Ask the Chief: The rules apply to scofflaws, too

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"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

Q: When are the police going to perform a sweep and ticket the scofflaws who live here without having their cars and motorcycles licensed in Minnesota? Some of these folks have been living here for almost a year.

A: Thank you for your question. The term scofflaw originated during Prohibition to identify an individual whom scoffed at the law and continued to drink alcohol. Today, the term scofflaw is more general in nature, a person who flouts the law, especially one who fails to pay fines owed, and also a person who flouts rules, conventions, or accepted practices.

Law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a law is being violated prior to contacting citizens with investigation of a crime or traffic offense. This reasonable suspicion can be from observation or citizen tips/complaints. If you observe of potential violation of the law, feel free to contact the non-emergency number at 651-385-3155 so an officer can follow-up on the complaint. Therefore, performing an enforcement sweep is not an option in this scenario.

For citizens that purchase a vehicle, you have 10 days to register/apply/transfer the title from date of purchase.

New Minnesota residents have 60 days to transfer their vehicle registration to Minnesota, failure to do this could result in a misdemeanor charge and fine.

If you have a Minnesota license and change your address, you have 30 days to update your license.

Failure to update information could result in a misdemeanor charge and a fine. Commercial driver's license must be updated/changed within 30 days.

Due to the difficulty in identifying these violations, they are most commonly enforced on traffic stops, which may result in more than one citation being issued! Stay aware, stay safe.

References

1. Definition of scofflaw, located online at Dictionary.com. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/scofflaw

2. Minnesota Statute 168A.10, Transfer of Interest by owner. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/168A.10#stat.168A.10.2

3. Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services, "Just the Facts, Fact Sheet. Located online at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/forms-documents/Documents/NewResident.pdf