Traffic tickets: Officer’s observation against yours

The Minnesota Department of Transportation recently released a report regarding the Dimler Amendment, which prevents low-level speeding convictions from getting onto a driver’s permanent record. WDAZ reports that the state’s DOT wants to change the amendment in order to keep habitual offenders off the roads. As a traffic offense lawyer in Minneapolis may know, roughly 1,000 people in the state would have had their license suspended over the last 10 years if it weren’t for the law.

Regardless of what comes from the DOT report, it is important for drivers to understand how serious a traffic violation can be. What’s more, motorists should know how to defend themselves against unnecessary citations at any level.

A subjective point of view

In many cases, a traffic ticket is based on a member of law enforcement’s observations. Officers may claim they saw a driver swerving, following too closely or rolling through a stop sign. In these circumstances, it essentially comes down to whose version of the truth is accepted: the officer’s or the driver’s?

Further, law enforcement may take a subjective point of view as to whether or not a driver was traveling safely. For example, state law dictates rules regarding making a turn, and violating will result in traffic ticket penalties. Therefore, someone could receive a ticket for making an unsafe turn when in fact, the turn was completely safe. In either of these scenarios, there is enough uncertainty to enable a defendant to create a compelling argument.

Challenging a ticket

People interested in beating a traffic ticket can put together compelling evidence against these subjective assessments. As many a traffic offense lawyer in Minneapolis have used, the following are examples of convincing evidence:

  • Recreating the scene of the incident, such as taking photographs of intersections or road conditions
  • Demonstrating where the officer’s vehicle and the motorist’s vehicle were, which may depict the officer’s inability to clearly see what happened
  • Gathering statements from witnesses who will testify to the driver’s version of events

Any other information that can help support a driver’s position will be useful when presenting a case in traffic court.


Fighting a ticket is about more than simply avoiding a fine. Traffic tickets can result in a suspended license and a spike in car insurance premiums. In some cases, a citation for an act such as drunken driving will be viewed as a criminal charge. While some situations may seem relatively minor, it is important to take a look at the big picture and fully understand the potential consequences.

Anyone with questions regarding this matter should consult with a traffic offense lawyer in Minneapolis.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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