MN Commercial Vehicle Inspectors Can't Make Stops, Court Holds

Otter Tail County Conviction Thrown Out

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: MN commercial vehicle inspector not authorized to make stop. Minn Stat 299D.06.

State of Minnesota v. Kevin Ervin Stall. MN commercial vehicle inspector not authorized to make stop. Minn Stat 299D.06

Kevin Stall was stopped while driving a potato truck during the 2012 potato harvest in Otter Tail County, Minnesota. The stop was made by a commercial vehicle enforcement inspector of the Minnesota State Patrol. When Stall failed to produce a driver's license, the inspector, Brett Syverson, called in a trooper and a complete inspection followed. Stall paid the fine for a weight violation, but was later charged with driving after cancellation. He made a motion in district court to suppress the evidence from the inspection, and this motion was denied. After he was convicted, Stall appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and argued that the stop was improper.

A commercial vehicle inspector has certain powers enumerated by Minnesota Statute 299D.06. Under the statute, they have the power to issue citations, but "none of the other powers and privileges reserved to peace officers including the power to enforce traffic laws and regulations."

The Court of Appeals held that neither this statute, nor any other statute, gave commercial vehicle inspectors the power to stop vehicles. The court noted that the inspector was not a licensed peace officer or law enforcement officer. He could neither carry a firearm nor make an arrest. The court concluded that he lacked the authority to make the stop. Therefore, the evidence should have been suppressed.

For these reasons, the Court of Appeals reversed the conviction.

No. A13-1041 (Minn. Ct. App. April 14, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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