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Minnesota Traffic Laws

Following the Minnesota rules of the road can help ensure your safety and the safety of other motorists while driving in The North Star State. It can also help you avoid a traffic citation from a police officer.

In this article, you can learn more about Minnesota traffic offenses and motor vehicle laws.

Use the following driving manuals and vehicle codes:

The driving manuals and vehicle codes in the bullets above cover several topics. The links at the end of this article also go in-depth about state-specific traffic and driving laws.

This article and the linked materials will help you learn about:

  • Basic driving rules, like who has the right-of-way, the legal way to make a left turn, and where to make a U-turn
  • Speed limits for varying roads, highways, and residential areas
  • Driver's license issuance, suspension, revocation, and reinstatement
  • Crossing paths and yielding to emergency vehicles, snowplows, and school buses
  • Restrictions on using cell phones and other wireless communication devices while driving
  • Traffic signals and devices like stop signs, yield signs, and stop lights
  • Unlawful vehicle modifications to engines, lighting, exhaust systems, mufflers, headlights, and more
  • Required vehicle equipment such as headlamps, brake lights, turn signals, and rearview mirrors
  • Traffic-control devices like pedestrian control signals and crosswalk signals
  • Safety practices for passing and overtaking commercial vehicles
  • Special rules for towing equipment like campers, boats, or snowmobiles
  • Regulations for motorcycles, motorized bicycles, and scooters

Traffic Offense Levels and Penalties

Minnesota statutes regulate traffic and motor vehicle violations. Four offense levels are used to categorize the severity of the offense.

  • A petty misdemeanor is the least serious traffic offense. It is not considered a crime but does carry a fine of up to $300. Most traffic violations are petty misdemeanors. Examples of this type of offense include running a red light or speeding.
  • Misdemeanor traffic offenses often require a court appearance in addition to a fine of up to $1,000. These offenses can also carry a jail sentence of up to 90 days. Most reckless driving charges are considered misdemeanors.
  • Gross misdemeanors and felonies are the highest offense levels. Most traffic violations do not fall under these categories. Some Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges can be gross misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances.

Other Resources for Minnesota Drivers

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety website is a hub for useful information for Minnesota drivers across the state. Drivers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro and outstate Minnesota alike can find several resources, including:

Minnesota 511 Travel Information provides real-time updates on various traffic and road conditions, including:

  • Vehicle crashes and traffic slowdowns
  • Road closures
  • Construction area updates
  • Inclement and winter weather driving conditions
  • Snowplow locations

Minnesota Traffic Laws: Statutes and Links

Find useful Minnesota traffic laws and links to their statutes in the table below.

Drinking & Driving Violations

Driving while impaired (MN Statutes Chapter 169A)

Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License

License required (MN Statute 171.02)

Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance

Criminal penalty for failure to produce proof of insurance (MN Statute 169.791)

Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration

Registration required (MN Statute 168.09)

Illegal U-Turn

Turning, starting, and signaling (MN Statute 169.19)

Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & Run

Collisions (MN Statute 169.09)

Mechanical Violations

Traffic Regulations: Equipment (MN Statutes Ch. 169; scroll to 169.47 to 169.75)

Reckless Driving

Reckless or careless driving (MN Statute 169.13)

Running a Red Light / Stop Sign

Signs, signals, and markings (MN Statute 169.06)

Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations

Seat belt; passenger restraint system for children (MN Statute 169.685)Seat belt use required; penalty (MN Statute 169.686)


Speed limits, zones; radar (MN Statute 169.14)

Unlawful Vehicle Modifications

Traffic Regulations: Equipment (MN Statutes Ch. 169; scroll to 169.47 to 169.75)

Hands-Free Cell Phone Use

Use of wireless communications device (MN Statute Ch. 169.475 )

Traffic Violation? Get Help Now

If you have been ticketed for a traffic violation in the state of Minnesota, you should contact a traffic ticket attorney in your area.

An experienced attorney can review your citation to ensure law enforcement applied the proper traffic regulations correctly. This may save you a costly fine and points off your driver's license.

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Next Steps

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Protect Your Rights During and After a Traffic Stop

  • Certain traffic violations carry significant penalties under Minnesota law.
  • An attorney can help you protect your rights during and after a traffic stop.

Want on-demand legal guidance when you are pulled over? The award-winning TurnSignl app has launched in Minnesota!


If you face a traffic violation and need an attorney, find one right now

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