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Renville County Attorney Kelsie Kingstrom stated this week something that people who pay attention to court news might have noticed by now: sometimes people convicted of felonies are caught because of a simple speeding ticket.
Kingstrom stated, “Drivers usually find being pulled over to be a minor inconvenience, but for many of the cases that cross my desk, this is a foot in the door for big cases.
“Most of the time, my cases start out the same: deputy or officer is on regular patrol when they observe a vehicle driving faster than the posted speed limit. Boom, driver gets pulled over, law enforcement expects to issue a standard ticket for speeding, but then there is something else: sign of impairment, fleeing, driver has a felony arrest warrant, stolen goods packed in tight in the back of the car (this actually happened), something.”
Kingstrom concluded, “It’s shocking how many people would get away with crimes if they would just drive the speed limit…. Now, luckily for these defendants, I rarely even charge them with speeding when they have the bigger case at issue, because at the end of the day, a petty misdemeanor speeding charge doesn’t really matter if you’re also facing a felony theft charge. Call it the ‘buy two, get one free’ discount.”
The Renville County Attorney’s Office will also be enforcing a change in the way speeding tickets will be prosecuted. Kingstrom stated, “My office has implemented a new policy that we will not be negotiating speeding tickets anymore, and will be expecting speeders to simply pay the ticket, or go to trial.”
Earlier this week, Kingstrom acknowledged Renville County has a large amount of streets and county roads that don’t have speed signs. As a result, people pulled over for speeding in Renville County often claim they don’t know what the speed limit was.
Kingstrom summed it up: “In general, highways are going to be 65 or 70 miles per hour, “urban districts” (usually your city streets or town roads) are going to be 30 miles per hour, and the default for all other unassigned roads is 55 miles per hour (think county roads).”
However, if you are one of the drivers that was pulled over and not fleeing the scene of a burglary or conducting some other type of felonious-related activity, still expect to be ticketed, and expect to take responsibility for that action.