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Private associations handing out traffic tickets

A Colorado homeowner's association has taken it upon itself to issue speeding tickets to individuals that are allegedly caught driving more than 30 miles per hour while within the community gates. If the driver happens to be a visitor to the community, the individual they are there to visit will receive the fine.

Many homeowners in the community object to a private community handing out speeding fines. "It's just a little bit overboard for a private community to be policing themselves," one community member was quoted as saying. Others feel that the community is taking upon itself a task that clearly should be left up to law enforcement authorities.

The question here is whether public local law enforcement officials are responsible for policing the driving behavior of the residents, or if this is a task that should be left up to the private community. These are questions that attorneys should be answering rather than employees supervising the property.

When one is pulled over, arrested and fined in a private community, one need to determine whether those assessing the fines have the power to do so, and whether any violation charged was based upon reliable evidence. Also, investigation needs to be made to determine whether such charges were arbitrarily made.

Admittedly, this is a unique situation, but there are all sorts of traffic violation scenarios in Colorado. The key for attorneys representing those charged with a particular offense is to examine the circumstances of each case individually. There are no two traffic offenses that are the same, and therefore the facts of each alleged violation need to be closely examined.

Source: The Consumerist, "HOA Installs Radar, Issues Speeding Tickets," by Chris Morran, Nov. 5, 2012

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