Are small trailers exempt from registration laws?
Question: What is the law with small farm trailers being exempt from registration? I heard something about a 10,000-pound limit when being pulled by a regular motor vehicle (not a farm tractor), but I want to know the facts. A neighbor-friend of mine got ticketed for no Minnesota registration for hauling a lot less weight than that on his farm trailer being pulled with a pickup truck, but he thought he was exempt. He was helping me haul some large, old household items to the dump with it, so I kind of feel partially responsible. Thanks for whatever information you can provide.
Answer: Many types of trailers are exempt from registration, but I am sure that what you are referring to is found in M.S.S. 168.012, Subdivision 2a: "Farm trailers with a gross weight of less than 10,000 pounds, drawn by a passenger automobile or farm truck and used exclusively for transporting agricultural products from farm to farm and to and from the usual marketplace of the owner, shall not be taxed as motor vehicles using the public streets and highways and shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter."
The reason your neighbor was cited for not having registration is because of the part of the law that says: "...and used exclusively for transporting agricultural products from farm to farm and to and from the usual marketplace of the owner...." Because he was hauling something other than that, he was no longer exempt and had to comply with normal trailer requirements, including registration. The officer probably mentioned this to your friend, who also could have possibly received other violation charges related to the trailer as well.
I hope this information clears it up for you. If anyone is getting cited by an officer for something and you don't understand something about the violation, just ask the officer to clarify the situation for you. A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes.
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, email@example.com).