Whether it concerns criminal law, traffic law, or administrative fines, the legal system becomes unjust if such penalties are not handed out evenly. There have been many complaints in Denver of police officers running traffic lights while on routine duty and then ignoring the traffic tickets that they receive.
Formerly, police officers in the Denver area did not have to pay fines for these offenses. Instead, officers were receiving oral reprimands after receiving their first tickets, and then receiving a written reprimand for any second ticket that was issued. Under new rules changes, now police officers will be required to pay the fine or contest the ticket received for traffic violations.
It must be remembered what every driver goes through in Colorado when issued traffic tickets. Every violation accumulates points, and if enough points build up it can lead to suspension of that individual’s driving license.
Though such violations could be challenged by the driver or the driver’s attorney, it nevertheless can be a costly process as there is no guarantee that the judge will consider such challenges. Generally, the only effective challenges will be made by individuals accustomed to dealing with these matters in traffic court.
The new rules are, of course, welcome. It smacks of hypocrisy that the same individuals handing out tickets, and thus costing individuals hundreds and even thousands of dollars in increased insurance costs, were not subject to the same penalties. At least an officer may think twice now before handing out these tickets as they can place themselves in the same position as the driver.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Denver police were traffic-ticket scofflaws – but not anymore,” by John M. Glionna, Oct. 4, 2012