By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s hands-free law went into effect a month ago. The Minnesota State Patrol gave out 1,600 warnings and citations in the first three weeks.

Add that to the money from speeding tickets or the new slowpoke law, and you’re talking tens of millions of dollars every year.

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So Melody from St. Paul and Shawn from East Bethel want to know: Where does the ticket money go? Good Question.

The fine for holding your phone in the car is $50 for the first offense. But then you add on the extra fees, and you’re talking between $128 and $140 — depending on where you get the ticket.

If you’re caught using your phone in your car by local law enforcement in Champlin, that’s going to cost you $128 – and $75 of that goes directly to the state, with most of that going to the general fund. Twenty-five cents goes to a Department of Natural Resources fish and game fund. Then there’s a law library fee of $3. It’s different for each county.

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Of the $50 that’s left, $40 goes to Champlin, and $10 goes back to the state’s general fund.

Chisago and parts of Ramsey counties divvy up that $50 different: Half to the state, half to the city.

St. Paul and all other counties: $17 to the state, $33 to the cities.

The cities can use it how they wish. Generally, it goes towards law enforcement or a general fund. If the offense happens outside a city, the state gets it all.

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And the money from tickets written by the state patrol? That’s split between the state, a railroad crossing safety account and the trunk highways. But if a driver fights the ticket, the city gets some, too.

Heather Brown