2nd District  

 

Judicial Branch Home > 2nd Home > Criminal & Traffic Division >

Criminal Division

Main Office
15 W Kellogg Blvd Room 900
St Paul, MN 55102
651-266-8180
map/directions
Law Enforcement Center
425 Grove St
St Paul MN 55101
651-266-8180
map/directions
Suburban Court
2050 White Bear Ave
Maplewood MN 55109
651-266-1999
map/directions

 

Scheduling a
Court Date

When is my court date?
Can my court date be continued to another day?
What happens if I miss my court date?
How am I notified of my court date?

Legal
Representation
Can I get a Public Defender?
How do I apply for a Public Defender? 
How do I contact my Public Defender?
If I don't want or qualify for a Public Defender, how do I find an attorney?
Am I allowed to represent myself?
Appearing
in Court

Why do I have to go to court instead of just paying a fine?
What happens when I go to court?
What kind of sentence will I receive?

Witnesses and
Subpoenas

I want to call in a witness to testify.  How do I get a subpoena?
How do I serve a subpoena?
What do I do if I've been served with a subpoena?
I'm a witness; am I allowed to attend the trial and the hearings?

Paying Fines

How do I pay a fine?
Where can I go to pay a fine in person?
What will happen if I don't pay the fine?
Can I pay online?
What should I do if I can't pay the fine before the due date?

Warrants
and Bail

Why do I have a warrant for my arrest?
What should I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?
Can I post bail for my warrant?
What's the difference between bail and bond?
Where can I get a bond?
When do I get my bail back?
If I post bail for someone else, how do I make sure it is returned to me?

Other Questions

How do I contact my Probation Officer?
Where do I turn myself in to serve my sentence?
How do I get a No Contact Order dropped?

Questions on a broader range of topics
Return to the Main FAQ page

Criminal Fee Schedule


Scheduling a Court Date

When is my court date?

Call our main office at the number above for the information. 

Can my court date be continued to another day?

It will depend on the seriousness of the case, who is prosecuting it, and whether you've had continuances in the past.  If you have an attorney, ask them to make the request.  Otherwise, call the court at the number above for instructions. 

Back to top of page

What happens if I miss my court date?

If you miss a court appearance, a warrant for your arrest may be ordered.  For traffic offenses, the judge may order a warrant, suspension of your driver's license, and/or certification of the offense to your record.  You may also lose any bail or bond you have posted.  If you have already failed to appear, call the court at the number above to find out what happened.

How am I notified of my court date?

The most common notification method is to give you the notice at the end of the previous hearing.  If it's necessary to notify you of a first appearance or a change in a court date from a previously scheduled time, you will receive a notice in the mail. To avoid missing an appearance, keep the court informed of your correct mailing address. 

Note: in certain circumstances, a complaint will be filed as an arrest warrant and no court date will be mailed. In such a case, you will need to turn yourself in.  See the Warrants section on this page for more information. 

Back to top of page


Legal Representation

Can I get a Public Defender?

You can apply for a public defender and, if you qualify, one will be appointed to represent you.

How do I apply for a Public Defender?

Apply when you make your first appearance in court. You will need to fill out an application form to determine if you are eligible. Be sure to be on time for your court appearance -- the public defender announcement is made and application forms are provided at the beginning of the court session.

Back to top of page

How do I contact my Public Defender?

If a Public Defender has already been appointed to represent you, visit the Public Defender website or call them directly at 651-757-1600

If I don't want or qualify for a Public Defender, how do I find an attorney?

Visit the Find a Lawyer page of the State Self Help Center for attorney referral or low-cost attorney services such as Criminal Defense Services, Inc. or the Neighborhood Justice Center.

Back to top of page

Am I allowed to represent myself?

Yes, but keep in mind that you will be expected to follow all the rules of law and court procedure that an attorney would follow.  Criminal charges are serious matters that may result in jail time.  Consider carefully whether you want to represent yourself.

For more information, visit the Representing Yourself in Court page of the State Self-Help Center.


Appearing in Court

Why do I have to go to court instead of just paying a fine?

State statutes dictate which violations are payable and which ones require a court appearance.

Back to top of page

What happens when I go to court?

Typically, your case is called and you will appear before the judge.  Because several cases are scheduled, the court session could last half a day (morning or afternoon).  It's important to be on time.  In some court sessions you or your attorney may have an opportunity to speak with the prosecutor before court begins.

What kind of sentence will I receive?

It depends on the level of conviction.

  • Petty Misdemeanor: Maximum fine of $300.00 (no possibility of jail time).
  • Misdemeanor: Maximum of 90 days in the workhouse and/or $1000.00 fine.
  • Gross Misdemeanor: Maximum of 1 year in the workhouse and/or $3000.00 fine.
  • Felony: Minimum of 1 year and 1 day in prison.

These are only the maximum (for Felony, minimum) sentences and not necessarily the sentence that will be imposed in your case.

Back to top of page


Witnesses and Subpoenas

I want to call in a witness to testify. How do I get a subpoena?

If you have an attorney, have the attorney do it.  If you are representing yourself, go to Room 900 of the City Hall/Courthouse and fill out an Order Granting Subpoena(s).  You'll be given instructions to take the order to a judge who will review the request and decide if it's appropriate.  If approved, the judge will sign the order, which you must bring back to Room 900 to receive the subpoenas.  Do not use online subpoena forms without first getting this order signed. 

How do I serve a subpoena?

A disinterested third party must serve the supbpoena and sign and notarize the affidavit of service.  There are professional process servers, including the Ramsey County Sheriff, who will serve for a fee.  Anyone who has no stake in the outcome of the case can do it, but keep in mind that an improperly-served subpoena may be ruled invalid.

Back to top of page

What do I do if I've been served with a subpoena?

Follow the instructions on the subpoena.  You must appear on the date, time, and location specified, bring any documents named in the subpoena, and be prepared to tesitfy under oath. 

I'm a witness—am I allowed to attend the hearings and trial?

It depends.  If you are an interested party who hasn't been subpoena'd, and if the trial/hearing is not closed to the public, you may attend.  If you have been subpoena'd to testify, there may be restrictions.  You should contact the party who issued the subpoena.  If there is a No Contact Order in effect, all of the terms of the Order still apply.

Back to top of page


Paying Fines

How do I pay a fine?

Pay in person at one of the three locations listed above or mail your payment  to: Violations Bureau, 15 W. Kellogg Boulevard Room 130, St. Paul MN  55102.  Include your case number.

Where can I go to pay a fine in person?

To one of our three locations:

City Hall/Courthouse The St. Paul City Hall Courthouse
15 W Kellogg Blvd, Room 130
 map/directions
Law Enforcement Center Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center
425 Grove St
map/directions
(Payment location only; no Hearing Officers available)
Suburban Courthouse The Suburban Branch Office in Maplewood
2050 White Bear Ave
map/directions

Back to top of page

What will happen if I don't pay the fine?

The debt is referred to a collection agency and/or your driver's licence will be suspended.  If you have failed to pay a fine, call 651-266-8180 to find out what happened and what you need to do.

Back to top of page

Can I pay online?

No.  Only offenses that don't require court can be paid online. 

What should I do if I can't pay the fine before the due date?

Call 651-266-9202 and set up an appointment to speak to someone about getting an extension.

Back to top of page


Warrants and Bail

Why do I have a warrant for my arrest?

There are several reasons why a warrant can be issued. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Failure to appear at a court hearing
  • Violation of the terms of a sentence you received
  • Failure to pay a fine
  • A warrant was filed with the court as part of a criminal complaint

Contact the main office at the number above for specific information.

What should I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?

Turn yourself in at the Law Enforcement Center, 425 Grove Street in St. Paul.  Go to the Jail Entrance (open 24 hours) before 5:00 am if you wish to be heard the same day. You will be taken into custody, booked, and fingerprinted. 

Back to top of page

Can I post bail for my warrant?

It depends on the warrant. 

  • If your warrant allows for your release upon arrest, you may be released.
  • If your warrant allows for your release upon posting bail, you can post bail or bond and be released. 
  • If your warrant does not allow for release or if you are unable to post the set amount, you will be held in custudy until your hearing.

For information on the amount of your bail, visit the Arrest Warrant Search page of the Ramsey County web site or call the Warrant Office at 651-266-9320

What's the difference between bail and bond?

Bail is cash you post as a guarantee of your future appearances. Once the case is closed, your bail is either refunded to you or applied to any money owed.

Bond is a guarantee of your appearance offered by a bonding company. The bond is purchased by you or on your behalf from a bonding company and is not refunded or applied to any money owed.

Important: If you fail to appear for any scheduled hearing, you risk losing the entire bail or bond.  The court may order that it be forfeited. If your bond is forfeited, the bondsman might keep any cash or property that you put up as a guarantee of your appearance.

Back to top of page

Where can I get a bond?

Visit the Bonding Agents in Minnesota page of the Judicial Branch website to find a bonding agent.  The court isn't allowed to recommend  any particular bonding company. 

When do I get my bail back?

Once the case is closed, your bail is either refunded to you or applied to any money owed.

Back to top of page

If I post bail for someone else, how do I make sure it is returned to me?

By law, bail is the property of the defendant. Before sentencing, contact the judge and ask that the refund check be made out to you.  To contact the judge, call the court at 651-266-8180 for the name and phone number.  Be aware that bail may be applied to fines, fees, and restitution. 


Other Questions

How do I contact my Probation Officer?

Call the Probation Office at 651-266-2300

Back to top of page

Where do I turn myself in to serve my sentence?

Report to the Ramsey County Correctional Facility (workhouse) at 297 South Century Avenue, Maplewood MN

How do I get a No Contact Order dropped?

A Judge must sign a Cancellation of No Contact Order.  Call the main office at the number above for instructions. 

Back to top of page


eFile logoNotice to Attorneys and Government Agencies:

EFiling and eService in Ramsey District Court (Second Judicial District) will expand to the Criminal and Traffic Division on February 25th, 2013.  This change means that documents filed as part of Criminal & Traffic Division cases will be filed electronically with the following exceptions: original complaints and citations, documents filed by individuals representing themselves, and payable offenses not referred to a judge. The Second Judicial District, as part of its mission, is dedicated to making this transition as smooth and efficient as possible.  We encourage you to learn more on our web site.  The eFile Home Page offers several support options during regular business hours as well as guides and links to other resources around the clock. For more complete information about this change, visit our efile Home Page at http://www.mncourts.gov/district/2/efile.


 

Our Mission

The Criminal Division handles all criminal charges brought against individuals by the County Attorney or City Prosecutors.  It also handles serious traffic offenses that require a court appearance, such as driving while intoxicated.

Getting Information about a Case

Criminal case records are kept on the 9th floor of the City Hall/County Courthouse. If you would like to inquire about the disposition of a criminal case, call (651) 266-8180. You must know either the case number or the defendant's name and the date of the offense.

If you are inquiring about a suburban, non-felony offense, you may wish to call the Maplewood Branch at (651) 266-1999.

If you are calling about several different cases or if you want a complete record of offenses for an individual, you must come to one of the offices listed above and query the computer records on your own. Computers are set up with access to this information and instructions on how to use the computers are available.

If You Must Appear in Court

If you are charged with an offense where a court appearance is mandatory, you will personally receive a Summons or it will be mailed to you. A Summons is an order to go to court. The Summons will include the time and location of your court appearance. If you contact the court for information or assistance, the clerk will need information from that Summons, so have it with you if you call, and bring it when you come to court. In court, you will be asked to plead Guilty or Not Guilty. If you plead Guilty, you may be sentenced and be immediately expected to pay any fine or fees involved. If your case is complex, the judge may order an investigation prior to sentencing you. This is known as a Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI). If this is ordered, you will need to follow the instructions you receive and reappear later for sentencing.

Pleading Not Guilty to a Court-Required Offense

If you plead Not Guilty, a second appearance date will be scheduled. If the next appearance is a Hearing, then you, the judge, the prosecutor, and your attorney (if you have one) will meet to discuss legal issues and the merits of the case. If the matter cannot be resolved at that time, a trial will be scheduled. In some cases, you can skip the Hearing by waiving certain rights you have.

Your 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 without cost. This attorney is called a Public Defender. You need to fill out an application to have one appointed to your case. At your first appearance, just before court starts, there is an announcement regarding this. The clerk will ask those people who would like to apply to come forward. If you intend to apply, make sure you are in court on time to hear the announcement. If you are late, you must make this request immediately.

If you don't qualify for a Public Defender, but don't feel you can afford a private attorney, there is a local non-profit organization called Criminal Defense Services, Inc. They provide low-cost legal representation on a sliding scale based on your ability to pay. For more information, call (651) 215-0668 or click on the link above.

Please remember that the role of Administration staff is strictly to keep a record. Clerks and other administrators have no say in the outcome of any case. It is up to judges and juries to rule and up to the prosecutors to decide when to bring charges and when to drop them.

Contesting a Payable Ticket

There are two forums for contesting a ticket that is not court-mandatory. If you choose, you may have a trial, but a trial is only appropriate if you deny committing the offense you are charged with or if you feel that the State cannot prove you committed it.

Hearing Officers

There is a second, more convenient method available to those people who do not deny the offense outright. If you wish to explain certain circumstances about what happened and feel that this explanation should be taken into consideration when determining the amount of the fine or if there should be a fine, you may speak to a Hearing Officer, who has the authority to reduce a fine. They are available at the St Paul Courthouse or in Maplewood. To speak with a Hearing Officer, call our St. Paul office to set up an appointment.  Instructions and phone numbers are available on our FAQ page.  Bring your citation and a photo ID with you to your appointment. You should be aware that fine reduction does not assure that the offense will stay off of your driving record. Parking violations, however, never go on your driving record anyway.

In either case, you must speak with a Hearing Officer. If you want to have a trial, the Hearing Officer must determine the nature of your argument and what and when the next hearing should be. If a trial is appropriate, you will receive a notice as to when and where it will be. All trials involve witness testimony and argument by the Plaintiff and Defendant. Unless you qualify for and are appointed a Public Defender (at a separate court appearance), it will be up to you to hire your own attorney or represent yourself at the trial.

Paying a Fine / Inquiring on the Amount Owed

You can pay a fine in several different ways.

  1. Pay in person any of the three offices.
  2. Mail your payment in the envelope that comes with the ticket. Don't mail cash.
  3. Pay by telephone with a credit card. Call (651) 266-9202. An automated attendant will take you through the necessary steps. Make sure you have your ticket and your credit card ready when you are asked to key in (on your telephone) your ticket number and credit card number. (For most serious offenses, there is no ticket number, so paying by telephone would not be an option.) The automated attendant can tell you the amount of your fine, the day it is due, and even give you directions to the office. You can use it anytime you have these questions.
  4. Pay on-line with a check or credit card.
    mouse
    Pay Fines Online


By state law, all fines on court-required offenses are due upon sentencing. This means that, as soon as the judge hands down a sentence in your case, you will be expected to pay any fine in full before you leave the courthouse. If you cannot, you will have to speak with a Hearing Officer. You may be asked to sign an agreement to pay the fine at a later date. The agreement will include specific instructions for payment and the consequences of non-payment. If you don''''t follow these directions, you may be re-sentenced by the judge who originally sentenced you, or your debt may be referred to a collection agency. It might even be subtracted from your tax refund.

Remember that paying a fine amounts to a plea of guilty to the charge. After you pay a fine, you cannot return to the court and demand a trial.

Domestic Violence Cases

The Court has established a committee to establish guidelines for the prosecution of such cases.  If you would like more information about their conclusions, consult the Guidelines and Procedures for Domestic Abuse-Related Criminal Cases.

The Department of Public Safety offers support and resources for victims of crime on their Crime Victim Support page.