LAWE2231 MN Criminal and Traffic Codes

This course is an overview of the Minnesota Criminal Code and Minnesota Traffic Laws. Emphasis is on coverage of statutes emphasized in Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) learning objectives. The course combines characteristics of two POST secondary learning attitudes; academic education and vocational-oriented training. The course will enhance both knowledge of criminal and traffic laws the student will use as an officer and understanding of how our laws are affected by case law.




Admission into the Law Enforcement Program

Course Requirements and Evaluation

Refer to Course Syllabus for detailed information regarding the requirements and evaluation standards for this course. The Course Syllabus will be distributed the first week of the course.

Learning Outcomes

The following outcomes will be addressed in the course:
Apply knowledge of criminal and traffic codes in the daily functions of a police officer
Demonstrate knowledge of MN criminal codes and traffic laws
Examine key terms defined in criminal and traffic laws of Minnesota
Justify the appropriate use of discretion by an officer
Differentiate between the penalty classifications from petty misdemeanors to felonies
Identify the difference between state statutes and city ordinances and their interrelationship
Select appropriate multiple counts for criminal acts and enhancements for repeat offenders
Apply MN Peace Officer mandated duties associated with specific state statutes
Identify MN statutes that apply to bias-motivated hate crimes
Differentiate between the elements of domestic abuse, assault, harassment and stalking
Distinguish between domestic-related court orders
Explain mandated reporting of suspected abuse to children and vulnerable adults
Discuss criminal liability for police officers
Interpret probable cause, criminal statutes and traffic laws
Analyze how traffic laws apply to driving conduct in traffic and impaired driving situations
Distinguish between types and classes of driver's license, endorsements, permits and exemptions
Summarize the different types of vehicle registration and insurance requirements
Apply appropriate MN traffic laws to traffic accident investigations

Minnesota POST Board Learning Objectives:
1.6.4 Discuss how recognizing and valuing diversity, cultural differences and varied perspectives, promotes community unity, facilitates information gathering and contributes to officer safety.
1.6.6 Discuss how family dynamics and communication methods, both verbal and non-verbal, vary between cultures and how recognition of these variances can benefit officers and communities.
1.6.7 Discuss culturally responsive approaches to dealing with victims and perpetrators of violence. (Minn. Stat. 626.8451., Subp. 1.a. (4))
1.7.3 Identify the value of cooperation and collaboration in solving problems.
1.8.1 Discuss the importance of a survival mindset for officers including: physical and psychological preparation for force encounters, risks associated with complacency, and wearing body armor and other safety equipment.
1.8.3 Explain some of the stressors encountered by peace officers and their effect on officers and their families including: duty related stressors, i.e. frequent encounters with illegal or unethical behaviors, emotionally charged scenes, people in distress, trauma and tragedy, stressors related to fatigue and shiftwork, and stress and long term effects associated with hypervigilance.
2.1.1 Discuss the historic need for rules to control human conduct, enforce societal directives and empower authoritative enforcement of those rules.
2.1.2 Incorporate an understanding of the history of criminal justice and the contemporary system of criminal justice in the U.S. into a perspective about current peace officer duties, responsibilities, and actions.
2.1.3 Describe the history behind the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
2.1.4 Explain the need for a balance between public safety and personal rights in a free society.
2.1.5 Identify and discuss the significance of historic and contemporary events, customs, and social mores that have influenced the current system of justice in the U.S.
2.1.6 Describe the history and impact of including women and diverse community representation in law enforcement.
2.1.7 Explain the roles of law enforcement, the courts and corrections.
2.1.8 Explain the functions and jurisdictions of law enforcement agencies including federal, state, county, municipal, tribal, and international.
2.1.9 Explain the broad functions of the correctional system including imprisonment, parole and probation.
2.1.10 Identify the meaning of criminal justice system terms, e.g.: custody, arraignment, circumstantial evidence, double jeopardy, entrapment, exigent circumstances, conviction, bodily harm, substantial bodily harm, great bodily harm, assault, probation, qualified domestic violence related offense (Minn. Stat. 609.02), forfeiture, "good faith" exception, exclusionary rule, indictment, inevitable discovery, probable cause, Miranda warning, reasonable suspicion, warrant, probation, and parole.
2.1.11 Describe the function and responsibility of each of the key participants involved in a typical courtroom hearing or trial including judges, jury members, prosecuting and defense attorneys and witnesses.
2.2.1 Describe the sources of laws in the U.S. including federal law, state law, case law, and administrative regulatory law and the process by which laws, statutes and ordinances are enacted.
2.2.2 Explain provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights that impact or restrict law enforcement including the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight and Fourteenth Amendments.
2.2.3 Explain how the Separation of Powers Doctrine works.
2.2.4 Distinguish between criminal law and criminal procedure and explain the difference between substantive and procedural law.
2.2.5 Summarize the forms of individual protection related to search and seizure granted by the US Constitution.
2.2.6 Explain the meaning of the good faith doctrine, the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine and the inevitable discovery doctrine as they pertain to Fourth Amendment rights.
2.2.7 State the requirements of the Fourth Amendment on the law of arrest.
2.2.8 Explain how constitutional rights in the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments affect police interrogations.
2.2.9 Summarize the rights of individuals being interrogated under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments and the importance of adhering to procedures that protect those rights including: the prohibition against forced or coerced self-incrimination, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and correlating Minnesota Statute (Minn. Stat. 481.10).
2.2.10 Evaluate mock crime situations and determine if evidence is admissible under the Fourth Amendment.
2.2.11 Explain types of evidence and the differences between them, i.e., direct and circumstantial evidence.
2.2.12 Describe the exclusionary rule and risks associated with contaminated evidence and loss of chain of custody of evidence.
2.2.13 Describe the following suspect identification methods: line-up, photo line-up, and field identification.
2.2.14 Describe proceedings before a trial including the roles of the law enforcement, the defense attorney and prosecutors.
2.2.15 Summarize the rights and processes related to a fair and speedy trial and the right to a jury trial.
2.2.16 Explain the general provisions for sentencing in the Minnesota Criminal Code and the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines.
2.2.17 Describe crime classifications misdemeanor through felony.
2.2.18 Discuss enhancements that may be applied to repeat offenders, patterned offenders, and career offenders.
2.2.19 Explain the following terms: concurrent and consecutive sentences, imposition and execution of sentence, determinate and indeterminate sentencing.
2.2.20 List the five constitutional amendments involving equality and rights.
2.2.21 Explain the impact of the Fourteenth Amendment as it relates to due process and equal protection under the law including: the difference between the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments in terms of due process the differences between substantive and procedural due process, and how Fourteenth Amendment rights constrain law enforcement authority in interrogations.
2.2.22 Discuss limits placed on interrogation procedures in order to ensure protection of rights for U.S. citizens and non-citizens.
2.2.23 Identify the criminal and civil consequences an officer may face by violating a citizen’s constitutional right.
2.2.24 Compare and contrast characteristics of the civil and criminal justice systems.
2.3.1 Define the following terms: search warrant, arrest warrant, subpoena, order for protection (OFP), ex-parte order for protection, qualified domestic violence-related order (QDVRO), Harassment Restraining Order (HRO), no-contact orders, night-capped warrant, no-knock warrant, and curtilage.
2.3.2 Explain and demonstrate search warrant preparation including establishing a factual basis for probable cause and identifying items to be searched for and seized.
2.3.3 Identify the legal requirements governing preparation and execution of the search warrant of a suspect's home or dwelling, vehicle, or person.
2.3.4 Explain the scope and limitation of a lawful warrant-less seizure during a consent search of persons.
2.3.5 Explain the scope and limitation of a lawful warrantless search of a premise and warrantless search of a vehicle.
2.3.6 Explain the scope and limitation of a lawful warrant-less search during a search based on exigent circumstances.
2.3.7 Explain the scope of a lawful warrant-less search during a plain view search.
2.3.8 Discuss how telephonic search warrants and search warrant templates can speed up the search warrant application process.
2.3.9. Explaining each of the following types of orders: Domestic Violence Protective Orders, Order of No Contact, and Orders to Pick Up Children.
2.4.1 Explain what constitutes an arrest and the differences between a contact, a detention and an arrest.
2.4.2 State the requirements of the Fourth Amendment on the law of arrest.
2.4.3 Discuss protocols and terms associated with arrest including "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause".
2.4.4 Describe the stop and frisk standard as found in "Terry vs. Ohio" and subsequent cases.
2.4.5 Explain the legal requirements of, the exceptions to, and the need for an arrest warrant and how one is obtained.
2.4.6 Describe when and how a citizen can make an arrest.
2.4.7 Explain the requirements for private citizens to assist law enforcement officials in preventing escape or effecting arrest.
2.5.1 Describe the basic organization, purpose, and definitions and principles of the Minnesota Criminal Code.
2.5.2 Explain the classifications of crimes including felony, misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor and the meaning of the term petty misdemeanor.
2.5.3 Explain what is meant by elements of a crime and describe the connection between criminal conduct and criminal intent (mens rea).
2.5.4 Explain why it is important for officers to be able to identify and document elements of crimes when responding to and investigating crime scenes.
2.5.5 Given a variety of scenarios, identify indications a particular crime has been committed and identify the elements of that crime.
2.5.6 Identify and explain Minnesota Statutes relating to weapons, chemical agents, electronic control weapons and interference with public property.
2.5.7 Explain special Minnesota peace officer duties associated with specific statutes including: Informing crime victims of their rights and assisting victims of violent crime including domestic assault, restraining orders and orders for protection, data collection on battered women cases, interviewing child abuse victims, officer responsibilities regarding missing children, and mandated reporter for child abuse and vulnerable adults.
2.6.1 Explain the Supreme Court decision Miranda vs. Arizona and the four components of the Miranda warning.
2.6.2 Explain a criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment right to an attorney in all criminal prosecutions including interviews and interrogations.
2.6.3 Describe legal interviewing and interrogation techniques peace officers may use and the difference between a voluntary and a coerced statement.
2.6.4 Explain the difference between custodial and noncustodial interview or interrogation.
2.6.5 Describe considerations for videotaping and recording interviews and interrogations and explain when interrogations must be recorded (State v. Scales, 518 N.W.2d 587 (Minn.1994).
2.6.6 Explain when admissions and confessions are legally admissible in court.
2.6.7 Explain the purpose of an interrogation and how results of interrogation can be used in trials.
2.6.8 Explain the conditions under which confessions may or may not be used in court.
2.7.2 Define status offense, give examples of status offenses that can only be committed by a juvenile and discuss the limits of peace officer authority in relationship to status offenses.
2.8.1 Explain Minnesota statutes and relevant case law related to the application of force by peace officers.
2.8.2 Explain the following terms: objectively reasonable, totality of circumstances, situational factors, pre-assaultive indicators, and, escalation and de-escalation as related to peace officer use of force.
2.8.3 Discuss the term reasonable as it related to use of force.
2.8.4 State how department policies regarding use of force including deadly force may and may not vary.
2.8.5 Given scenarios, recognize when force is or is not authorized and give and defend reasonable choices for the application of various types of force depending on the circumstances of the scenario.
2.8.6 Give Supreme Court case examples authorizing the use of deadly force.
2.8.7 Analyze a variety of situations where force may or may not be authorized and demonstrate an understanding of the concept of reasonable use of force.
2.8.8 Explain the Minnesota Statute that requires officers be trained in the use of those weapons and equipment the officer is issued or authorized to carry (Minn. Stat. 626.8452).
2.8.9 Explain when force may be used to make an arrest.
2.8.10 Discuss liabilities associated with the application of force by peace officers.
2.9.1 Discuss peace officer rights, obligations and liabilities under state and federal law including requirements placed on law enforcement agencies to defend and indemnify peace officers for good faith action in the course and scope of employment.
2.9.2 Explain the role of internal affairs.
2.10.1 Describe the basic organization, purpose and principles of the Minnesota Criminal Code and its implications for law enforcement including (list is not comprehensive): understanding key traffic related terms (Minn. Stat. 169.011) as well as the terms reckless or careless driving, describing violations of driving rules, parking and stopping violations, and vehicle equipment violations, how and when traffic laws apply to authorized emergency vehicles, and laws regarding driving while impaired.
2.10.2 Discuss non-enforcement deterrents to traffic violations, i.e., police presence/visibility, speed bumps.
2.10.3 Explain vehicle registration and insurance requirements in Minnesota.
2.10.4 Distinguish between different classes and type of licenses, endorsements and permits and explain the circumstances under which an individual is exempt from licensing requirements.
2.12.1 Explain the concept of racially based profiling (Minn. Stat. 262.8471) and other profiling that is based on false assumptions about groups of people and discuss: the impact of the Whren v. United States decision the importance of impartial policing, the difference between the terms pretextual stop and racial profiling and the problems associated with racial profiling by law enforcement, how racial profiling impacts law enforcement credibility and community trust, how to handle the perception of unfair or biased treatment of members of the public by law enforcement, and the importance of an officer’s ability to articulate valid reasons for vehicle stops.
2.12.2 Define and explain the impact of hate crimes including: the motivations behind hate crimes, the impact of hate crimes on victims and on communities, the special needs of hate crime victims, and crime characteristics which may indicate a crime was motivated by the victim’s race, national origin, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation (Minn. Stat. 626.8451, Subd. 1).
2.12.3 Explain special reporting requirements related to bias motivated/hate crimes as required by Minn. Stat. 626.5531. (Officers must report to their agencies, agencies to the BCA.)
2.13.1 Define the term predatory offender and describe Minnesota’s predatory offender registration system including risk levels that may be assigned to offenders.
2.13.2 Describe when law enforcement agencies are required to provide community notifications regarding predatory offenders and who to contact for assistance with community notifications.
2.13.3 Explain roles peace officers may take in helping predatory offenders understand and complete the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s predatory offender registration form and in conducting compliance checks on registered predatory offenders.
2.14.1 Define the terms crime and crimes of violence as found in Minnesota Statute.
2.14.2 Discuss the extent, causes and impact of crimes of violence including physical and sexual abuse, physical violence, harassment and stalking, and neglect. (Minn. Stat. 626.8451., Subd. 1a.)
2.14.3 Discuss how anger, intimidation, isolation, restriction of freedom, economic abuse, emotional abuse, threats and psychological abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse are methods of exerting power and control.
2.14.4 Describe stalking and how it has changed with technological advances.
2.15.1 Explain the legal definitions and significant aspects of Minnesota statutes related to child and vulnerable adult assault, abuse and neglect.
2.15.7 Explain officer reporting requirements relative to incidents of maltreatment neglect, or physical or sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults and prenatal exposure to controlled substances (Minn. Stat. 626.556, Subd. 3. and Minn. Stat. 626.557).
2.15.8 Describe who is mandated to report suspected child and vulnerable adult abuse and the ramifications of not reporting.
2.15.11 Explain the term "Drug Endangered Children", the immediate and future risks related to children living in drug related environments and the impact of rescuing drug endangered children may have on breaking the cycle of drug abuse and crime prevention.
2.16.1 Explain what legally constitutes domestic abuse and assault.
2.16.5 Define the following terms outlined in Minnesota Statute: domestic abuse, family or household member, qualified domestic violence-related offense (QDRO), order for protection, exparte order, domestic abuse no contact order, harassment restraining order, harassment, and stalking.
2.16.6 Identify significant aspects of Minn. Stat. related to domestic abuse (Minn. Stat. 629.341 and 518.B01, 609.749, 609.2242) including what legally constitutes domestic assault, elements of various levels of domestic assault, and enhancement for prior domestic violence related offense convictions.
2.16.9 Explain the peace officer’s role in providing victim’s rights information to victims of domestic assault.
2.16.11 Discuss when warrantless arrests may be made and when enhancements for previous assaults may be considered.
2.17.1 Define sexual assault as described in Minn. Stat. 611A.211 which includes criminal sexual conduct in the first, second, third, fourth or fifth degree or criminal sexual predatory conduct.
2.17.2 Explain the following terms: date rape, sex trafficking, sexual harassment, and female genital mutilation.
2.18.2 Describe the current state of victim’s rights in the criminal justice system. (Minn. Stat. 611A)
2.18.3 Explain the peace officer’s role in advising victims regarding shelter and assistance and the importance of demonstrating compassion and concern for victims.
2.18.4 Discuss the importance of confidentiality of a victim’s address/location, and connecting victims with victim crisis services.
2.18.5 Discuss culturally responsive approaches to dealing with victims of violent crimes.
2.18.6 Explain the use of the crime victim notification form.
2.18.7 Explain peace officer duties relative to obtaining assistance with non-English speaking victims or victims with communications disabilities.
2.19.4 Identify special communications issues peace officers may encounter and discuss reasonable and appropriate actions officers may take to improve communication with individuals: coping with communication disorders including hearing impairment, whose mobility impairment restricts communication, and coping with autism spectrum disorders, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or intellectual disabilities.
2.26.1 Explain what a criminal gang is as it is defined in Minnesota Statute 609.229 and the penalties for crimes committed for the benefit of a gang.
2.26.2 Discuss the appeal of gang membership, how gangs recruit members, and prevention and intervention methods.
2.26.3 Explain the terms organized crime and racketeering and discuss how organized crime affects Minnesota law enforcement.
2.26.4 Recognize the term RICO Act as meaning the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and be able to describe the overall intent of the Act.
2.26.5 Define the term vice crime and describe the attributes of various vice crimes including illegal gambling, prostitution, solicitation and pornography.
3.2.1 Discuss interview techniques used to: build rapport, encourage full meaningful answers and discourage suggestibility, clarify and corroborate statements, enhance memory, detect deception, and obtain information from a reluctant witness.
3.2.2 Discuss interview considerations and techniques for interviewing children, vulnerable adults and traumatized victims.
3.2.6 Explain and participate in evidence-based procedures for identifying suspects, i.e., lineup, photo lineup, and field identification, including blind/blinded administration of the lineup, instructions to the eye witness that the perpetrator may or may not be present, use of non-suspect "fillers" that match the eyewitness’s description of the perpetrator and do not make the suspect noticeably stand out and asking a witness to state his or her level of certainty, in his or her own words, as soon as an identification is made.
3.3.1 Describe the relationship between good report writing and testimony.
3.12.2 Identify the following elements of driving conduct as they relate to Minnesota Motor Vehicle and Traffic Laws: speed, local authority, right of way, traffic crashes, railroad crossings, school buses, stopping, standing and parking, reckless and careless driving, open bottle, criminal vehicular operation and fleeing a peace officer, signs and signals, and turning.
3.12.3 Identify the equipment necessary to operate a vehicle in proper working condition including: lighting, brakes, seat belts and child restraints, mufflers, windshields, bumpers; and, identify the exemption from equipment restrictions.
3.12.4 Discuss how traffic law applies to bicycles and pedestrians.
3.14.8 Explain child welfare holds that allow officers to remove children from at-risk situations.
3.14.18 Discuss risks associated with domestic violence situations and safe approach techniques including: why it is best not to respond alone, the importance of gathering as much information as possible prior to response, the importance of initial scene assessment, and why it is important not to reveal the name of the person who requested police response.
3.14.19 Explain when an arrest is warranted, when an arrest is mandatory and the time period in which an arrest can be made in domestic violence related situations.
3.14.29 Describe the terms Driving While Impaired (DWI) and Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
3.14.48 Explain or demonstrate law enforcement procedures for responding to situations and crime scenes involving juveniles as victims and/or offenders including: enforcing status offense laws, apply laws applicable to interviewing a juvenile, explaining the 72 hour hold rule governing shelter placements, the 36 hour hold rule governing detention hold, parent or guardian notification requirements regarding placements and detentions, and custody and liability issues, applying appropriate data practices rules governing incidents involving juveniles including who may request and receive juvenile data, and explaining to whom a juvenile may be released.
3.14.49 Demonstrate familiarity with Minnesota’s missing persons related laws (Minn. Stat. 626.8454, Minn. Stat. 299C.51-299C.5655, 390.25) and the definitions included therein.
3.14.56 Given situations involving individuals demonstrating signs and/or characteristics of mental illness, behavioral disorder or suicidal intentions requiring intervention, demonstrate appropriate intervention techniques that are likely to be beneficial in managing the situations (Minn. Stat. 626.8455) including: modeling behavior that shows the importance of putting safety first, staying alert and the danger of complacency or taking anything for granted when dealing with an individual experiencing a mental health crisis, unless situation appears immediately dangerous/critical, avoiding challenging or violating personal space, trying to eliminate noise and distractions, having one officer take lead and open communication from a safe distance, using communication techniques designed to de-escalate volatile situations including: being patient, calm, honest and compassionate, using active listening skills while not encouraging or agreeing with delusions, using a calming voice, and avoiding challenging questions and allowing for venting.
3.14.58 Manage a sexual assault situation including: identifying the victim and if the victim is a child, vulnerable adult or adult, and adjusting communication and procedures appropriately, establishing rapport with victims i.e., making victims feel safe, letting them know the assault was not their fault, informing victims of the importance of their cooperation in gathering forensic evidence and pressing charges while ensuring victims understand that the choice is up to them, advising victims of their rights and providing them with a victims rights card, assisting victims in contacting an advocate when appropriate, determining and responding to the immediate medical needs of victims, communicating with the medical staff treating the victim regarding the need for a forensic evaluation/use of a sexual assault kit to collect evidence, and identifying, protecting, collecting and preserving evidence including photographs, clothing, seminal fluid, saliva, hairs, blood, bedding, fibers, etc.
3.14.59 Define the terms white collar crime and identity theft and describe the importance of evidence protection in investigation of financial fraud, white collar crime and identify theft.
4.4.7 Discuss how pursuit policy issues affect the conduct of pursuits by peace officers and pursuit related mandatory reporting.

Text and References

A list of textbooks required for this course is available at the bookstore.

Course Scheduling

The scheduled hours of instruction include sixteen hours for each lecture credit, thirty two hours for each lab credit and forty hours for each credit of supervised occupational experience (SOE). Lecture credit may include formal or impromptu lectures, demonstrations or discussions with the entire class or with small groups or individuals. Refer to the Credit Details section of this course outline for the credit breakdown.

Accommodations Statement

Disability Services assists students with disabilities who need accommodations to access programs, services and college activities.  If this applies to you, please contact the DS Office on your campus to initiate the accommodations process. 
Brooklyn Park Campus - 763-488-2477
Eden Prairie Campus – 952-995-1544


Brooklyn Park Campus 952-995-1300

Credit Details