Motorists widely appreciate that officials in enclaves ranging from large municipalities down to the smallest towns in Colorado and other states routinely fixate on generating revenue for their communities. They levy taxes. They impose licensing fees. They charge for utilities.
And, often, they look to the streets for money.
That might sound a bit cryptic. Fleshed out in simple terms, it means this: They empower law enforcers to aggressively target drivers for alleged behind-the-wheel offenses, with extracted fines and linked extractions going straight into government coffers.
It has always been so. American drivers have complained since the very inception of motorized traffic of speed traps and pretextual stops aimed at nothing more than securing needed funds for a town or city. Reportedly, legions of communities nationally rely heavily on monies collected from ticket issuance to subsidize key government services.
Is that fair?
Sometimes controversial: focus on traffic ticketing schemes
No reasonable person begrudges fairly apportioned and rationally applied levies that support local government. Conversely, legions of motorists chafe after receiving suspect ticket citations that they believe were handed out primarily – if not solely – to bring in revenue rather than to enforce the law.
It happens. In fact, one state’s highest court weighed in with a definitive ruling recently in an unlawful traffic citation scheme.
In a nutshell, a spotlighted town’s ticket policy worked like this: Police officers disallowed from handing out citations based on a quota system were instead encouraged to secure personal points for each ticket they wrote. Garnering a certain number of points brought merit. Falling beneath a specified threshold yielded disciplinary action.
The court was not swayed by semantics. It stressed that the policy provided “an incentive for officers to write citations to accumulate as many points as possible.”
In other words, the scheme operated as an unlawful ticket quota program, precisely what it was alleged not to be.
The downsides for a driver affected by a quota system
It’s not hard to come up with a list of adverse consequences for a Colorado motorist unfairly ticketed for pretextual reasons. Here are just a few:
- Future targeting – one ticket can lead to another
- Multiple citations can bring a license suspension or revocation
- Jail time might feature in a given instance
- Imposition of notably high fines and linked costs
- Materially ramped-up insurance premiums
The universe of potential ticketing offenses in Colorado is vast and varied. Drivers are routinely cited for alleged offenses ranging from speeding, tailgating and improper lane changing to failure to yield or signal, texting, belt violations and more.
Understandably, a driver who contests a ticket might reasonably want to secure proven help from an experienced traffic violations legal team.