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Ask A Trooper: Can a trooper write a ticket for an infraction they didn't witness?

Question: Can a state trooper write a traffic ticket for an infraction that they did not witness?

Answer: A peace officer may arrest or issue a citation for a traffic violation and a number of other misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor offenses even though the officer didn't see it. The traffic infractions include:

• Driving through columns of school children (within 4 hours)

• DWI

• Failure to stop at a railroad crossing (within 4 hours)

• Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle (within 4 hours)

• Railroad crossing violation (within 4 hours)

• School bus stop arm violations (within 4 hours)

• School crosswalk violation (within 4 hours)

If you witness any of the above violations, please contact and report it to your local law enforcement agency, and it will be investigated.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).

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