Receiving a traffic ticket from a police officer could rattle you. You might fear the consequences for not paying your ticket, so you go ahead and pay the fine just to get it out of the way. However, as a Minnesota resident you have options to deal with a ticket so that you reduce your fine or eliminate it completely.
How you decide to contest a ticket will depend upon the circumstances of your case. The Minnesota Judicial Branch website explains the different options available to residents of Hennepin County.
You may negotiate your fine
If you have a ticket, you could talk to a hearing officer to find out what options you have. If you have no prior history of traffic violations and your offense is minor enough, the officer may offer you a continuance for dismissal, meaning the court may defer prosecution until you meet a set of conditions, at which time the court will dismiss your case.
There are other options. The officer may offer to reduce your fine or you may be able to pay the fine in staggered amounts over a period of time. If the fine proves to be too burdensome, you may negotiate to perform community work service that will pay off the fine.
You may have legal representation
Some traffic offenses seem so minor that you may wonder if you can have an attorney to assist you. While retaining legal representation is not required if you go to court to contest your traffic ticket, hiring a lawyer is still an option. No matter how small your offense may seem, you have the right to hire an attorney for representation and legal advice.
You may withdraw a guilty plea
If you pay a fine, it means you automatically plead guilty. However, you may decide later that you made a mistake and should have fought the ticket or negotiated for a lower fine. If so, the law allows you to withdraw your guilty plea by filing a Motion to Withdraw a Plea of Guilty. Once you have filed your motion, you will receive a date to appear in court in a hearing where you present your case.