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Traffic and Misdemeanor Court

The court administrator's office handles a variety of citations ranging from petty misdemeanor offenses which include minor parking and traffic violations to misdemeanor offenses including driving while intoxicated, theft and worthless check violations.

What are the maximum penalties for a petty misdemeanor and a misdemeanor?
A petty misdemeanor is punishable by up to a maximum fine of $300.00.  Because there is no possibility of jail time, a petty misdemeanor is not considered a crime.

A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a maximum of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

What to do if you receive a citation or traffic ticket- information about paying fines
Filing fees
What to do if you are required to appear in court or you wish to enter a plea of not guilty to the charges
Public Defenders
What to expect at a first appearance arraignment hearing
What to expect at a pretrial hearing for a misdemeanor case
What to expect at a court trial
What to expect at a jury trial
How do I obtain driving records?
State of Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services Information
How do I get my driver's license back after it has been suspended or revoked?
How to expunge a criminal/traffic case

What to do if you are required to appear in court or you wish to enter a plea of not guilty to the charges:
Come to the Kandiyohi County Courthouse on the date and time noted on your citation.  You will be required to complete a Statement of Rights form before your court appearance.  If you are charged with a misdemeanor(s) and cannot afford your own attorney and you wish to be represented by an attorney during court proceedings, you may complete an Affidavit for Public Defender form prior to your first appearance.  If you qualify for a public defender, one will be assigned to you.  (See Criminal section for information about court appearances)

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Public Defenders:
Public defenders are present at arraignment and pre-trial hearings for misdemeanor cases and you may apply for their services at any time.  It is best to apply at the arraignment hearing.  You may request the application form when you check in for court, complete the form while waiting, and submit it to the clerk prior to the start of court or to the judge when your case is called.  You must pay an assessment fee if you qualify for services, and the judge can order reimbursement for services based upon your financial status.  If a public defender represents you at the arraignment, another public defender may represent you at the pre-trial.  However, if you are appointed a public defender at the pre-trial, this same attorney will represent you at a trial.

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What to expect at a first appearance arraignment hearing:
You are asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty by the Court.  If you plead not guilty, a pre-trial hearing or a court-trial is scheduled.  If you enter a plea of guilty, you will be sentenced.  The court encourages you to resolve the matter at the first appearance.  A prosecutor is present at arraignments to discuss the facts of the case with you and to attempt a settlement.  There is also a public defender present for consultation on misdemeanor cases if you qualify for services.

  • If you are assessed a fine, you would be expected to pay it before leaving the courthouse, or to meet with court staff set up payments.
  • If the charge is alcohol related or assault, you may be required to undergo an assessment by the Corrections Department before you are sentenced by the court.
  • Many cases are scheduled at the same time for arraignment court.  You should expect to be at the court several hours.

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What to expect at a Pre-Trial Hearing for Misdemeanor Cases:
A pre-trial is the second appearance after you plead not guilty at the arraignment.  It is an informal meeting between the prosecutor, your attorney and/or yourself.  There is discussion regarding the facts and merits of the case to determine if the case can settle or if it must be tried by the court or a jury. If no settlement is reached, the case will be scheduled for a court or jury trial.  

  • If you are assessed a fine, you would be expected to pay it before leaving the courthouse, or meet with court staff to set up payments.
  • If the charge is alcohol related or assault, you may be required to undergo an assessment by the Corrections Department before you are sentenced by the court.
  • Many cases are scheduled at the same time for pre-trials.  You should expect to be at the court several hours.

What to expect at a Court Trail:
A court trial is a trial before a judge only.  At a court trial, the prosecutor will present evidence regarding the charge(s) against you.  You may bring witnesses to testify on your behalf at the trial.  If your witnesses are reluctant to testify, you may subpoena them prior to court.  After all testimony has been heard by a judge, the judge will make a ruling regarding innocence or guilt.  If you are found guilty a judge will impose a sentence that may include a fine.

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What to expect at a Jury Trial:
A jury trial is a trial where guilt or innocence is decided by a panel of six jurors. A judge presides over the trial. If you have witnesses who are reluctant to testify, you may subpoena them prior to the court date.  The jury must come to a unanimous decision regarding innocence or guilt.  If you are found guilty the judge will impose a sentence that may include fines and/or jail time.

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How do I obtain driving records?
Driving records may be obtained from the Law Enforcement Center, 2201 23rd Street NE, Willmar, MN  56201  320-235-1260 or on the Internet at www.mndriveinfo.org

State of Minnesota Drivers and Vehicle Services Division

Minnesota Department of Public Safety
Driver & Vehicle Services Division
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, Minnesota  55101
651-296-6911General    651-282-6555 TDD/TTY

Obtain information regarding the following:

  • Driving Record
  • Motor Vehicle Registration
  • Title Transfer
  • Testing Station Information and Procedures
  • Change Vehicle Registration Address (License Plate Number Required)

Minnesota Driving Privileges are valid only when Department of Public Safety Records indicate.

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How do I get my driver's license back after it has been suspended or revoked?
There is a difference between suspended drivers license and revoked drivers license.

  • If your license is suspended you must pay a reinstatement fee to the State in addition to paying off any unpaid fines.
  • If your license has been revoked, you may have to re-test and/or provide certain information to the State.  The actions you must take will depend upon the reasons for revocation.  You may inquire with the Department of Public Safety for further information.

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How to expunge a criminal/traffic case
This information is provided as information only and does not represent itself as complete or authoritative.  A criminal expungement is a complex legal matter and you are advised to retain the services of an attorney to insure proper handling of your expungement.

Request the "Petitioner's Affidavit for Expungement" form and instructions for Expungement.  These materials are available at the Kandiyohi County Court Administrator's Office.  You will also need to request a proposed order form.

Complete the petition and serve the petition on the proper parties.  The petition should be served by mail on ALL state and local agencies and their attorney's whose records would be affected by the proposed order (Minnesota Statutes 609A.03 Subd. 3).  The following list includes some of the agencies you would likely need to serve--but there may be others:

  • Kandiyohi County Attorney, 415 SW 6th St., Willmar, MN  56201
  • The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, 1246 University Ave., St. Paul, MN  55104
  • The city attorney of the city where the crime was committed.
  • The police department of the city where the crime was occurred.
  • The attorney for the police department where the crime occurred.
  • The Kandiyohi County Sheriff, Law Enforcement Center, 2201 23rd St. NE, Willmar, MN  56201
  • The Attorney General's Office, Records Division, 525 Park St., Suite 200, St. Paul, MN  55103
  • Kandiyohi County Community Corrections, 2200 23rd St. NE, Willmar, MN  56201

After the petition is served on the necessary party(ies), you may file your case with the court.  To complete your filing with the court, you need to file the petition, affidavits of service and a proposed order and pay the filing fees to the court administrator.  The proposed order will be completed by the judge if your expungement is granted.

  1. Note:  proof of service documents will be required by the court to proceed with the filing.  A filing fee is required.  If you cannot afford the fee, you may apply for "In Forma Pauperis" status with the court.
  2. The court clerk will schedule a hearing date for no sooner than 60 days from the date you file the petition.
  3. Court staff will notify all served parties of the date and time of the hearing.

NOTE:  A petition is NOT required if the individual has not been convicted of a felony or gross misdemeanor within the ten years immediately preceding the determination of all pending criminal actions in his/her favor, AND either of the following occurred:

  1. All charges were dismissed prior to a determination of probable cause; or
  2. The prosecuting authority declined to file any charges and a grand jury did not return an indictment.

When these conditions are met, the individual should contact the appropriate arresting agency and follow procedures outlined by Minnesota Statute 229C.11.

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