What happens if I get a traffic ticket?
Your odds of getting a traffic ticket may be higher now than ever before. The National Highway Traffic Administration reports that the rate of serious traffic accidents due to unsafe driving rose dramatically in the past two years. This has led local officials to increase enforcement efforts to help get the situation back under control.
Is speeding really an issue in Colorado?
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reports that motor vehicle accidents remain one of the leading causes of death in the state. CDOT also reports that speeding related fatalities increased by almost 15% in 2018 and contributed to 40% of all traffic accident-related fatalities in 2019.
Unfortunately, things have not gotten better. The numbers noted above, which were already bad, became even worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts point to resulting lockdowns and stay at home orders triggering a surge in unsafe driving habits. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found empty roads led to increased speeding incidents. More specifically researchers with the group reported that although traffic decreased by about 25% speeding incidents of 10 mph or more over the posted speed limit increased by 30% to 40%. Although an issue in itself, the bigger problem was the fact that the tendency to speed remained even after the roads were no longer empty.
This combination of increased speeding incidents and traffic fatalities have fueled efforts by officials to crackdown on traffic violations.
What are some common examples of traffic tickets and penalties?
There are many different types of traffic violations. Some of the more common include:
- Speeding. In Colorado, driving 1 to 24 mph over the posted speed limit can result in a traffic infraction and more than 25 mph over the limit is a misdemeanor. Infractions can come with a fine of $15 to $100 and misdemeanor traffic offenses can lead to up to $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
- Careless driving. The unsafe operation of a vehicle can also result in misdemeanor traffic charges.
- Reckless driving. Driving with disregard to the safety of others can lead to misdemeanor traffic charges.
These penalties are just guidelines and can vary depending on the details of the situation. They should not be taken lightly. Even within the lower end of the penalty range a second or subsequent conviction can result in fines as well as potential jail time.
Is there anything I can do to fight a traffic ticket?
These tickets are often part of a larger issue. It is not uncommon for traffic tickets to accompany other allegations of wrongdoing. It is also common for those facing traffic tickets to have concern about the number of points on their record. Too many points can lead to the suspension of your driver’s license. It is important to take the whole picture into account and build a defense strategy tailored to your specific situation. This can include working to reduce or even drop the charges.