Council approves higher traffic ticket fines
MINOT—Getting a traffic ticket in Minot will cost you a little bit more money after the Minot City Council approved increases in some fees on Dec. 6.
In 2019, the North Dakota Legislature passed a bill allowing municipalities to adjust some traffic fines by as much as 100 percent of the state’s fine schedule. The Council on Monday approved changes on first reading to City ordinance to increase fines on a variety of traffic violations.
Capt. Justin Sundheim of the Minot Police Department presented a list of changes to council members, who unanimously approved the updated fines.
“I think this is the time to do this. We were given the latitude to be able to increase these a few years ago, and we’ve done it cautiously and methodically,” council member Lisa Olson said. “There are a number of complaints that come from people within our community talking about some traffic offenses where a $10 fine doesn’t deter people from speeding or driving carelessly.”
Alderman Stephen Podrygula agreed, pointing out that information from the MPD shows that the time it takes an officer to do a traffic stop and write a $10 ticket costs more money than the ticket is worth.
“Even with these improvements, we are still far behind what most jurisdictions and other states have,” Podrygula said. “We’re losing money. I think this is a reflection of how out of kilter or how weird in a sense this is. Our fines will still be below the actual cost of delivering these law enforcement and safety services.”
The changes become effective Jan. 1, 2022, if they are approved on second reading at the Dec. 20 council meeting.