If you have a driver’s license and operate a motor vehicle, it is in your best interest to know the laws and violations associated with driving. Speeding or driving over the speed limit is one of the most common traffic infractions a driver may face. If you are caught speeding or violating another traffic law you may face fines, points on your license, license suspension, and even possible jail time.
Traffic Violation Classifications
Under Colorado law, traffic violations minor in nature are classified as a class A (C.R.S. 42) or class B (C.R.S. 42-4-1701) infraction. Both class A and class B traffic infractions are considered civil violations that the driver is penalized with a fine to pay but no criminal charges. Fees for class A and class B traffic offenses often range from $15 to $100.
Class A traffic violations are more serious than class B violations and points are assigned to your driver’s license when cited for a class A offense or higher. A class A citation includes speeding up to 25 miles per hour (MPH) over the speed limit.
A more severe traffic offense may be deemed a class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor. Individuals charged with class 2 misdemeanor moving violation (the lesser of the two) may face jail time from 10 to 90 days. If convicted of a class 2 traffic infraction, fees ranging from $150 to $300 may also apply.
Class 1 misdemeanor traffic infractions include offenses such as speed contests. A speed contest involves racing another driver on a public road or highway for competition. Class 1 misdemeanors can carry fines of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of one year. Class A, class 1 and class 2 driving offenses are all subject to points on your license.
Points for Speeding Ticket Violations
While not all states enforce a point system for traffic violations, if you get a speeding ticket in the state of Colorado, you are subject to demerit points on your license. The point system assigns penalty points based on the severity of your infraction. Below are the speeding violations, point value that goes on your license, and fines assigned to each.
|1-4 mph over||$30 + $6 surcharge||0|
|5-9 mph over||$70 + $10 surcharge||1|
|10-19 mph over||$135 + $16 surcharge||4|
|20-24 mph over||$200 + $32 surcharge||6|
|25-39 mph over||Max of $1,000||6|
|40+ mph over||Max of $1,000||12|
|Reckless driving||$150-$300 + surcharges|
+ court costs
|“Speed Contest”||$150-$300 + surcharges|
+ court costs
How to Handle Your Speeding Ticket
Once you have been issued a ticket for your offense you will need to decide how to respond. Most individuals just choose to pay their fine. In the state of Colorado, a motorist has 20 days from the date of the driving offense (no matter the violation) to pay their fine. Your ticket will inform you where to make your payment. Depending on your jurisdiction, fines may be paid online, in person, over the telephone, or by mail. An alternative option to paying the fine is to contest the infraction in court.
If you feel the ticket was wrongfully issued or there is a reasonable explanation for speeding (such as an emergency) that could be defended in court to drop or reduce charges, you can request a hearing. Furthermore, if you are concerned about points on your license and potentially having your license suspended, a traffic ticket attorney could provide the skills you need to handle your case. If appropriate, a defense attorney could possibly bargain for a driving course or community service instead of points applied to the driver’s license.
Defensive Driving School
A driving safety course is available to individuals who are approved or ordered by the court as part of the requirement for traffic offense or as an option for reducing or dropping charges. A driving school certification may take 4 to 8 hours to complete at a minimal cost to the motorist. Individuals completing traffic school must attend a DMV approved site. Even if you are not recommended for defensive driving school to reduce points on your license, a driving safety course certificate can be submitted to your insurance provider in an effort to prevent raising your insurance rates or premium.
Seek Legal Assistance
A defense lawyer can provide much needed assistance in requesting a hearing, representing you in court, and work to have your charges dropped or reduced. A traffic ticket attorney knows the laws associated with moving violations. For instance, the legal nuance between presumed speed limits versus absolute speed limits could be argued in court to have charges dropped.
Absolute speed limits are stating the maximum speed in which the law recognizes is safe to drive while presumed speed limit the recommended safe speed to drive. A trained lawyer could provide information to demonstrate that you were driving safely even though you were driving above the “presumed” speed limit.
Each case is unique so choose a lawyer that will fight for you. M. Colin Bresee offers free consultations. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your legal needs.