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WABASHA, Minn. - A judge has blocked Wabasha County from continuing its driver diversion program.

District Judge James A. Fabian ruled Monday that the program is not authorized under Minnesota law.

Such programs give motorists the option of enrolling in a safe-driving class instead of paying a ticket for a violation.

Wabasha County has put 4,500 motorists through its program since 2003. The southeastern Minnesota county has collected about $450,000 in revenue since starting the program.

But the judge agreed with the plaintiffs that the program is not authorized under state law and granted an injunction blocking the program.

Wabasha County Sheriff Rodney Bartsh tells The Associated Press the county will stop the program, as the judge ordered.

In November, State Auditor Rebecca Otto said driver diversion programs are illegal in Minnesota.

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