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Minnesota courts announce lenience designed to reduce in-person interaction

In their efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus by limiting in-person interaction, the Minnesota Judicial Branch has announced the temporary cessation of some penalties and license suspensions.

FSA Court gavel 11-13-18
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ST. PAUL -- As efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus, Minnesota's Judicial Branch this week announced some policy lenience designed to reduce nonessential visits to court facilities during the pandemic.

For the next 30 days, the Judicial Branch will stop sending out late penalty notices and assessing the late penalties for all citations. For offenses eligible for drivers’ license suspension, the Judicial Branch will halt the automated process by which a person’s license is suspended for failure to appear. The Judicial Branch will also stop referring past-due payment cases to the Department of Revenue for collections for that period of time.

“We are committed to reducing the need for Minnesotans to visit their local courthouses, and are making these changes to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said State Court Administrator Jeff Shorba, who issued the temporary administrative actions on Monday, March 16.

It was noted that the temporary changes made to the automated financial collection processes will not adversely affect a defendant’s case. Related financially-connected processing, such as drivers’ license reinstatement and web-based and phone-based payments made through the Court Payment Center, will continue to be processed while these procedures are in effect.

The Judicial Branch’s latest information regarding COVID-19 is posted at www.mncourts.gov/Emergency .

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