A lot of thoughts might go through your mind when you get a traffic ticket. One of the first things that you have to think about is what type of ticket you received. There are two types of traffic tickets — an infraction or an offense. Your options for handling the ticket differ depending on the type.
If your ticket is for a traffic infraction, you can opt to simply pay the ticket if you don’t want to have to go to court. This might seem like the easiest way to handle the ticket, but it also means that the infraction is going to be placed on your driving record.
Being charged with a traffic offense is a bit more serious. These tickets are considered criminal matters. You have 20 days from the date of the ticket to decide what you will do. If you opt to pay the ticket, you are actually pleading guilty to a criminal charge. You can face penalties in court for the offense if you plead guilty or are found guilty. You may not have the option to just pay the ticket, so be sure you find out what options are available for your exact ticket.
When you opt to fight a traffic ticket, the type of ticket has an impact on your options. If you are facing a traffic infraction, you can request a trial before a magistrate or judge; however, you can’t demand a jury trial. If you are facing a traffic offense, you might have the option to have a trial before a jury.
It is imperative that you fully understand how fighting the ticket or just paying the ticket can impact your future. Be sure you consider the impact each option has on your life as a whole, your driving record, and similar factors.
Source: Colorado Judicial Branch, “Answers to Your Questions About County Court Traffic Violations,” accessed March 01, 2017