Ask a Trooper: All band members must abide by state traffic lawsE-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous.
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Q: Please, can you tell me, is window tint legal off the reservation if the vehicles are registered with tribal plates and there’s no window tint ordinance on the reservation either? Thank you.
A: No it is not legal to violate the state window tint laws, tribal plates or not. One county prosecutor in Minnesota recently took a tribal issue traffic law case all the way to the Minnesota State Supreme Court, and I spoke personally with that prosecutor on this. The ruling means that all tribal members with or without tribal band plates have to abide by all Minnesota laws and rules, including traffic, and including window tint laws while off the reservation or even on the reservation if they are driving on a state highway. (Not sure about county roads on a reservation land though, that has not been tried in the courts to the knowledge of the prosecutor I spoke with.)
You didn’t ask, but I will tell you that the most common violation I have seen is band members who live off the reservation and still have band plates. That is against the law, and they need Minnesota registration. Also, band plates or not, living off the reservation or not, they need to obey all state laws for equipment, insurance, traffic laws and driver’s license. Band members on other band reservations are not exempt from violations on those other reservations either.
Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.