may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Von Shane Aune,
Filed August 31, 1999
Mille Lacs County District Court
File No. T8-98-24
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Scott G. Swanson, Assistant, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Matthew W. Brune, Assistant Mille Lacs County Attorney, Courthouse, 525 Second Street S.E., Milaca, MN 56353 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Crippen, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
Appellant's driver's license was suspended based on failure to avoid arrearage in child support. He challenges his conviction for driving after suspension of license (DAS), claiming that the state does not have subject matter jurisdiction. Because DAS when the suspension is based on failure to timely pay child support is civil/regulatory rather than criminal/prohibitory, we conclude that the state does not have jurisdiction and reverse.
Subdivision 1. Suspension. The commissioner shall suspend a person's driver's license * * * [if] the driver is in arrears in court-ordered child support or maintenance payments * * *.
Subsequently, appellant was cited for failure to provide proof of insurance, Minn. Stat. § 169.791 (1996), and for DAS, Minn. Stat. § 171.24, subd. 1 (1996), on the Mille Lacs Band Reservation.
Appellant moved to dismiss the charges due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The district court granted the motion on the proof of insurance charge but denied it on the DAS charge. Appellant pleaded guilty to DAS. The district court entered judgment of conviction and sentenced appellant. Appellant challenges the judgment on the basis of lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Stone clarified the distinction somewhat, holding that the state does not have jurisdiction over driving offenses such as speeding, Minn. Stat. § 169.14, and driving without a license, Minn. Stat. § 171.02). Id. at 730-31. The supreme court recently provided further clarification in State v. Johnson, ___N.W. 2d ___ Nos. C5 96-1854 and C2-96-1858, slip op. at 4 (Minn. Aug. 12, 1999):
We reaffirm our holding in Stone that failure to produce proof of insurance in violation of Minn. Stat. § 169.791 is a civil/regulatory traffic violation over which the state had no jurisdiction when committed by tribal members on tribal land. We further hold that driving after revocation in violation of Minn. Stat. § 171.24, subd. 2, is also a civil/regulatory traffic violation as to which the court has no jurisdiction when committed by tribal members on tribal land.
The supreme court reasoned:
[I]n Stone we held that driving without a valid license does not raise policy concerns substantially different from the general policy of public safety and therefore the violation is civil/regulatory. We would hardly be consistent to now conclude that even though a tribal member is not required to have a driver's license at all while driving on a tribal reservation, driving after revocation of a license should be an offense that rises to the level of a heightened public policy concern.
Id.; (quotation and citation omitted).
Offenses leading to license revocation include crimes and multiple misdemeanors. See, e.g., Minn. Stat. § 171.17, subd. 1 (3), (7) (1996). The occurrence leading to license suspension in the instant case was non-criminal, see Minn. Stat. § 171.18 (1996); failure to timely pay child support is not a crime. The supreme court's reasoning in Johnson compels our conclusion that, if driving after revocation is not a criminal but a civil/regulatory violation, DAS is also civil/regulatory. We therefore hold that the district court lacked jurisdiction.