If You Get A Ticket In Minnesota
If you get a ticket in Minnesota, any out-of-state tickets and traffic offenses may be used in judgments against you. Additionally, Minnesota does not distinguish between serious traffic violations occurring in private vehicles and commercial vehicles, so commercial drivers should be aware that any points or suspensions on their private license may also be applied to their commercial license.
If you receive a ticket in your commercial vehicle, you have 20 days to decide if you want to pay the ticket or request a hearing. It’s important to note that when you pay for a ticket, you are essentially admitting guilt – and the conviction will be applied to your driving record. As a commercial driver, protecting your driving record is one of the most important things you can do for your career, so speak with a legal professional who has experience in truck driving law before you pay any ticket. Many times, the impact on your record and driving career can be reduced.
If your CDL was issued in Minnesota and you get a ticket in either your commercial OR personal vehicle, whether you pay it or decide to request a hearing, you must notify your employer within 30 days.
In general, the impact on your driving record depends on the violation. Common traffic violations have less impact and result in fewer points on your record than offenses that are classified as serious or major, but any conviction – small or large – can affect your future as a commercial vehicle driver, so it’s important to consult a legal professional who can advise you of your options and help you keep your driving record in good standing.
In addition to routine traffic violations, there are regulations specific to commercial vehicle drivers in Minnesota and violations of these regulations can also result in a ticket.
These common violations include:
- Hours of Service violations
- Logbook errors
- Failure to complete pre-trip and post-trip inspections
- Operating a commercial vehicle that has been inadequately maintained
- Failure to complete required vehicle inspections on time
- Illegal parking, such as in no-parking zones or parking in a manner that blocks traffic
There are certain commercial driving offenses classified as serious by the state of Minnesota, and these offenses are subject to more severe fines and penalties. Law in Minnesota states that drivers who commit two serious traffic violations in a CMV within a three-year period will lose their CDL for at least 60 days. Three serious traffic violations within a three-year period will result in a 120-day license suspension. During this time, you will be under the restrictions of a temporary out-of-service (OSO) order.
Serious violations in Minnesota include:
- Speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit
- Reckless driving
- Erratic lane changes
- Following too closely
- Any traffic violation involving a fatality
- Driving a CMV without a CDL, without your CDL in your possession, or without the proper endorsements
If you receive an OSO as a result of your violation and choose to drive your commercial vehicle during the OSO, you will receive an additional license revocation. The duration of that revocation will be determined based on prior violations you’ve received in the past 10 years. In general, the state of Minnesota follows these guidelines of OSO violations:
- First offense: 90-day license disqualification (180 days if in a hazmat or passenger vehicle), plus a fine up to $3,174
- Second offense: One-year license disqualification (three years if in a hazmat or passenger vehicle), plus a fine up to $6,348
- Third or subsequent offense: Three-year license disqualification
Railroad crossing violations in a commercial vehicle also carry strict penalties and fines in Minnesota. Failure to slow down or stop for all railroad crossings will result in 60-day, 120-day, and one-year disqualifications for a first, second and third offense within three years.
Commercial driving offenses classified as major by the state of Minnesota are subject to the highest penalties, fines and number of points added to your driving record. Even if it is your first offense, you will receive a one-year license disqualification for any violation classified as major. If you are driving a CMV transporting hazardous materials, your license disqualification will be three years. Major offenses in Minnesota include:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI). In Minnesota, anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher is considered over the legal limit.
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Using a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony
- Driving while your CDL is revoked
- Negligence that leads to a fatality
- Refusing a chemical test or driving while intoxicated in either your personal or commercial vehicle
Drivers who commit a second major offense in Minnesota will receive a lifetime revocation, with the option to request a reinstatement after 10 years.
Any driver who uses a commercial vehicle to distribute a controlled substance or engage in human trafficking activities will receive a lifetime revocation with no option to request reinstatement.
The state of Minnesota enforces strict policies regarding the use of hand-held mobile devices. Commercial vehicle drivers are restricted from holding a mobile device to talk or dialing more than a single button on a mobile device. Drivers may use hands-free earpieces or speakerphone connections. Specific guidelines on the use of a mobile devices within a commercial vehicle are outlined in the Minnesota CDL manual, so be sure you are aware of what constitutes the legal use of a mobile device in your commercial vehicle. Any driver who receives two or more convictions for the violation of hand-held mobile device laws will receive a license disqualification. If the second offense occurs within 3 years, the disqualification period will be 60 days. If three or more offenses are committed within 3 years, the disqualification period will be 120 days. You could also be subject to fines of up to $2,750.
There are many laws and regulations that can affect your CDL and your driving record in the state of Minnesota. Always be sure to take every step you can to protect your record, even with minor offenses. Let an experienced legal professional who is knowledgeable on trucking law in Minnesota help you prevent unnecessary points and negative impact on your driving record.