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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 171

Section 171.05

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171.05 INSTRUCTION PERMIT.
    Subdivision 1. Person 18 or more years of age. (a) Any person who is 18 or more years
of age and who, except for a lack of instruction in operating a motor vehicle, would otherwise
be qualified to obtain a class D driver's license under this chapter, may apply for an instruction
permit and the department shall issue the permit. The instruction permit entitles the applicant
to drive a motor vehicle for which a class D license is valid upon the highways for a period
of two years if the permit holder:
(1) has the permit in immediate possession; and
(2) is driving the vehicle while accompanied by an adult licensed driver who is actually
occupying a seat beside the driver.
(b) Any license of a lower class may be used as an instruction permit to operate a vehicle
requiring a higher class license for a period of six months after passage of the written test or tests
required for the higher class and when the licensee is accompanied by and receiving instruction
from a holder of the appropriate higher class license. A copy of the record of examination taken
for the higher class license must be carried by the driver while using the lower class license as
an instruction permit.
    Subd. 1a. Minimum period to possess instruction permit. An applicant who has received
an instruction permit under subdivision 1 and has not previously been licensed to drive in
Minnesota or in another jurisdiction must possess the instruction permit for not less than six
months for an applicant who is 18 years of age, and not less than three months for all other
applicants, before qualifying for a driver's license. An applicant with an instruction permit from
another jurisdiction must be credited with the amount of time that permit has been held.
    Subd. 1b. Instruction permit not issued. Notwithstanding subdivision 1, the commissioner
shall not issue an instruction permit to a person under age 18 if the person has ever been convicted
of a violation of section 169A.20, 169A.33, or 169A.35; a violation of a provision of sections
169A.50 to 169A.53; or a crash-related moving violation.
    Subd. 2. Person less than 18 years of age. (a) Notwithstanding any provision in subdivision
1 to the contrary, the department may issue an instruction permit to an applicant who is 15, 16, or
17 years of age and who:
(1) has completed a course of driver education in another state, has a previously issued valid
license from another state, or is enrolled in either:
(i) a public, private, or commercial driver education program that is approved by the
commissioner of public safety and that includes classroom and behind-the-wheel training; or
(ii) an approved behind-the-wheel driver education program when the student is receiving
full-time instruction in a home school within the meaning of sections 120A.22 and 120A.24, the
student is working toward a homeschool diploma, the student's status as a homeschool student
has been certified by the superintendent of the school district in which the student resides, and
the student is taking home-classroom driver training with classroom materials approved by the
commissioner of public safety;
(2) has completed the classroom phase of instruction in the driver education program;
(3) has passed a test of the applicant's eyesight;
(4) has passed a department-administered test of the applicant's knowledge of traffic laws;
(5) has completed the required application, which must be approved by (i) either parent when
both reside in the same household as the minor applicant or, if otherwise, then (ii) the parent or
spouse of the parent having custody or, in the event there is no court order for custody, then (iii)
the parent or spouse of the parent with whom the minor is living or, if items (i) to (iii) do not
apply, then (iv) the guardian having custody of the minor or, in the event a person under the age of
18 has no living father, mother, or guardian, or is married or otherwise legally emancipated, then
(v) the applicant's adult spouse, adult close family member, or adult employer; provided, that the
approval required by this clause contains a verification of the age of the applicant and the identity
of the parent, guardian, adult spouse, adult close family member, or adult employer; and
(6) has paid the fee required in section 171.06, subdivision 2.
(b) The instruction permit is valid for two years from the date of application and may be
renewed upon payment of a fee equal to the fee for issuance of an instruction permit under
section 171.06, subdivision 2.
    Subd. 2a. Permit for six months. (a) An applicant who has applied for and received an
instruction permit pursuant to subdivision 2 must possess the instruction permit for not less than
six months before qualifying for a driver's license.
(b) [Expired]
    Subd. 2b. Instruction permit use by person under age 18. (a) This subdivision applies to
persons who have applied for and received an instruction permit under subdivision 2.
(b) The permit holder may, with the permit in possession, operate a motor vehicle, but must
be accompanied by and be under the supervision of a certified driver education instructor, the
permit holder's parent or guardian, or another licensed driver age 21 or older. The supervisor
must occupy the seat beside the permit holder.
(c) The permit holder may operate a motor vehicle only when every occupant under the age
of 18 has a seat belt or child passenger restraint system properly fastened. A person who violates
this paragraph is subject to a fine of $25. A peace officer may not issue a citation for a violation
of this paragraph unless the officer lawfully stopped or detained the driver of the motor vehicle
for a moving violation as defined in section 171.04, subdivision 1. The commissioner shall not
record a violation of this paragraph on a person's driving record.
(d) The permit holder may not operate a vehicle while communicating over, or otherwise
operating, a cellular or wireless telephone, whether handheld or hands free, when the vehicle is in
motion. The permit holder may assert as an affirmative defense that the violation was made for
the sole purpose of obtaining emergency assistance to prevent a crime about to be committed, or
in the reasonable belief that a person's life or safety was in danger. Violation of this paragraph is a
petty misdemeanor subject to section 169.89, subdivision 2.
(e) The permit holder must maintain a driving record free of convictions for moving
violations, as defined in section 171.04, subdivision 1, and free of convictions for violation of
section 169A.20, 169A.33, 169A.35, or sections 169A.50 to 169A.53. If the permit holder drives
a motor vehicle in violation of the law, the commissioner shall suspend, cancel, or revoke the
permit in accordance with the statutory section violated.
    Subd. 3. Motorized bicycle. Notwithstanding any provision in subdivision 1 to the contrary,
the department, upon application and payment of the fee prescribed in section 171.02, subdivision
3
, may issue a motorized bicycle instruction permit to an applicant who is 15 years of age
and who has successfully completed the written portion of the examination prescribed by the
commissioner. The holder of this instruction permit who has the permit in possession may operate
a motorized bicycle within one mile of the holder's residence for the purpose of practicing to take
the operator portion of the examination prescribed by the commissioner.
History: (2720-144b) 1939 c 401 s 5; 1949 c 91 s 1; 1961 c 33 s 1; 1963 c 382 s 2; 1971 c
644 s 7; 1973 c 95 s 1; 1980 c 446 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 454 s 22; 1987 c 384 art 1 s 19; 1990 c
529 s 6,7; 1996 c 275 s 4; 1996 c 455 art 3 s 25; 1997 c 250 s 8; 1998 c 388 s 10-12; 1999 c 238
art 2 s 24,25; 2000 c 478 art 2 s 7; 2000 c 489 art 6 s 31; 2002 c 371 art 1 s 53; 2004 c 177 s 2;
1Sp2005 c 6 art 3 s 62-64; 2006 c 260 art 2 s 15