The most common way people find themselves in trouble with the law is through traffic tickets, or moving violations. Traffic tickets vary widely in severity but at the very least involve a fine and often times a points penalty. More serious cases can lead to jail time.
You can fight traffic tickets because they still require proof from the state. If you plead guilty without negotiations, you are likely not getting the best result for your situation. This is especially true if you have mitigating circumstances.
Traffic tickets are often something people think they can handle alone, but in fact, fighting a ticket and getting help from an attorney can go a long way to protecting your driving record and keeping your penalties to a minimum.
Types of Violations
Traffic violations include parking issues, moving violations such as speeding, weaving or turning problems, and they include serious infractions like hit and run, DUIs and careless or reckless driving. You may also face stiff penalties if you have a poor driving record and are seen as a habitual offender or you are found driving while your license is suspended or revoked.
Notably, photo citations in Colorado will not cause you to experience any penalty in points. If you
pay them they will not hurt your driving record. On the other hand you must be served in person in order for them to be valid. While some states
have imposed other penalties, like prohibiting license or registration renewal for non-payment, Colorado has not enacted these yet.
The Points System
In Colorado, fines are not the only consequence of traffic tickets. A points penalty is assessed based on the severity of the infraction. These points are how DMV gets involved more directly with your matter. Adults 21 and over are allowed up to (but not including) 12 points per year, or up to (but not including) 18 points over two years. Young drivers are allowed up to 6 points between the ages of 16-17, up to 9 points for 18-20 year olds, and up to 14 points for the entire life of the juvenile license. A DUI, which earns 12 points would result in an automatic suspension unless challenged. Other traffic tickets may earn fewer points, but these can accumulate over time. You can always contact the DMV directly to determine how many points you have currently accumulated.
While fines and points are overt penalties we face with tickets there are other ways people are penalized. One is the increased insurance costs many of us face after getting tickets. Another is the requirement to take defensive driving or other classes, costing money and time. If your points allotment is exceeded, or you fail to pay a citation, then you have to deal with license suspension and reinstatement, which requires more forms, fees and sometimes retesting, in addition to the strain of likely not driving for a period of time. If you are involved in a DUI then you may be required to get special SR-22 insurance and an intoxilyzer (breath analyzer) in your vehicle, an inconvenient and expensive hurdle to face. And of course, if your traffic issue is more severe you may face jail time or long term license revocation.
Getting a traffic ticket can be complicated by being a tourist too. If you don’t live in Colorado and you want to fight your ticket, you certainly don’t want to have to fly back for court appearances. An attorney can often times appear for you or waive your appearances to minimize costs.
Traffic tickets are often regarded as minor inconveniences but they are serious matters that interfere with work and your daily life. They require attention, cost money, and in more serious matters may threaten your ability to drive, or pose a risk of jail time. When faced with a traffic ticket, don’t just ignore it or pay it without question. Talk to an attorney to get the best advice in your situation.