Am I allowed to represent myself?
Yes, but keep in mind that you are required to know and follow all the rules of law and court procedure that an attorney would follow.
For more information, visit the Representing Yourself in Court help topic.
Applying for a public defender
Attending court without a subpoena
If you are charged with an offense that may result in jail time, you can 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—public defender applications forms are provided at the beginning of the court session.
If you are an interested party who hasn't been subpoenaed, and if the trial/hearing is not closed to the public, you may attend. If you have been subpoenaed 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.
Changing a scheduled court date
If you have an attorney, ask them to make the request. If you don’t have an attorney, contact the court at (651) 266-1999 for instructions.
If you received a citation (a ticket), you may be able to pay a fine
without going to court. If court is not required, you may still contest your citation.
If the any offense on the citation requires court, you must appear on the time, date, and location of your Summons.
Getting Information About a Case
For information about a case, call the Criminal and Traffic Court at (651) 266-1999. If you would like to view or obtain a copy of a court document, call the Records Office at (651) 266-8237. Be prepared to provide the case number or the defendant's name and the date of birth.
If you are calling about several different cases or if you want a complete record of offenses for an individual, you must come to the Suburban Court Office listed above or to the Records Office in Room 72 of the Main Courthouse. You will need to 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.
Getting information about someone in custody in Ramsey County
Getting more information about a warrant
Every warrant comes with terms on which you may be released. A bail amount may be specified, supervision may be ordered or the warrant may require that you remain in custody until your trial or until the terms of your release are reviewed at a hearing.
For information on the amount of bail and conditions of release, visit the Ramsey County Arrest Warrant Search or call the Warrant Office at (651) 266-9320.
Appearing in Court
Overview of Criminal Traffic Court
Paying Court-imposed Fines
Witnesses and Subpoenas
How and when bail is returned
Once the case is resolved, bail is either refunded to the defendant or applied to any money owed.
How do I contact my Probation Officer?
How do I contact my public defender?
If a public defender has already been appointed to represent you, visit the Public Defender website for contact information. You will need to provide the name of the person you wish to contact.
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.
How the Court notifies you of your court date
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 and Bail section on this page for more information.
How to handle an arrest warrant
For Ramsey County warrants, turn yourself in at the Law Enforcement Center, 425 Grove Street, St. Paul, MN 55101. Go to the Jail Entrance (open 24 hours) before 4:00 a.m. if you wish to be heard on the next available court calendar. You will be taken into custody, booked, and fingerprinted. For more information, visit the Turning Yourself In page of the Ramsey County Sheriff's website.
If you are interested in contacting an inmate, picking them up upon their release, or posting their bail or bond, contact the Ramsey County Adult Detention Services Unit at (651) 266-9350.
How to pay a court-imposed fine
At this time, fines imposed by the Court in Ramsey County cannot be paid online or through our phone payment system.
- Pay in person at the Main Office or Suburban Court location listed above.
- Mail your payment to the Minnesota Court Payment Center, P.O. Box 898, Wilmar, MN 56201. Include your case number. Do not mail cash.
If none of the offenses you are charged with requires a court appearance, you may go directly to Online Fine Payment
. For more information about your options, visit the Violation Bureau
tab on this page.
If you are unable to pay
If you need more than 30 days to pay a Court-imposed fine, you may request an extension or make arrangements to pay on a schedule. Call (651) 266-1999 to see what can be done.
If you have 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 testify under oath.
Obtaining a subpoena
If you have an attorney, have your attorney obtain and arrange for service of the subpoena. If you are representing yourself, contact the court at 651-266-1999 for assistance.
Do not use online subpoena forms without first getting instructions from the Court
Pleading Not Guilty to a court-required offense
Regarding Domestic Violence Cases
If you plead Not Guilty, your trial will be on another day and a court date will be scheduled. The next appearance is typically a hearing for you, the judge, the prosecutor, and your attorney (if you have one) to 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.
The difference between bail and bond
What happens if you miss a court date
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.
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 (651) 266-1999 to find out what happened.
What to expect when you go to court
What will happen if I don't pay the fine?
Court appearances are arranged in Sessions, in which several cases are scheduled at the same time. A court session typically lasts 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.
If you plead Guilty, you may be sentenced immediately. In some situations, the judge may order an investigation prior to sentencing you. If this is ordered, you will need to follow the instructions you receive and reappear later for sentencing.
The debt may be referred to a collection agency, your driver's licence may be suspended, and/or you may be summoned back to court. If you have failed to pay a fine, call (651) 281-3219 or (800) 657-3611 (if you are outside the metro area) to find out what happened and what you need to do.
When is my court date?
If your hearing is within the next 7 days, consult the Alpha Roster on our Calendar page to see when and where your court appearence is scheduled. Use your browser's text search to quickly find your name. If you are unable to find the case or if it is more than 7 days away, call our office at (651) 266-1999 for the information. Where do I turn myself in to serve my sentence?
Why do I have a warrant for my arrest?
Why do I have to go to court instead of just paying a fine?
The most common reasons for arrest warrants are failure to appear at a court hearing and violation of the terms of a sentence you received. Call our office at (651) 266-1999 for specific information.
State statutes dictate which violations are payable and which ones require a court appearance.