Monday, January 6, 2014

Keeping Your Traffic Record Clean (Explained)

A clean Driver's Record is a valuable thing.  At a minimum, It can make the difference between police officer discretion breaking your way, or against you.  It can also save you money when it comes to motor vehicle insurance.  How can you keep your record clean?  Talk to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.


In the State of Minnesota, there are many ways to keep a citation off of your driving reocrd.  Here are just a few.

Continuance for Dismissal.  The prosecutor can agree to continue the a ticket (like speeding, running a stop sign, etc.) for some period of time (like 12 months) on various terms and conditions.  Under this kind of agreement, at the end of the predetermined period, if all conditions have been met, the charge is dismissed by the court as agreed.  Here, no guilty plea is offered, no adjudication is made.  So, nothing is certified by court administration to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.  In general, these conditions include: payment of prosecution and court costs (instead of a fine), and no same or similar violations.  There are many local variations on the term used for this outcome, like: Agreement to Suspend Prosecution, Deferred Prosecution, Continuance Without a Plea.

Local or City Ordinance violation citation, instead of state statute.  Police officers have discretion to cite drivers with a violation of a local or city Ordinance instead of a Minnesota State Statute.  If they do, you should be able to pay the fine, and still benefit from it not going on your State of Minnesota Drivers License Record.  This is nice, but usually this is something the police officer can, in his or her discretion, decide to do for you.  It's unusual for prosecutors to do this, though it is no impossible.  

Stay of Adjudication.  Though less desirable than any of the above, a stay of adjudication will prevent the Court Administrator from certifying the traffic violation to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which means it won't go on the Minnesota Drivers License Record.  A stay of adjudication involves either a guilty plea, or a finding of guilty after a trial, but the judge staying (delaying) adjudication of guilt upon conditions, for some period of time.  If the person does not violate a condition, it never become an adjudicated violation or conviction, and so never gets on the DL record.  Typical conditions include payment of money to the court, and no same or similar violations.  In criminal cases, a judge will be reluctant to give a stay of adjudication without prosecutor approval (or finding an abuse of prosecutor discretion) but in petty misdemeanor traffic cases this may not apply.

You are going to get one chance to get this right.  If you have any questions, feel free to call the Rolloff Law Office.  I'm a former prosecutor - I know how to help you with these sorts of matters. Call today: (612) 234-1165 

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