Council considers penalty changesRed Wing officials are considering shifting some city code violations from misdemeanors to petty misdemeanors, avoiding arrest warrants for offenses such as parking, dog or curfew violations.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing officials are considering shifting some city code violations from misdemeanors to petty misdemeanors, avoiding arrest warrants for offenses such as parking, dog or curfew violations.
Currently, when people fail to appear for a court date on misdemeanor offenses, they are sent a second date notice. If they fail to appear again, a warrant is issued for their arrest.
Right now the court has no choice but to issue the warrants for Red Wing code violations, Police Chief Tim Sletten said.
“Issuing warrants is time consuming and expensive for courts and law enforcement,” Sletten said. “Some offenses just don’t rise up to the level of a warrant.”
The change to a petty misdemeanor would mean that a violator would automatically be convicted 10 days after failure to appear in court and the case would be sent to collections 30 days after that.
“Then we’re done with it,” Sletten said.
Offenses to be changed would include dog issues such as barking, running at large or licenses as well as noise and parking complaints, deer feeding, curfew, and others of similar severity.
The charges still could escalate to misdemeanors for repeat offenders, Sletten said.
Early last year Goodhue County court staff contacted the police department to see if some of these modifications could be made, Sletten said Monday. He introduced the idea to the council last spring, where there was a consensus among the members to move forward with exploring the changes.
He has since worked with staff, city attorney Amy Mace and others to nail down the specifics.
The council members unanimously introduced the changes at the Monday meeting. The issue will face one more vote by the council before final approval.