the property of the defendant. Before sentencing, contact the judge and ask that the refund check be made out to you. To contact the judge, call the court at (651) 266-1999 for the name and phone number. Be aware that bail may be applied to fines, fees, and restitution.
 

Other Questions

How do I contact my Probation Officer?
Call the Probation Office at (651) 266-2300.

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Where do I turn myself in to serve my sentence?
Report to the Ramsey County Correctional Facility (workhouse) at 297 South Century Avenue, Maplewood MN.

How do I get a No Contact Order dropped?
A Judge must sign a Cancellation of No Contact Order. Call the main office at the number above for instructions.

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Getting Information about a Case

Criminal case records are kept on the 9th floor of the City Hall/County Courthouse. If you would like to inquire about the disposition of a criminal case, call (651) 266-1999. You must know either the case number or the defendant's name and the date of the offense.

If you are calling about several different cases or if you want a complete record of offenses for an individual, you must come to one of the offices listed above and query the computer records on your own. Computers are set up with access to this information and instructions on how to use the computers are available.
 

If You Must Appear in Court

If you are charged with an offense where a court appearance is mandatory, you will personally receive a Summons or it will be mailed to you. A Summons is an order to go to court. The Summons will include the time and location of your court appearance. If you contact the court for information or assistance, the clerk will need information from that Summons, so have it with you if you call, and bring it when you come to court. In court, you will be asked to plead Guilty or Not Guilty. If you plead Guilty, you may be sentenced and be immediately expected to pay any fine or fees involved. If your case is complex, the judge may order an investigation prior to sentencing you. This is known as a Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI). If this is ordered, you will need to follow the instructions you receive and reappear later for sentencing.

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Pleading Not Guilty to a Court-Required Offense

If you plead Not Guilty, a second appearance date will be scheduled. If the next appearance is a Hearing, then you, the judge, the prosecutor, and your attorney (if you have one) will meet to discuss legal issues and the merits of the case. If the matter cannot be resolved at that time, a trial will be scheduled. In some cases, you can skip the Hearing by waiving certain rights you have.
 

Your Right to an Attorney

If you are not comfortable representing yourself in court, you may want to consider hiring an attorney. An attorney is your representative in court. No one else you will see in the courtroom is rightfully entitled or obligated to protect your rights. If you don't think you can afford an attorney, but feel that you need one, you can ask the Court to appoint an attorney to represent you without cost. This attorney is called a Public Defender. You need to fill out an application to have one appointed to your case. At your first appearance, just before court starts, there is an announcement regarding this. The clerk will ask those people who would like to apply to come forward. If you intend to apply, make sure you are in court on time to hear the announcement. If you are late, you must make this request immediately.

If you don't qualify for a Public Defender, but don't feel you can afford a private attorney, there is a local non-profit organization called Criminal Defense Services, Inc.  They provide low-cost legal representation on a sliding scale based on your ability to pay. For more information, call (651) 215-0668 or click on the link above.

Please remember that the role of Administration staff is strictly to keep a record. Clerks and other administrators have no say in the outcome of any case. It is up to judges and juries to rule and up to the prosecutors to decide when to bring charges and when to drop them.

Contesting a Payable Ticket There are two forums for contesting a ticket that is not court-mandatory. If you choose, you may have a trial, but a trial is only appropriate if you deny committing the offense you are charged with or if you feel that the State cannot prove you committed it.

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Hearing Officers

There is a second, more convenient method available to those people who do not deny the offense outright. If you wish to explain certain circumstances about what happened and feel that this explanation should be taken into consideration when determining the amount of the fine or if there should be a fine, you may speak to a Hearing Officer, who has the authority to reduce a fine. They are available at the St Paul Courthouse or in Maplewood. To speak with a Hearing Officer, call the Court Payment Center to set up an appointment.  Call (651) 281-3219.  Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611.  Bring your citation and a photo ID with you to your appointment. You should be aware that fine reduction does not assure that the offense will stay off of your driving record. Parking violations, however, never go on your driving record anyway.

In either case, you must speak with a Hearing Officer. If you want to have a trial, the Hearing Officer must determine the nature of your argument and what and when the next hearing should be. If a trial is appropriate, you will receive a notice as to when and where it will be. All trials involve witness testimony and argument by the Plaintiff and Defendant. Unless you qualify for and are appointed a Public Defender (at a separate court appearance), it will be up to you to hire your own attorney or represent yourself at the trial.


Paying a Fine / Inquiring on the Amount Owed

If none of the offenses you are charged with requires a court appearance, you can pay a fine in several different ways.
  1. Pay in person at any of the three offices.
  2. Mail your payment in the envelope that comes with the ticket. Don't mail cash.
  3. Pay by telephone with a credit card. Call (651) 281-3219. Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611. An automated attendant will take you through the necessary steps. Make sure you have your ticket and your credit card ready when you are asked to key in (on your telephone) your ticket number and credit card number. (For most serious offenses, there is no ticket number, so paying by telephone would not be an option.) The automated attendant can tell you the amount of your fine, the day it is due, and even give you directions to the office. You can use it anytime you have these questions.
  4. Pay on-line with a check or credit card. Pay Fines Online
By state law, all fines on court-required offenses are due upon sentencing. This means that, as soon as the judge hands down a sentence in your case, you will be expected to pay any fine in full before you leave the courthouse. If you cannot, you will have to speak with a Hearing Officer. You may be asked to sign an agreement to pay the fine at a later date. The agreement will include specific instructions for payment and the consequences of non-payment. If you don't follow these directions, you may be re-sentenced by the judge who originally sentenced you, or your debt may be referred to a collection agency. It might even be subtracted from your tax refund.

Remember that paying a fine amounts to a plea of guilty to the charge. After you pay a fine, you cannot return to the court and demand a trial.
 

Domestic Violence Cases

The Court has established a committee to establish guidelines for the prosecution of such cases. If you would like more information about their conclusions, consult the Guidelines and Procedures for Domestic Abuse-Related Criminal Cases.

The Department of Public Safety offers support and resources for victims of crime on their Crime Victim Support page.

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(651) 266-1999

Main Office:  15 W. Kellogg Blvd Room 900, St Paul, MN 55102
Public Computers and Counter staff are also available at these locations:
Law Enforcement Center:  425 Grove St, St Paul MN 55101
Suburban Court:  2050 White Bear Ave, Maplewood MN 55109
 

Access to Records

How do I view criminal case information?
How do I view the documents in a case?
Can all records be viewed online?
What is a disposition?
I'm looking for a very old record.  How do I know whether you have it?
 

Printed Copies & Fees

What's the difference between a certified copy and a plain copy?
If a certified document is stapled, does removing the staple invalidate it?
Is there a per-page charge for multi-page documents?
How do I get a copy of my case for employment/rental purposes?
I need a record check for immigration purposes.  Do you provide those?
 

Confidentiality

Why is the case I'm looking for not available?
My case was dismissed.  Why does it still show up on my criminal record?
 

Record Retention

How far back do your records go?
Where are the older records?
Specifically, what case information do you have?
How long do you keep case information?
 

Access to Records

How do I view criminal case information?
For records after 1992, you can search online, or you can go to any Minnesota District Court office and use the public computer terminals.  The public terminals contain a more complete record than what is available online.

How do I view the documents in a case?
Documents are not available online.
To view documents filed after 1997: go to any Minnesota District Court office and use the public computer terminals
To view document filed before 1997: come to our Main Courthouse location at the address above.

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Can all records and documents be viewed online?
No. Only public non-confidential records can be viewed online.  For criminal cases, only records that are considered post-disposition are available through a name search.  Document images are not available online.

What is a disposition?
For criminal and traffic cases, dismissal, acquittal, or determination of guilt (by plea, by jury, or by the Court). 

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I'm looking for a very old record. How do I know whether you have it?
Call our office at the number above and inquire before coming in.
 

Printed Copies & Fees

What's the difference between a certified copy, an exemplified copy and a plain copy?
A certified copy of a court document or record has been signed by a court clerk and embossed with the state seal while a plain copy has not.  Some offices require certification as protection against fraud.  An exemplified copy contains additional signatures by the Court Administrator and a judge.  Courts sometimes require exemplification to admit a copy into evidence.  Check the Judicial Branch Fee Schedule for the cost of certified, exemplified and plain (non-certified) copies. 

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If a certified or exemplified document is stapled, does removing the staple invalidate it?
Yes. Many agencies and courts may consider it tampering.  If submitted as evidence in a court hearing, it may be challenged.

Is there a per-page charge for multi-page documents?
No. There is a single fee per document, but the fee may be larger for documents of fifty pages or more.  Check the Judicial Branch Fee Schedule to confirm the amount.

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How do I get a copy of my case for employment/rental purposes?
Come to our office and print out the documents at one of our public computers.  There is a fee.   Most agencies only require a Register of Actions, Sentencing Order, and Plea Petition.

I need a record check for immigration purposes. Do you provide those?
Yes. Come to Room 900 of the City Hall Courthouse and ask for a Criminal History Record Search.   The clerks are familiar with the process and can compile the necessary records for a single fee. There is no fee, but you will need to show a government-issued photo ID and a written request on the agency letterhead of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, formerly known as the INS.

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Confidentiality

Why is the case I'm looking for not available online?
It may be sealed, filed in a different court (such as Appellate Court or Federal Court) or it may be pre-disposition.  Pre-disposition records will show up on the public computers at Minnesota District Court offices, but not online unless you provide the District Court case number.

My case was dismissed.  Why does it still show up on my record?
Dismissed cases are still part of the official record.  If you seek to have the record removed (expunged), visit the Expungement page tab in this section for more specific information.

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Record Retention

How far back do your records go?
As far as 1937 for certain cases, but will vary depending on the date and type of record.  Online access extends to 1991.  If you have a question about whether we have a specific record, call our office at the number above.

Where are the older records?
At the Minnesota State Historical Society.

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Specifically, what case information do you keep?
Criminal and traffic cases filed in Ramsey County, parking tickets, traffic violations, petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors and felonies.  We do not keep Juvenile records, Appellate Court records (unless the case started in our court), and we do not keep records of Federal cases.

How long do you keep case information?
It depends on the age of the record and the level of offense.  If you have a question about a specific record, call our office at the number above.

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(651) 266-1999

15 W Kellogg Blvd Room 900
St. Paul MN  55102

Expungement is the process of going to court to ask a judge to seal a court record.

Ramsey Court Expungement Clinic

MN Judicial Branch Help Topic: Criminal Expungement
   How do I expunge my criminal record?
   How do I get my criminal history?

How/where do I file for expungement in Ramsey County?
How do I file for a fee waiver (IFP)?
Can I have an arrest record expunged if I was not charged?
Can I get an eviction record expunged?
Can I get a driving offense expunged?
Can I get a public defender to help me file for expungement?
Can I get an order to open an expunged case?


Ramsey Court Criminal Expungement Clinic

Who:
You may file for Expungement only if
   1) you are not on probation or parole,
   2) are not currently charged with any new crime, and
   3) have paid all fines, fees, and restitution owed to Ramsey County.
When:
2nd and 4th Thursday of the month (excluding holidays) at 1:00 p.m.
Where:
Ramsey County Law Library. 18th Floor, Ramsey County Courthouse, 15 W Kellogg Blvd. Space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Adults only.
How/where do I file (petition) for expungement in Ramsey County?
Either bring the following documents to Room 900 of the City Hall/Courthouse, 15 West Kellogg Blvd or mail them along with the appropriate fees.  Blank forms are available at this location or you can download them from this site: It's also possible to eFile your documents if you sign up for eFiling and the case meets certain requirements.  If you would like to eFile, call our office at the number above to see if your case qualifies.
What should I do if I want to file for expungement, but can't afford the fees?
Submit a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP).  Complete instructions are available online and in Room 900 of the City Hall/Courthouse.

Can I have an arrest expunged if I was not charged?
If you were arrested but not charged with a crime, there will be no court record for that event. Law enforcement agencies and the BCA, however, may have records of the arrest. There is a non-court process for sealing arrest records. For more information, visit the Expunge Arrest Records help topic of the MN Judicial Branch site.

Can I get an eviction record expunged?
Yes, but evictions are not Criminal matters and you need to file your Request with Housing Court. For more information, visit the Expungement of Eviction Record help topic of the MN Judicial Branch site. 

Can I get an offense on my driving record expunged?
You can ask the court to seal any criminal court record if you meet the standards under the law.  However, this will not seal any records held at the MN Dept. of Public Safety. 
If your driving was updated incorrectly due to a clerical or other error, call the court at (651) 266-1999 to initiate correction.

Can I get a public defender to help me file for expungement?
No.  Public Defenders are only available for cases that could result in jail time.  A motion to expunge does not meet that condition.

Can I get an order to open an expunged case?
The Court office does not have access to expunged records without a signed court order.  You must file a motion to request it.  Consider consulting an attorney or visiting a law library for more information.


Expungement Defined

An expungement is a court order sealing records and prohibiting re-opening or disclosure of their existence except under court order or statutory authority. Nothing in the statutes authorizes destruction of records or their return to the subject. A Judge of the District Court must hear this petition.

The Criminal Expungement help topic offers a variety of tutorials, guides and resources that can help you through the expungement process. If the offense you wish to have expunged happened in Ramsey County, use the forms at the top of this page to file your request.
 

What Expungement Means

Expungement (sealing) of a record means the record will not be available to the general public. However, Minn. Stat. §609A.03, subd. 7, states that law enforcement agencies, prosecution or correctional authorities may seek an order signed by a judge to re-open a sealed case for the purpose of a criminal investigation, prosecution or sentencing. The records may be opened for the purposes of evaluating a prospective employee of a criminal justice agency, without a court order, pursuant to Minn. Stat. §609A.03, subd. 7.
 

You May Qualify for an Expungement If:

  • The charges were dismissed, you were found not guilty, or the case did not otherwise result in a conviction.
  • You were charged with a controlled substance offense and the proceedings have been dismissed and discharged.
  • You were a juvenile prosecuted as an adult;
  • The Board of Pardons has granted you a pardon extraordinary
If there is no court file (in other words, the prosecutor did not file formal charges or the grand jury did not file an indictment) and you’ve had a clean record for the past 10 years, a petition to the court is not necessary to expunge your arrest record. You should contact the arresting agency and/or the BCA [Minn. Stat. §299C.11(b)].
Problem-Solving CourtsThe specialty courts often known as Drug Courts have evolved into a complex of several different types of court-monitored programs focused on serving certain sectors of the population who may have specific issues navigating the Criminal Justice system.  The goal of these courts is alleviate the stresses on law enforcement, social services, and government by helping these individuals to break a cycle of arrest, conviction, release, and re-arrest.
The problem-solving courts offered in Ramsey County are part of a statewide network.  For more information about these courts statewide, visit the Drug Courts page on this MN Judicial Branch site.
For a national perspective, visit the Drug Courts page of the National Institute of Justice.
 

Contact

Dustin Rockow, Problem Solving Courts Supervisor
(651) 266-8168
 

(651) 266-9277

The Ramsey County DWI Court is for persons charged with their third or more gross misdemeanor DWI offense or 1st degree felony DWI, non-presumptive commit to prison.  The court provides intensive supervision for persons who are interested in changing their drinking and driving behavior and ending their cycle in the criminal justice system. (For general information and for those not charged with a third or subsequent DWI, refer to the Criminal Court page)
 

Eligibility

  • 3 or more DWI's in a lifetime
  • Ramsey County resident
  • Gross Misdemeanor level charge or 1st Degree Felony – non presumptive commit to prison
  • Ramsey County arrest and charged
  • Diagnosis of substance dependence (substance or alcohol disorder moderate or higher)
  • No violent criminal history
  • Approval by the DWI Court team
  • Voluntary participation in the DWI Court Program

Goals

  • Increase the number of DWI offenders who become and remain alcohol and other drug free.
  • Reduce recidivism among DWI offenders thereby enhancing public safety.
  • Restore participants as law-abiding citizens.
Judge Mark Ireland and Judge Judith Tilsen preside over the DWI Court.  If you are interested in observing the court, hearings take place every Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 131B of the Ramsey County Courthouse.

For more information, contact:
Tanya Jones, Program Coordinator
(651) 266-9277
tanya.jones@courts.state.mn.us
or
Dustin Rockow, Problem Solving Courts Coordinators Supervisor
(651) 266-8168
Dustin.Rockow@courts.state.mn.us
 

Informational Matierials:

DWI Program Brochure
Participant Handbook (non-Felony)
Participant Handbook (Felony)
Minnesota DWI Courts: A Summary of Evaluation Findings in Nine DWI Court Programs

(651) 266-9256, fax: (651) 767-8940

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
Mission and Goals
Target Population, Referral into the Program, Eligibility and Program Requirements
Current Operation
National Learning Site
Accomplishments and Impact
Team
Program Materials, Video, Training
Press, Publications, and Awards
 

Mission

The mission of the RCMHC is to increase public safety by reducing recidivism among those whose criminal behaviors are attributable to mental illness.  Through court supervision and the coordination of mental health and other social services, the Court supports a psychiatrically stable and crime-free lifestyle among its participants.


Goals

The goals of RCMHC are to:
  • Reduce recidivism.
  • Improve public safety.
  • Reduce the costs of prosecution, incarceration, and hospitalization to taxpayers.
  • Improve defendants' access to public mental health and substance abuse treatment services and other community resources.
  • Enhance collaboration between criminal justice agencies and the mental health system to better serve those with mental illness.
  • Improve the quality of life of mentally ill defendants.
RCMHC meets its goals by directing eligible defendants with mental health disorders from the criminal justice system to community-based mental health, substance abuse and support services. Rather than the traditional pattern of focusing on the criminal activity of the defendant, the RCMHC focuses on addressing and treating the defendant’s mental health and chemical health needs.


Target Population

The target population of the RCMHC is adult Ramsey County residents who have been charged with a crime that is related to a serious mental illness.

Referral into the Mental Health Court Program

If you think your case is eligible for diversion into Mental Health Court or into one of the other problem-solving courts, contact the Problem Solving Courts Supervisor.
Dustin Rockow
(651) 266-8168

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Mental Health Court program an individual must be:
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Ramsey County resident (out-of-county considered on a case by case basis)
  • Charged with a Crime
  • Diagnosed with a significant mental illness
  • Legally competent
  • A person with no history of violent offenses
  • Willing to voluntarily participate and commit to the rigors of the court conditions and treatment plan

Program Requirements

The RCMHC program is a four-phase treatment process, lasting a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years. Each phase consists of specific requirements for advancement into the next phase and outlines the recovery support services delivery plan. Phase movement results upon accomplishing treatment goals as agreed in the treatment plan; court conditions as agreed at acceptance into the RCMHC program and specific phase requirements.
Participants who agree to be accepted into the RCMHC program are required to:
  • remain law abiding;
  • abstain from illegal or non-prescribed drugs;
  • submit to random drug and alcohol testing;
  • complete community service hours;
  • identify and maintain appropriate housing;
  • remain compliant with all medication and psychiatric appointments;
  • fully comply with mental health and chemical health treatment recommendations;
  • develop and sustain a long-term treatment plan;
  • participate in pro-social activities;
  • become involved with mental health and community support groups.
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Current Operation

The Second Judicial District's Mental Health Court has been operational since May 2005 and developed based on the national problem-solving court model.  The Ramsey County Mental Health Court (RCMHC) was created when it became increasingly clear that persons with mental illness and co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders were in need of more specialized and individualized jurisprudential approaches. 
The RCMHC directs eligible defendants with mental health disorders from the criminal justice system to community-based mental health, substance abuse and support services.  Between its inception in May of 2005 and December of 2014, the RCMHC has provided services to 472 individuals with serious mental illness who have been charged with criminal offenses in Ramsey County.
RCMHC is currently funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Adult Mental Health, and two federal Bureau of Justice and Mental Health Expansion grants.  By partnering with Human Services, the RCMHC team includes two community human services case managers who link participants to available community mental and chemical health services. This approach has demonstrated results by changing lives, lowering incarceration rates and reducing recidivism.  To maintain adequate resources, the Court relies heavily on pro bono services.
At present, the state of Minnesota has three operational mental health courts and 39 operational drug courts.  There are more than 400 mental health courts across the country with many additional courts in the planning phase.
 

National Learning Site

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Council of State Governments Justice Center selected Ramsey County Mental Health Court (RCMHC) as a National Learning Site (more commonly known as “mentor courts”). According to the national reviewing team, RCMHC was chosen not just for programmatic successes, but also for the ability to provide insight and guidance to other jurisdictions interested in starting or expanding a mental health court.

Accomplishments and Impact

The accomplishments of the RCMHC include connecting defendants to mental and chemical health services; reducing the incidences of criminal behavior; reducing the costs to the criminal justice system, corrections, public safety, and hospitals; enhancing the collaboration between the courts and the mental health community; improving the quality of life of defendants upon discharge (i.e., housing and treatment services in place); and assisting defendants with establishing more productive lives including self-sufficiency and self-confidence. Through the coercive authority and monitoring of the RCMHC as well as collaboration with the community, defendant’s mental illness and environmental factors drastically improve. The proven outcome is that people learn to engage in services, and when they have their next mental health crisis, instead of defaulting to the police on the street they default to the treatment system. 
The impact of RCMHC has been significant. RCMHC has a proven record of success in changing lives, lowering incarceration rates, reducing recidivism, and improving medication compliance thereby increasing public safety and decreasing criminal justice and court expenses across the board. Evaluation and outcome data reveals that RCMHC graduates are less likely to be charged with a new offense, less likely to be convicted of a new offense, and less likely to spend time in jail than those in a comparison group of similarly situated offenders who did not participate in RCMHC.  
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Team

The Honorable Mark R. Ireland and Judith M. Tilsen lead RCMHC.  The judges supervise participant progress through the RCMHC continuum based on regular hearings, team input, and participant behavior.  They also lead the RCMHC team in decision-making and hold participants accountable for their progress by use of sanctions and incentives.
Brandi Stavlo is the Program Coordinator for the Ramsey County Mental Health Court (RCMHC) in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ms. Stavlo has worked for the Second Judicial District Court since 2005, and prior to that worked in the nonprofit sector as a mental health counselor, crisis and outreach counselor, and child advocate. Ms. Stavlo has represented RCMHC on several state and county committees focused on mental and chemical health issues, including the Police Round Table; Community/Homeless/Mental Health Committee; Ramsey County Community Human Services Citizens Advisory Council, Adult Mental Health Committee; and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota (NAMI-MN) Criminal Justice Advisory Committee. Ms. Stavlo was trained nationally by the Council of State Governments Justice Center in Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum to provide training to jurisdictions within Minnesota who are interested in starting a mental health court or improving their existing program. Ms. Stavlo received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the College of St. Benedict and earned her Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of St. Thomas and College of St. Catherine.


Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

The Court would like to thank everyone who is interested in volunteering or interning with RCMHC.

Graduate Clinical Placements:

In addition to the information in our graduate school posting, all students need to apply and be screened by Volunteer Services before RCMHC can move forward with interviews.  Students who are interested in the RCMHC internship need to complete an online application for the internship, found on the Ramsey County Home Page. 
Please note:
  • Academic year placement (September - May).  Minimum of 400 hours.
  • Summer block placement (June - August).  Minimum of 400 hours.

Program Interns and Project Volunteers:

All non-clinical applicants should complete the Application For Internship and return it with a current resume to brandi.stavlo@courts.state.mn.us.
  • Program Interns:  There is a minimum of 150 hours required for Program Interns.
  • Project Volunteers: Should also submit hours required with the application.
If selected for an interview, be prepared with the following information:
  • Skills, training or experience that you bring to RCMHC
  • What interests or goals you hope to pursue through an internship
  • Program requirements (i.e. required hours if seeking educational credits)
  • Type of supervision needed
  • A proposed final project (i.e., publishing an editorial article, organizing mental health education at your school, speaking for a community organization, etc.)
  • A brief description of how you think your work would fit into our program in the areas of education, individual advocacy, and mental health advocacy.

Program Materials

RCMHC Program Brochure (2016)
RCMHC Participant Handbook (2016)
RCMHC One Page Fact Sheet (2016)
Volunteer Opportunities (2015)
Program Information (2015)


Video

2014 Minnesota CLE Criminal Law Webcast Ramsey County Mental Health Court: Working with the Mentally Ill Defendant.
2010 Ramsey County Mental Health Court on the public access television show One and the Same on the Suburban Community Channels SCC.
 

Trainings with Links

Minnesota CLE - May 27, 2014: Criminal Law Series Live Webcast 
CLE - MAY 23, 2012: Working with the Mentally Ill Defendant
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Press and Publications

MN Judicial Branch: Ramsey County Mental Health Court Named a 2015-2016 National Criminal Justice/Mental Health Collaboration Learning Site (August 19, 2015)
William Mitchell Law Review:  Ramsey County Mental Health Court:  Working with Community Partners to Improve the Lives of Mentally Ill Defendants, Reduce Recidivism, and Enhance Public Safety (May 2015) 
Minnesota Lawyer: Judge: Mental health court needs new money (March 16, 2015)
Minnesota Lawyer: Briggs attorneys receive MJF recognition (October 28, 2013)
Minnesota Lawyer: Mental Health Court decreases recidivism (August 19, 2013)
News Release:  RCMHC Reduces Recidivism (July 2013)
2010-2012 RCMHC Report
Ramsey County Bar Association:  Barrister Article (April 2011)  
2009 RCMHC Report


Awards

2014 Minnesota Lawyer Unsung Legal Hero Award: Brandi Stavlo
2013 Minnesota Justice Foundation Private Practice Award: Alan Maclin, W. Knapp Fitzsimmons, Michael Wilhelm, and Ankoor Bagchi, Briggs and Morgan, PA 
2013 Minnesota Justice Foundation Law Student Award: Suzula Bidon, RCMHC Student Certified Attorney
2009 Ramsey County Bar Association Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney: Warren Maas, RCMHC Pro Bono Attorney

Contact

Please contact the Program Coordinator for additional information:

BRANDI STAVLO, MSW

Program Coordinator
Ramsey County Mental Health Court
Adult Substance Abuse Court
15 W. Kellogg Blvd., 9th Floor Courthouse
St. Paul, MN 55102
Office: (651) 266-9256 | Fax: (651) 767-8940
brandi.stavlo@courts.state.mn.us

(651) 266-9256, fax: (651) 767-8940

Ramsey County Substance Abuse Court (ASAC) started in October 2002. ASAC is designed to provide individuals the opportunity to improve their lives and break the cycle of substance abuse. The court uses assessment, treatment (chemical and mental health), strict supervision, random drug and breath testing, regular court hearings and immediate sanctions and incentives to help participants maintain a drug free lifestyle. The program represents a closer working relationship between criminal justice partners (judge, prosecutor, defense attorneys, case managers, and treatment providers) than is traditionally seen in criminal courts. ASAC serves approximately 55 participants in any given day.
 

Mission

Ramsey County Substance Abuse Court’s mission is to enhance public safety by reducing criminal activity and assist substance abusers to become drug/alcohol free, productive, and law-abiding citizens.
 

Goals

  • Reduce criminal recidivism among chemically addicted offenders
  • Increase the number of offenders who remain drug and alcohol free
  • Increase the benefit and reduce the cost to the County for providing services to chemically addicted offenders
  • Create a response to substance abuse issues among all agencies in Ramsey County

Referral into the ASAC Program

If you think your case is eligible for diversion into Adult Substance Abuse Court or into one of the other problem-solving courts, contact the Problem Solving Courts Supervisor.
Dustin Rockow
(651) 266-8168

Eligibility

  • Adult Ramsey County resident
  • Charged with a non-violent Felony offense
  • Substance abuse/dependency diagnosis and a need for treatment
  • Willingness to participate

Program Requirements

The program is a minimum of 12 months in length and divided into three phases, each minimally four months in length. Movement through phases is based on accomplishment of general phase requirements as well as specific case plan goals. Program components include (but not limited to) chemical dependency assessment, treatment, and aftercare, assessment for participation in other programming (cognitive learning groups, mental health interventions), random alcohol and drug testing, regular court appearances, case management meetings, attendance of community support groups, obtain employment or pursue education, participate in pro-social activities, pay restitution and program fees. A formal graduation ceremony will be held to celebrate completion of the program.

Psychiatric Court Clinic (PCC)

The Psychiatric Court Clinic was developed for persons who suffer from co-occurring disorders (substance abuse and mental health) to bridge the gap between immediate intervention and community resources. The PCC provides screening and assessment, case planning, medication management and referral to community-based mental health agencies. Participants are eligible to receive services regardless of their insurance status. The PCC is staffed by a psychiatrist and psychiatric nurse on a weekly basis. Participants meet with the doctor and nurse during court sessions for case review and medication checks.

Accomplishments and Impact

Ramsey County Adult Substance Abuse Court has a proven record of success of changing lives, reducing recidivism and lowering incarceration rates. Evaluation and outcome data reveal that ASAC graduates are less likely to commit a new offense, less likely to be convicted of a new offense, and less likely to spend time in jail than those in a comparison group. Mothers have given birth to 28 drug free babies while in the program. Graduates experienced a 44% reduction in their LSI-R scores (Level of Risk and Services) from program entry to exit.

Team

The Honorable Mark R. Ireland and Judith M. Tilsen lead ASAC.  The judges supervise participant progress through the RCMHC continuum based on regular hearings, team input, and participant behavior.  They also lead the ASAC team in decision-making and hold participants accountable for their progress by use of sanctions and incentives.
Brandi Stavlo is the Program Coordinator for the Adult Substance Abuse Court (ASAC) in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ms. Stavlo has worked for the Second Judicial District Court since 2005, and prior to that worked in the nonprofit sector as a mental health counselor, crisis and outreach counselor, and child advocate. Ms. Stavlo received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the College of St. Benedict and earned her Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of St. Thomas and College of St. Catherine.
 

Awards

In 2010, the Ramsey County Substance Abuse Court was selected to serve a three-year term by the National Drug Court Institute as one of ten Adult Mentor Courts in the United States. In March 2013, the Ramsey County Substance Abuse Court was again selected for a three-year term by the National Drug Court Institute as one of ten Adult Mentor Courts in the United States.
On June 2, 2012 Judge Joanne Smith was inducted into The Stanley M. Goldstein Drug Court Hall of Fame at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference in Nashville, TN. This is the highest achievement given to drug court professionals with only 22 inductees since 2002.
ASAC Prosecutor, Kim Bingham, won the Metro Area Prosecutor Award at the MADD Statewide Recognition Ceremony in March 2012.

Program Materials

Program Brochure 
Program Overview  
Participant Handbook

Contact

Please contact the Program Coordinator for additional information:
BRANDI STAVLO, MSW
Program Coordinator
Ramsey County Adult Substance Abuse Court
15 W. Kellogg Blvd., 9th Floor Courthouse
St. Paul, MN 55102
Office: (651) 266-9256 | Fax: (651) 767-8940
brandi.stavlo@courts.state.mn.us

(651) 266-8168

The Ramsey County Veterans Treatment Court is a voluntary court program for eligible veterans who have been charged with a crime in Ramsey County. The mission of the Veterans Treatment Court is to promote public safety through enhanced supervision and individual accountability. The purpose of the program is to assist and support veterans by creating a coordinated response through collaboration with the VA, community-based services, and the criminal justice system.

 

Contact

Dustin Rockow, Problem Solving Courts Supervisor
(651) 266-8168

Ramsey County Veterans Court Program

(651) 266-1999

(For fine payment, call (651) 281-3219.  Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611.)
Suburban Court: 2050 White Bear Ave, Maplewood MN 55109

Ramsey County Suburban Court handles criminal and traffic cases charged in the fifteen cities of suburban Ramsey County as well as the State Fair grounds. To do this, the Suburban Court works with nine Suburban law enforcement agencies, the Ramsey County Sheriff, and the Minnesota State Patrol.

The cases heard in the Suburban Court (often referred to as Maplewood Court or Maplewood Branch because of the city of location) include all petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor charges. Court calendars heard in the Suburban Branch include arraignments, pre-trials, court trials and the first day of jury trials.

Fines from any offense filed in the Second District can be paid at the cashier window. Administrative Hearing Officers are available to hear any case filed in the Second District that does not require an appearance in court.

If you need to contact a prosecutor or the the police agency involved in a specific charge, here is a breakdown by city of police agencies and prosecuting attorneys.

CITY, POLICE AGENCY, PROSECUTOR
Arden Hills, Ramsey County SheriffKevin Beck
Falcon Heights, St Anthony PoliceKatrina Joseph
Gem Lake, Ramsey County Sheriff, Robb Olson
Lauderdale, St. Anthony PoliceKatrina Joseph
Little Canada, Ramsey County SheriffKevin Beck
Maplewood, Maplewood Police, Kevin Beck
Mounds View, Mounds View Police, Thomas Hughes
New Brighton, New Brighton PoliceThomas Hughes
North St. Paul, North St. Paul PoliceCaroline Beckman
North Oaks, Ramsey County SheriffKevin Beck
Roseville, Roseville PoliceCaroline Beckman
State Fair, State Fair Police, Thomas Hughes
Shoreview, Ramsey County SheriffKevin Beck
Vadnais Heights, Ramsey County SheriffCaroline Beckman
White Bear Lake, White Bear Lake PoliceRobb Olson
White Bear Township, Ramsey County SheriffCaroline Beckman

 

(651) 266-1999

(For fine payment, call (651) 281-3219. Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611.)

 
Main Office: 15 W Kellogg Blvd, Room 130, St Paul MN 55102
Law Enforcement Center Office: 425 Grove St, St Paul MN  55101
     Note: Hearing Officers are not available at this site
Suburban Office: 2050 White Bear Ave, St Paul MN  55119
 

Paying Fines

How much is my fine? How can I pay the fine?
What will happen if I don't pay the fine?
What should I do if I can't pay the fine before the due date?
Can I pay online if I signed an agreement to pay?
Why doesn't my ticket show up when I inquire?
Why didn't I receive a late notice?
What is a convenience fee and why is it added to my fine?
 

Contesting a Ticket

How do I contest a ticket?
Can I contest a ticket through the mail?
Can I contest a ticket after paying the fine?
Can I contest a payable ticket without going through a trial?
What is a Hearing Officer?
What are the rules regarding parking in a Handicap Zone?
What are the rules for Snow Emergencies?
What is a Fire Lane?
Where can I find the parking ordinances for my city?
What is the law regarding license plates?
 

Unusual Circumstances

What do I do if I think a parking meter is broken?
I paid to park at an electronic pay station and still received a citation.  What can I do?
How do I handle a No Insurance or No Proof of Insurance Charge?
I got a late notice, but I sold the car before the ticket was issued. What should I do?
How is the amount of my fine determined?
Can I pay a fine on a ticket issued to an underage person (a juvenile)?
 

Appearing in Court

What is my court date? / How am I notified?
Can I get a Public Defender?
How do I apply for a Public Defender?
What happens if I miss my court appearance?
Can I reschedule a court appearance?
What happens when I go to court?
What kind of sentence will I receive?
 

Your Driving Record and Withdrawal of Your License

If I pay the fine, will the offense go on my driving record?
Why is my Driver's License suspended?
Is my driving record public information?
Will my Driver's License be reinstated as soon as I pay my fine?
 

Towing

I think my car was towed. What do I do?
Why was my car towed?
What is a scofflaw?
What happens if my vehicle is considered a scofflaw?

Paying Fines

How much is my fine?  How do I pay a fine?
There are three ways to inquire on the amount of your fine and four ways to pay it.
  • In Person. Appear in person at any of the three offices listed at the top of this page.
  • By Telephone. Inquire and/or pay over the telephone. To pay, you will need Visa or MasterCard credit card. Call (651) 281-3219.  Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611. An automated attendant will take you through the necessary steps. Make sure you have your ticket and your credit card ready when you are asked to key in (on your telephone) your ticket number and credit card number. The automated attendant can tell you the amount of your fine and the day it is due. There is a $1.50 fee for using this service.
  • On the Web. Inquire/Pay on-line with a credit card. Fine Payment Page. There is a $1.50 fee for using this service.
  • By Mail. If you know how much you owe, mail your payment to: Minnesota Court Payment Center, P.O. Box 898, Willmar MN 56201.  Don't mail cash.
What will happen if I don't pay the fine?
For most cases, a late fee of $5.00 is added after 30 days and an additional penalty of up to $50.00 is added to that if the fine is not paid within 60 days. After that, the Court may begin collection efforts.

What should I do if I can't pay the fine before the due date?
Before the fine is due, you must make special arrangements with the Court to pay your fine at a later date or to pay in installments. To set up an appointment with a Hearing Officer, call (651) 281-3219.  Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611.

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Can I pay online if I signed an agreement to pay?
Not always. You can pay online only if the charge does not require a court appearance. Court-required offenses must be paid in person or by mail. In all cases, keep in mind that your payment must be receipted by the Court on or before the stated due date.

Why doesn't my ticket show up when I inquire?
This may happen for a number of reasons. Please review these possibilities and follow the corresponding advice for whichever possibility is likliest.
  • It may be that the ticket is not yet entered in the database. It can take up to 10 business days. Wait a few days and try again.
  • Your ticket may have been issued in another jurisdiction.  Double-check the location.
  • You may have entered incorrect information. Verify the information and try again.
  • If you are under 18, the charge may be handled in Juvenile Court. Call the Juvenile Court office at (651) 266-5115 for more information.
  • The charge may be entered differently into our database. The most reliable search criteria are citation number and driver's license number.
If you cannot locate the ticket using the advice above within 3 weeks of the violation, call (651) 266-1999 for assistance.

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Why didn't I receive a late notice?
For moving violations, a notice is mailed to the address on the ticket. For parking tickets, the notice is mailed to the address of the registered owner. If that information is incorrect, you may not have received the notice. The late fee that was imposed, however, is still due and owing.

What is a convenience fee and why is it added to my fine?
When paying a fine online or with your telephone, your credit status is checked through our banking system and the money is electronically transferred. The bank charges the court a fee for this service and the state legislature has authorized the collection of an additional fee to partially defray the costs of paying fines this way. The money collected is not kept by the court, but is used to pay the bank that provides the service. Currently, the fee is $1.50. Payments through the mail or made in person are not assessed this extra fee.

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Contesting a Ticket

How do I contest a ticket?
To plead not guilty and set up a trial or to plead guilty and offer an explanation:

Confirm that the ticket has been filed with the Court.  Either inquire on the ticket using the Court's Pay Fines page or call the Court to find out if the ticket has been filed. Call (651) 281-3219.  Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611.It may take up to 10 business days for your ticket to be filed with the Court.

Once you have confirmed that the ticket has been filed, call one of the numbers above (if you are not already on the line). Press 5 when prompted to speak directly with a representative. Mention that you'd like to make an appointment to see a Hearing Officer.

At the agreed-on date, time, and location, tell the court staff at the counter that you have an appointment. Bring photo identification such as a driver’s license, Minnesota ID, or a passport.  (A birth certificate is not an acceptable form of identification.)  When applicable, bring the following:
 
  • Proof of insurance documentation for the vehicle, a letter from the insurance company, or a copy of the insurance policy.
  • The crash or collision report.
  • Color, photographic proof and receipts showing equipment violations have been corrected.
  • Photographic proof of front and back license plate violations have been corrected.
  • The actual disability permit, a photograph is not sufficient.
A juvenile offender (under 18 years at the date and time of the offense) needs to appear with a parent or legal guardian.
Someone other than the owner may meet with the hearing officer to address parking violations, if applicable.

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Can I contest a ticket through the mail?
No, you must see a Hearing Officer in person.

Can I contest a ticket after paying the fine?
Not without getting the court's permission to withdraw your guilty plea.  Contact the court at the number above for more information. 

Can I contest a payable ticket without going through a trial?
Yes. In all cases where the fine is payable (not court-required) and you want to contest your ticket, the first step is to verify that your ticket is on file. To do so, either look up your ticket on our Fine Payment Page or call the Court at (651) 281-3219.  Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611. Once you have verified this, you must make an appointment to speak with a Hearing Officer. At the number above, press 5 when prompted to make arrangements with a representative.

What is a Hearing Officer?
A Hearing Officer is someone authorized by the Court to hear what you have to say about your ticket and make a decision about your fine based on your explanation. Hearing Officers also have the authority to dismiss certain offenses under specific circumstances, to make arrangements to pay a fine over time, to authorize special programs, and to accept a plea of Not Guilty and set your case for court. Hearing Officers are available at the St. Paul and Maplewood Court locations, but you must have an appointment.

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What are the rules regarding parking in a Disability Parking (Handicap) Zone?
Disability parking zones are enforced 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. To be eligible to park in a disability parking zone, a vehicle must display disability license plates, a state-issued permit, or a hangtag. The disabled person must be present in the vehicle as either the driver or a passenger. Persons with valid disability permits may park at a parking meter free of charge, but must still obey the posted time limits. A disability license does not give permission to park in no-park zones or fire lanes.

What are the rules for Snow Emergencies?
The City of Saint Paul follows a night plowing and day plowing format for snow emergencies. Specific information about these rules as well as snow emergency announcements are posted on the Snow Emergency page of the City of St. Paul website. For more information, visit their St. Paul Snow Emergency FAQ's page or call (651) 266-7569.
Other cities in Ramsey County have different rules regarding snow emergencies. Often, the rule is that you must be off all city streets once two inches of snow has fallen. Many cities post their snow emergency rules on their own websites. A list of these sites is available through the City Websites page of Minnesota.gov.  Keep this in mind: The information here is general information. The specific ordinances governing snow emergencies are written by and controlled by the city authorities. It's up to you to know the snow emergency rules for the city in which you live or visit.

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What is a Fire Lane?
A Fire Lane is any area that must remain clear of parked cars so that emergency vehicles can pass through, access building entrances, or utilize firefighting equipment. A Fire Lane can be on a public street or on private property.

Where can I find the parking ordinances for my city?
Many cities post their ordinances on their own websites. A list of these sites is available through the City Websites page of Minnesota.gov.

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What is the law regarding license plates?
Minnesota registration law requires that any vehicle parked or operated on public streets must be properly registered and display both front and rear license plates. The tabs must be positioned correctly and attached to the license plates to be valid. License plate frames cannot cover any part of the month or year tabs. License plates must be clean and unobstructed and cannot be covered by clear or colorless material. They must be fastened securely to the front and rear of the vehicle.
 

Unusual Circumstances

What do I do if I think a parking meter is broken?
Report it to the broken meter line immediately. Be sure and note the meter number. It's located on the front of the meter just below the coin slot.

  • For meters on the U of M St. Paul campus, call (612) 626-7275.
  • For meters in the State Capital area, call (651) 201-2300.
  • For meters anywhere else in Saint Paul, call (651) 266-9776.

If you received an expired meter ticket, wait 10 days after reporting the broken meter, call the Violations Bureau (651-266-1999), and ask if the meter you reported was broken. Warning: Don't park at a meter if you think it's broken. You can still be ticketed and owe the fine.

I paid to park at a multi-space pay station and still received a citation.  What can I do?
If you received a citation for expired meter and you have a receipt showing that the meter space* (space-marker number) was paid for at the time of the citation, provide your meter receipt and citation (or photocopies of each) to the Court for review. Contact the Court Payment Center at (651) 281-3219 five business days after providing the documentation to check on the status of your citation.  Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611. To provide proof:

  • Mail it to: Ramsey District Court, Violations Bureau Room 130, 15 West Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102
  • Appear in person at one of the Court locations at the top of this page.

*Note: If you paid for the wrong meter space (space-marker number), you will need to schedule a hearing officer appointment to contest the citation.

How do I handle a No Insurance or No Proof of Insurance Charge?
If your vehicle was insured at the time of the stop, provide proof of insurance before you pay the fine**.  Proof of insurance must cover the date of offense and the vehicle you were driving.  A bill or statement are not valid proof of insurance. If you were charged with anything else at the same time, you must also respond to those charges.  Submit your proof, along with a copy of the citation in one of the following ways:

  • Fax it to the Court Payment Center: (320) 231-6507.
  • Mail it to: Court Payment Center, P.O. Box 898, Willmar, MN 56201.
  • Appear in person at one of the Ramsey District Court locations at the top of this page.

If you have any questions, call the Court Payment Center at (651) 281-3219.  Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611.  If you're unable to show proof that your vehicle was insured, you must either pay the fine or make arrangements to speak with a Hearing Officer.
**Note: If you already paid the fine but had insurance, call the Court at (651) 266-1999 to speak with someone about your options.
 

I got a late notice, but I sold the car before the ticket was issued. What should I do?
If you sold the vehicle in question before the date of offense, contact the Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) and supply what is known as a Report of Sale. Once you have taken this step, provide the court with documentation obtained from DVS displaying the sale information.

Step One: Notify Driver and Vehicle Services.
DVS offers 2 ways of submitting the buyer information:
(Recommended) On the web at http://www.mndriveinfo.org./.  Follow the instructions for submitting a Report of Sale. You'll find the instructions in the left-side navigation: under Online Services, click "more...”
Over the phone at (651) 297-2559. You may either supply the information to an automated attendant any time day or night, or, if you call between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, you may speak with a live agent.
Have all of the following information ready before you call or go online:

  • Your driver’s license number
  • The date of sale
  • The driver’s license number, name and address of the new owner
  • The license plate number of the vehicle
  • The last four numbers of the VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number

Step Two: Request a Copy of the vehicle sale information from DVS.

Step Three: Notify the Court
Provide the court with documentation obtained from DVS showing the vehicle sale information. At minimum, this documentation needs to include your name, date of sale, vehicle information including plate number, make, model, and VIN.

Step Four: Confirm
Contact our office at (651) 266-1999 five business days after providing the documentation to check on the status of your citation(s).
Keep in mind that this process only covers tickets issued in Ramsey County and that tickets issued elsewhere must be handled separately. Submitting a Report of Sale does not transfer the title. This must be done in person by the buyer at a Deputy Registrar's Office. If the buyer does not transfer the title

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How is the amount of my fine determined?
Fine amounts are determined by the state whenever the violation is a state statute and by the city when the violation is a city ordinance.

Can I pay a fine on a ticket issued to an underage person (a juvenile)?
Yes, under certain conditions. State statutes and Minnesota Rules of Court determine juvenile charges and penalties. Contact the Court to determine what steps must be taken to address the violation.  Court staff will advise you if the case has been referred to Juvenile Court. Call (651) 281-3219.  Outside the metro area, call 1-800-657-3611

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Appearing in Court

What is my court date? / How am I notified?
If any of the offenses you are charged with requires a court appearance, the date, time, and location will be mailed to you at the address on the complaint. This is usually the address you've given the police officer or sheriff at the time you were detained. It can take some time for the complaint to reach the court offices and be scheduled, especially if you were released pending further investigation. If, after two weeks, you don't receive notification of your court date, call (651)266-1999 to inquire about the status of your charge and about the court date.

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Can I get a public defender?
Only if the charge carries the possibility of jail time and only if you qualify financially.

If you spoke to a Hearing Officer and are scheduled for a Court Trial, you cannot request a public defender on the day of the trial. If you think the charge carries the possibility of jail time and if you think you are otherwise eligible, you must contact the court to appear at an arraignment court where the public defenders are appointed.

If you don't think you qualify for a public defender, but can't afford a private attorney, you may want to talk to Criminal Defense Services, Inc. This is a non-profit organization that provides low-cost legal representation on a sliding scale based on your ability to pay.
 
How do I apply for a Public Defender?
If the charge carries the possibility of jail time, you can apply for a public defender when you make your first appearance in court. You will need to fill out a qualification form to determine if you are eligible. Be sure to be on time for your court appearance -- the public defender announcement is made and application forms are provided at the beginning of the court session.

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What happens if I miss my court appearance?
There are several things that may happen.

  • An arrest warrant can be ordered
  • You may lose any bail or bond that you posted
  • The charge may be certified to your driving record
  • Your License to drive a motor vehicle may be suspended.

Can I reschedule a court appearance?
If there is a reason you can't appear at your scheduled court hearing you must either:
Contact your attorney if you have one and ask him or her to help you.
Contact the court at (651) 266-1999 if you don't have an attorney. You must contact the court as soon as you know you can't appear. Depending on the circumstances, a continuance may or may not be granted. There are specific policies about how far in advance you make the request and/or providing proof that you can't appear. The decision may be referred to the prosecutor or to the presiding judge.

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What happens when I go to court?
Typically, your case is called and you will appear before the judge. Because several cases are scheduled, the court session could last half a day (morning or afternoon). It's important to be on time. In some court sessions you or your attorney may have an opportunity to speak with the prosecutor before court begins.

What kind of sentence will I receive?
It depends on the level of conviction.

  • Petty Misdemeanor: Maximum fine of $300.00 (no possibility of jail time).
  • Misdemeanor: Maximum of 90 days in the workhouse and/or $1000.00 fine.
  • Gross Misdemeanor: Maximum of 1 year in the workhouse and/or $3000.00 fine.
  • Felony: Minimum of 1 year and 1 day in prison.

These are only the maximum (for Felony, minimum) sentences and not necessarily the sentence that will be imposed in your case.

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Your Driving Record and Withdrawal of Your License

If I pay the fine, will the offense go on my driving record?
Yes, provided it is a certifiable offense. Certifiable offenses include, but are not limited to: driving after suspension, insurance violations, speeding, defective equipment, improper turns or lane use, and careless driving. Non-certifiable offenses are generally offenses that don't pertain to driving behavior. Examples of non-certifiable offenses are parking tickets, most license plate violations, and passenger in possession of an open bottle. Payment of a fine is considered a plea of guilty.

Why is my Driver's License suspended?
There may be many reasons your Driver's License is suspended. It may even be revoked or cancelled. The reason for this can be non-payment of fines, too many violations within a given time period, or for conviction of a serious driving offense. Ultimate control over your driving privileges rests not with the court, but with the Driver and Vehicle Services office of the Department of Public Safety. If you have questions about your license or about a suspension, call the Driver and Vehicle Services office:

  • General Information: (651) 296-6911.
  • Regarding specific Driver's License Suspensions: (651) 296-2221

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Will my Driver's License be reinstated as soon as I pay my fine?
No. Proof of payment must reach the office of Driver and Vehicle Services and they must update their database. You aren't reinstated until Driver and Vehicle Services tells you that you are. You can speed up the process by hand-delivering the proof, but don't drive from the court office to the DVS office.

Additionally, if there are other reasons your license has been withdrawn, you must comply with ALL of the requirements set down by Driver and Vehicle Services before your license is reinstated.
 

Towing

I think my car was towed. What do I do?
If your vehicle was towed, it would be taken to an impound lot. Call the impound lot to verify that your vehicle is there and for information on how to retrieve it.
If your vehicle was towed as a result of a City of St. Paul snow emergency, check the Ticket, Towing, and Storage Fees page on the City of St. Paul web site for information on where it was towed and what to do.

  • If your vehicle was towed from any location in St. Paul for any situation other than a Snow Emergency, call (651) 266-5642.
  • If you were ticketed and towed in any other city in Ramsey County for any reason, you must contact the police agency for that city to find out where the car was taken. (Note: The Minnesota State Patrol may tow from any location and must be contacted separately.)

Be prepared to tell them your vehicle license plate number.

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Why was my car towed?
There are several reasons a car can be towed. Among them:

  • Your vehicle was on the scofflaw list.
  • You were parked on a snow emergency route during a snow emergency.
  • You were parked on private property.
  • Your vehicle was blocking traffic.


What is a scofflaw?
A scofflaw is a vehicle that has five or more tickets that have gone unanswered in the time allowed. Information about these vehicles is shared with Law Enforcement agencies.

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What happens if my vehicle is considered a scofflaw?
Your vehicle may be towed and impounded until you pay the towing fee, impound fee, and the unpaid tickets. Keep in mind that vehicles with out-of-state plates can be on the scofflaw list and can be towed.