Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

“Payable” Offenses

Although you may have never heard of them, “payables” are offenses which can be disposed of by paying a fine rather than appearing in court.  The Court Administrator’s Office is authorized by Minn. Stat. §609.101, subd. 4, to make up a list of payable offenses each year.  If you have ever gotten a petty misdemeanor speeding ticket, it was a “payable offense.” Be forewarned, however, that while all petty misdemeanors are payables, not all payables are petty misdemeanors.  See Minn. Stat. Sec. §609.02, subd. 4a.

Some offenses, such as driving after revocation/suspension (DAR/DAS) or no insurance/no proof of insurance, are misdemeanors; but designating them as “payables” converts them to petty misdemeanors.  Choosing to mail in the fine in these cases may have unexpected consequences. Paying the fine counts as pleading guilty to the offense, and a conviction for DAR, DAS, no insurance, or no proof of insurance may trigger suspension of the driver’s license.  See, e.g., Minn. R. 7409.2200, subp. 4.

If a driver fails to pay the fine or appear in court (or before a hearing officer in some counties) for a petty misdemeanor violation, then a guilty plea is entered. See Minn. Stat. §609.491. Conversely, if a person chooses to contest a misdemeanor that would otherwise be treated as a petty misdemeanor because it is a “payable,” then the court may impose any penalty up to the misdemeanor maximum of $1,000 and 90 days.

“Payable” traffic tickets have other “wrinkles”: If you pay your ticket by mail for an offense not resulting in a driver’s license suspension, such as speeding, the offense conviction cannot be found in a MNCIS public records search. This may be an important consideration for some clients deciding whether to fight a traffic ticket. For more information, see the court’s webpage on payables at

Max A. Keller

Keller Law Offices



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