The Washington County Violations Bureau is responsible for processing cases that are payable and/or do not require a court appearance. Offenses that require a court appearance are handled by the Criminal Division. Defendants who receive payable citations can either pay the ticket (which constitutes a plea of guilty to all offenses) or see a hearing officer to negotiate a settlement of the case.
Convenient Traffic Ticket Resolution Service
The following is a description of the Hearing Officer Program. The Washington County Violations Bureau provides the opportunity to meet with a hearing officer at either the Stillwater Courthouse or the Washington County Service Center - Cottage Grove to attempt resolution of petty misdemeanor and payable misdemeanor cases.
Hearing officers are available to review payable ticket offenses including parking, traffic, and some misdemeanors. Moving violations, driver's license suspensions, vehicle registration, and insurance violations are a few examples of cases which may be conveniently resolved with a hearing officer in lieu of a court appearance. Settlement options can include reducing the fine, keeping the offense off of the driver's record or, in some cases, dismissing the citation.
The Violations Bureau will not handle matters requiring a court appearance, such as hit and run, underage drink and drive, driving while impaired (DWI) and theft charges.
Defendants have the right to a court hearing with a judge if a settlement cannot be reached with a hearing officer. The service is offered at two locations:
Hearings by Mail
Defendants living 50+ miles from the Washington County Courthouse are allowed "hearings by mail" to resolve payable citations. In lieu of a personal appearance, the defendant should prepare a letter, fax or email directed to Hearing Officer Mail which must include the following:
- An explanation of the circumstances surrounding the offense
- A contact phone number (hearing officer may have questions)
- A copy of driver's license
- A copy of citation
- A copy of an internet mapping verifying residence is at least 70 miles from the Washington County Courthouse
- If mailed: Hearing Officer Mail, 14949 62nd St. N., P.O. Box 3802, Stillwater, MN 55082
- If faxed: (651) 430-6300 to ATTN: Hearing Officer Mail
- If emailed: 10thWashingtonHearingOffice@courts.state.mn.us with the subject heading Hearing Officer Mail
A hearing officer will review the above and, if approved, a response outlining options and appropriate court document(s) will be sent to the defendant for signature. The defendant will then sign, have his/her signature notarized, and return the completed document(s) to the hearing officer with a check/money order, if required.
For questions regarding this procedure, call (651) 430-6279.
Traffic Ticket Options in Washington County
Every citation is either payable or requires a court appearance (call (651) 430-6279 to determine status). If it is payable
, you need to choose one of the following two options within 30 days of the date of your offense
Payable Option 1: Pay the fine in full.
Any payment is:
- A plea of guilty to all offenses charged on the citation.
- An admission that you understand and voluntarily waive the following rights to:
- a trial to the court or jury;
- be represented by counsel;
- be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt;
- confront and cross-examine all witnesses against you;
- either remain silent or to testify on your own behalf;
- subpoena witnesses.
Have your citation number available.
- Online: MasterCard or Visa
- Phone: MasterCard or Visa: (651) 281-3219 or (800) 657-3611
- Mail: Check or money order payable to Court Administration
Minnesota Court Payment Center
P.O. Box 898
Willmar, MN 56201
For more infomation about court debts that have gone to collections, visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue website.
Notice of Surcharge:
Per Minnesota Statute 357.021 Subd. 6, a state surcharge must be imposed on fines. Parking offenses $12, all other criminal and traffic $75.
A charge of $30 will be assessed to all returned checks.
Issuance of a worthless check to the court is a crime (MS 609.113 subd 2).
Payable Option 2: See a Hearing Officer at the Violations Bureau
Appear in person, with photo ID and your citation, to attempt a settlement on your payable offense (settlement options may include reducing the fine, keeping the offense off of the driver's record or, in some cases, dismissing the charge). If an agreement cannot be reached a court date may be scheduled. Hours/locations are as follows:
Washington County Government Center
14949 62nd Street North
Stillwater, MN 55082
Walk-in service (no appointments) Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Washington County Service Center - Cottage Grove
13000 Ravine Parkway South
Cottage Grove, MN 55016
By appointment only: (651) 430-6279
Learn more from the Hearing Officer Program Brochure.
No Insurance/No Proof of Insurance:
As of July 1, 2009, insurance charges became payable. However, if you provide a copy of your insurance card or policy which indicates that you had insurance for the vehicle you were driving at the time of the offense - and you provide this proof within 30 days of the date of offense - the charge will be administratively dismissed. The card or policy must show beginning and ending dates of coverage, and cannot be a bill or statement. It may be mailed, brought in person, or faxed. If you did not have or are unable to provide proof of insurance, the charge remains payable; however be aware that a conviction on an insurance charge is subject to ramifications from the Department of Public Safety. Contact the Department of Public Safety at (651) 296-6911 for more information.
Failure to Appear Notice:
Failure to pay the fine, see a hearing officer and/or appear in court if required will result in additional penalties including: issuance of a warrant, driver license suspense, entry of guilty plea and/or referral to collections. MS 169.92
If your citation requires a court appearance:
- A Notice with your court date will be mailed to you at the address noted on your citation.
- If you have questions regarding your court appearance, call (651) 430-6279.
Examples of court-required charges:
Hit and Run; Underage Drink and Drive; Theft; charges involving an accident or endangering life or property (will be indicated on citation).
Your first appearance in court: A first appearance is where you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, a pretrial or court trial is scheduled. If you enter a plea of guilty, you will be sentenced at that time. The court encourages you to resolve the matter at the first appearance, when the city or county attorney is present to discuss the facts of the case. There is also a public defender present for consultation on misdemeanor cases if you qualify for the services. In addition, the Washington County Criminal Defense Panel Program offers representation on cases at misdemeanor level or higher - call (651) 748-9373 for more information.
- This is a large volume court hearing, and you can expect to be at the court for several hours.
- If you are assessed a fine, you are expected to pay it before leaving or arrange a payment plan.
- If the charge is alcohol- or assault-related, you may be required to be assessed by the Corrections Department.
You have a 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. This attorney is called a Public Defender. Public defenders are present at the courthouse and will assist you if you apply for and are granted one. You may request the Application Form when you check in for court, complete the form while waiting, and submit it to the Clerk prior to the start of court, or the Judge when your case is called. You will be assessed a co-pay of $75.00 if you qualify for the services.
Failure to Appear Notice: If you fail to pay your fine or appear for the court date, additional penalties may be added. Extended delays may cause a warrant to be issued for your arrest or suspension of your driver's license.
Petty Misdemeanor Offenders: Failure to appear in court on a charge that is a petty misdemeanor is considered a plea of guilty and waiver of the right to trial, unless the person appears in court within 10 days and shows that the failure to appear was beyond the person's control. The offender may be subject to a fine up to $300 and have their driver's license suspended (if the offense is a moving violation) until payment of the fine. M.S. § 171.16, subd. 3.
Misdemeanor offenders: A person charged with a misdemeanor who intentionally fails to appear in court for trial on the charge after having been notified that a failure to appear for court appearance is a criminal offense is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 90 days or payment of a fine of not more than $1000, or both. M.S. § 609.49, subdivision 2.
All fines are due on the day they are imposed in court.
If you need reasonable accommodations, an interpreter, or other assistance, call (651) 430-4422. If you cannot communicate by voice, phone our TTY number at (651) 430-6246.
How to Obtain a Valid Driver's License (English)
Como Obtenir una Licencia de Manejo Valida (Spanish)
Driver and Vehicle Services Website
DPS Driver's License Reinstatement Information