Back in March, the Minnesota Judicial Branch gave citizens a break when it came to late fees for traffic citations and driver’s license suspensions due to the uncertainly and statewide burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. And while we’re certainly not out of the woods in terms of putting an end to the coronavirus, it appears that the suspension of late fees will be coming to an end.
The Minnesota Judicial Branch noted that referrals of court-ordered fines, fees and other financial obligations to the Department of Revenue for collections resumed again on Thursday, October 1. Late fees and driver’s license suspensions will resume again on December 1.
Late Fees Resume
The goal of the original freeze was to avoid putting people in an unnecessary financial hole at a time when layoffs and business closures were increasing. It also helped cut down on foot traffic to the courthouses, which were either closed or attempting to limit attendance in hopes of reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
Anyone with outstanding court fees, fines or late payments are being asked to resolve their citation before more drastic measures are taken. This month, individuals with any unresolved citations will receive a notice in the mail stating that they must either pay the fine, develop a payment plan or schedule an appointment to contest their citation within 30 days. Beginning on December 1, those who fail to pay the fine or schedule an appointment will receive another late penalty and will by subject to additional consequences based on the circumstances of their original citation.
One thing that we’ve always championed is that the judicial system should not prey on the financially burdened. If you are struggling to make ends meet, especially because of the coronavirus, we urge you to work to find a way to meet the listed obligations on the letter you receive so that you don’t accrue additional monetary penalties. Even if you just schedule a couple dollars a month, odds are the court will be fine with that payment plan so long as you are working towards paying it off. Please don’t just ignore the letter and hope that it will go away on its own, because it won’t.
And if you want help contesting your citation, pick up the phone and give Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm a call today at (952) 224-2277.