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Meet with a Hearing Officer
You may talk with a Hearing Officer about your "payable" citation (ticket) if you believe that you are not guilty of the charge(s) or you cannot afford to pay the fine. A Hearing Officer can explain options you may have to settle the ticket other than paying the fine. Depending on the facts of your case and your violation history, some of the options they may be able to offer include:
- a reduced fine amount;
- a payment plan to pay the citation over time;
- doing community work service to pay off the fine; and
- a continuance for dismissal with payment of prosecution costs.
Approximately 85% of people who meet with a Hearing Officer reach an agreement, so they do not have to go to an in-court hearing. If a case does not settle with a Hearing Officer, a person has the right to ask for a court hearing. A person always has this right with misdemeanor offenses, however, if the offense is a petty misdemeanor, this right to a court hearing is waived if the defendant does not appear within 21 days as provided in MN Statutes § 169.91. The Hearing Officer may be able to schedule a court hearing for the case if you are not satisfied with the options that they offer you and the ticket is not delinquent.
How to Meet with a Hearing Officer
On a first come first served basis, you may meet with a Hearing Officer at the Hearing & Fines Office located on the street level of the Hennepin Co. Government Center in downtown Minneapolis. NOTE: Wait times can be an hour or longer, so please plan for this before you arrive.
Call (612)348-2040 to schedule an appointment to meet with a Hearing Officer. Appointments are available at several District Court locations. Appointments can also be made in person at the four locations listed on the right side of this page. *Free parking is available at our Suburban Court locations.
IMPORTANT: We do not grant same-day continuances (reschedule) of Hearing Officer appointments. If you cannot appear for your scheduled appointment, or you missed your appointment, you must go to the downtown location for a "walk-in" meeting.
What to Expect at the Hearing
The Hearing Officer (not a judge) will review the citation(s), defendant’s citation history, court history, driving record and other related information, and will listen to what the defendant has to say about the citation(s). The Hearing Officer will explain the consequences of the violation(s), including fines. NOTE: It is not possible to have a trial with evidence at this meeting because a trial can only take place in court with a judge.
The Hearing Officer will explain the guidelines for settling the citation(s) and will determine what options the defendant may have in his or her case. The defendant may ask questions about the options, but the Hearing Officer cannot give opinions or advice about the defendant’s decision. A plan is then made for the defendant to meet the terms of the settlement, and when all of the requirements are completed, the citation matter is settled.
How to Deal with a Traffic Ticket
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