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Hearing Office FAQs
Q: I have an appointment to meet with a Hearing Officer but now I cannot make it. What can I do?
If you call (612)348-2040 at least one business day before the appointment, you may request a "continuance" to reschedule the appointment. We cannot grant same-day continuances for Hearing Officer appointments. If you cannot appear for your scheduled appointment, you must go to our downtown location for a "walk-in" appearance.
Q: What happens if I fail to show up for an appointment with the Hearing Officer?
Due to high demand for Hearing Officer appointments, if you miss your scheduled appointment, you will have to meet with Hearing Officer on a walk-in basis at the Hennepin County Government Center location in downtown Minneapolis. The citation will remain "open" until a hearing is held and action is taken. This could result in the suspension of your driver's license by DVS or the amount owed being sent to collection.
Q: Can I appeal a decision made by a Hearing Officer?
The decision of a Hearing Officer is usually the result of the discussion with the defendant about the citation and the possible options to settle it. If you do not like the decision, you may ask that the citation be set for court, unless you waived your right to a court hearing under MN Statutes § 169.91. That statute says that if you fail to appear for a petty misdemeanor within 30 days, you have waived your right to court and plead guilty to the charge.
Q: What happens if I fail to respond to a citation?
If you fail to respond to a citation, additional fees will be added and the unpaid citation may result in the suspension of your driver's license by DVS or the amount owed being sent to collection. You have 30 days to respond to a citation from the date it was entered into court's record system. After 30 days, a $5 fee is added. After an additional 21 days, a "delinquency fee" of $25 is added. If the citation is for a traffic violation, it may result in suspension of your driver’s license. Other unpaid citations are sent to collection. See Late Fees & Collection.
NOTE: Failure to pay five (5) or more traffic or parking citations may result in impoundment of your vehicle until the fines are paid.
Q: What happens if I fail to show up for a "court required" hearing?
Failure to appear at a court hearing will result either in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest or if the case is a petty misdemeanor, the hearing may be held in your absence and you may be found guilty and sentenced. This could result in the suspension of your driver's license by DVS or the amount owed being sent to collection.
Q: Why are fines so expensive?
The basic fines for offenses in Hennepin County are set by the Hennepin County Judges, in most cases, along with statewide practices. In addition, all citations have surcharges added which are set by the Minnesota Legislature. The surcharge on parking tickets is currently $12. All other citations currently have a $75 surcharge to the state and a $3 Law Library Fee. The surcharge is added to the fine for the total amount payable on the citation.
Example: The fine for speeding is $67 (fine) + $75 (surcharge) + $3 (law library fee) = $145 Total
Q: How much are court fines?
The fines in court are set by the judge. For a petty misdemeanor the fine may be $0 – $300. For a misdemeanor the sentence may be a fine of $50 - $1000 and/or 0 – 90 days in jail. The surcharge of $75 and Law Library Fee of $3 are added to court fines. See Fine Amounts.
Q: What if I just want to pay a fine?
You may do so, but understand that paying a fine is a "plea of guilty" and certain offenses are certified to your "driving record" at the MN Dept. of Public Safety. See Fine Payment Options. (Parking citations are never certified to any driving record.)
Q: I paid a fine but I want the case re-opened. How can I do this?
You must file a Motion to Withdraw a Plea of Guilty with the court.
Q: What if my violation is a misdemeanor?
Most misdemeanor violation are "payable" (not required to go to the Hearing Office or court), but to learn all of your options and the consequences for the violation(s), you should meet with a Hearing Officer.
Q: What happens if I was stopped while driving without insurance?
If you are stopped by a police officer and do not have insurance, you will be ticketed and charged with a misdemeanor (involving a fine plus a surcharge), and your car may be impounded. If you pay a fine or are found guilty of the offense in court, your driver’s license will be revoked for 30-365 days. You may meet a Hearing Officer to discuss your options.
Q: What happens if I was stopped while driving without a driver’s license?
If you are stopped and you have no driver’s license, or you have a driver’s license which is suspended, revoked or cancelled, you will be given a citation which is a "payable" ticket, and your car may be impounded. All of these offenses have adverse affects on your "driving record" at the MN Dept. of Public Safety. You may see a Hearing Officer to discuss your options to settle this kind of citation.
Q: What if I don’t have the money to pay a fine?
You may meet with a Hearing Officer to find out what payment options you may have. It is best to see a Hearing Officer as soon as possible because if you wait until the citation is delinquent, your options will be very limited. The Hearing Officer may be able to refer you to do community work service (STS) or take a driving class to pay the fine, depending on your case.
Q: What can I do if my driver’s license is suspended or revoked and I need to drive to work?
If your license is suspended for non-payment of fines, you must settle the fines to get your license back. If it is suspended or revoked for other reasons, contact the Dept. of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services to see if you are eligible for a limited license to drive to work. Please call (651)296-2025 with driver's license questions.
Q: What if I find out that I have tickets on a vehicle that I don’t own anymore?
You need to get the vehicle title transferred to the buyer. You should have the buyer file the title documents, if possible. If you cannot find the buyer or the title documents, you will need to contact the Dept. of Public Safety to learn what your options are for transferring title into the buyer's name. You will need the buyer’s name and address and the date of sale. Once the title is transferred, bring a copy of that title filing paperwork to the court and we can remove your name from the citations issued on the vehicle after the transfer date.
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