Boulder Traffic Violation Defense Attorney
Traffic tickets seem as inevitable as death and taxes. Sometimes, it’s as simple as paying a fine and moving on. Sometimes, even a ticket that feels routine or minor can have a major impact on your driving privilege.
In Colorado, certain tickets can carry significant consequences. Points on your license can lead to higher insurance rates. Some tickets can even cause you to lose your license.
At Dolan + Zimmerman LLP, our Boulder traffic violation defense lawyers can help you minimize or eliminate the negative effects of a traffic ticket. Call us today to set up a free 10-minute consultation.
Why Choose Our Boulder Traffic Violation Defense Lawyer?
- Our skilled criminal defense lawyers in Boulder will review your case from every angle to search for solutions that will achieve the best possible results.
- We intentionally limit our caseload, so we can dedicate the amount of time and attention that your case deserves.
- Our Boulder traffic violation defense attorney is available 24/7 for support and assistance.
How Can a Traffic Violation Lawyer in Boulder Help?
A traffic ticket may seem like no big deal, but in reality, it can have a wide range of adverse effects on your life and career. If you drive for a living or ever plan on following this career path, it is vital to try to avoid having a traffic violation entered on your record. Even without a driving career, it can benefit you to hire an attorney to fight an alleged offense. Hiring a Boulder traffic violation attorney is the best way to protect yourself from the most severe potential penalties associated with the charge.
A criminal defense lawyer can do many things to help you as a client, such as:
- Explaining your legal rights and options.
- Coming up with an aggressive defense strategy.
- Attending court hearings on your behalf.
- Negotiating reduced charges or penalties.
- Issuing motions to have evidence against you thrown out.
- Getting your case dismissed, if possible.
- Representing you during a criminal trial, if applicable.
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is the most effective way to fight a traffic ticket or moving violation. If you aren’t sure whether you need to hire an attorney for your traffic violation case in Boulder, use a free consultation to discuss your unique situation. We offer free case reviews so that you can tell your story and get legal advice from our highly experienced litigators at no cost or obligation.
Potential Penalties for Traffic Violations in Boulder
Traffic violations generally do not come with the possibility of jail time, as they are classified as civil infractions rather than criminal offenses. However, being found guilty of a traffic offense can still have serious penalties. Some of the ramifications associated with traffic offenses include:
- Fines of $15 to $100, plus surcharges
- Points assessed against the driver’s license
- License suspension or revocation
- Mandatory community service
- A permanent mark against the person’s record
Most traffic violations are entered as class A infractions, which are more serious than class B but less serious than misdemeanors. If you fail to pay the fine for a class A traffic infraction, however, it can lead to an outstanding judgment warrant and the suspension of your license. If you are facing a misdemeanor traffic offense, the penalties are increased to $300 to $1,000 in fines and 10 days to 1 year in jail.
Protecting Your Driving Privileges
We take pride in our high level of experience with traffic and driver’s license-related charges. We understand that your driving privilege is enormously important to your ability to make a living and to go about your everyday life. We can make sure that you get the best possible outcome in court and the least inconvenient impact on your driver’s license by using our experience and creativity to find solutions that work for you.
Court Consequences and Administrative Consequences
Any traffic ticket has possible consequences in two different areas. Court consequences can range from fines to restitution to jail time. Administrative consequences through the Department of Revenue can take the form of points and even of driver’s license suspension or revocation.
Prosecutors and judges do not control and cannot advise you about the driver’s license consequences of your ticket or of any reduced charge that the prosecutor may offer you to resolve your case. This is why it is important to have a skilled lawyer on your side.
When Driving Privileges in Boulder May Be Suspended
Colorado has a point system in place based on the age of the driver and type of license. Your license can be suspended if you accumulate the following points as shown:
Minor Driver: 16-18 years old
- More than 5 points in 12 months
- More than 6 points within the time period for which the license was issued
Provisional Driver: 18-21 years old
- 9 points in 12 months
- 12 points in 24 months
- 14 points within the time period for which the license was issued
Driver 21 Years or Older
- 12 points in 12 months
- 18 points or more within 24 months
Driver in Course of Employment (Chauffeur)
- 16 points in 12 months
- 24 points in 24 months
- 28 points in 48 months
The Most Common Traffic Violations in Colorado
Colorado has dozens of laws dictating what a motor vehicle driver can and cannot do behind the wheel. Traffic laws and roadway rules are in place to protect the public and prevent car accidents. Law enforcement officers can pull over any driver suspected of violating one or more of these traffic laws. Common examples of traffic violations are:
- Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident: 12 points
- Driving while under the influence of drugs: 12 points
- Driving while ability impaired by alcohol: 8 points
- Speed contest or drag racing: 12 points
- Eluding or attempting to elude a police officer: 12 points
- Reckless driving: 8 points
- Careless driving: 4 points
- Failure to yield right-of-way: 3 points
- Speeding over posted limit 5-9 mph: 1 point
- Speeding over posted limit 10-19 mph: 4 points
- Speeding over posted limit 20-39 mph: 6 points
- Speeding over posted limit 40-or more mph: 12 points
- Failure to stop for a school bus: 6 points
- Driving on the wrong side of the road: 4 points
- Failure to maintain or show proof of insurance: 4 points
- Improper passing: 4 points
- Failure to observe traffic sign or signal: 4 points
- Improper turn: 3 points
- Driving through a safety zone: 3 points
- Driving in the wrong lane or direction on a one-way street: 3 points
- Failure to signal or improper signal: 2 points
- Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle: 4 points
- Improper backing: 2 points
- Failure to dim or turn on lights: 2 points
- Operating an unsafe vehicle: 2 points
Some of the more serious traffic infractions – those that come with higher penalties – are reckless driving, careless driving, knowingly engaging in a speed contest with another driver, fleeing the scene of a car accident (hit-and-run), and eluding a police officer. Whether you received a ticket for a minor or a major traffic violation, working with a lawyer can help you protect your rights.
Fighting a Traffic Violation
Motorists who are cited for traffic violations have three options:
- Plead guilty as charged
- Represent yourself throughout the process
- Hire a Boulder traffic violation defense attorney to represent you
Admitting a violation is the fastest and easiest way to deal with it. However, you may end up paying more in fines than you would if you fought it, in addition to more points on your driving record. Fighting a traffic violation gives you a chance to evade those negative consequences. A lawyer can help you assess your situation and consider your options.
Contesting a violation involves preparing your case and going to court. Several defense strategies can reduce your charges or get them dismissed. For example:
- Postponing your court date to increase the chances that the police officer who cited you will not show up
- Choosing a trial-by-declaration, which involves submitting a letter stating why you’re innocent. The police officer will have to submit paperwork as well. If they fail to submit the paperwork, you win by default.
- Filing various motions to discover and exclude evidence, and presenting the prosecutor with contradictory evidence and witness statements.
- Using errors on your traffic ticket as a way to dismiss the charges.
Do All Traffic Violations Go to Court?
No. Whether your case goes to court depends on what is written on your ticket and how you wish to proceed. Many traffic cases can be settled outside of court by mailing in the payment of the imposed fine, unless the ticket says that you must appear in court. If you wish to fight the ticket, your case will also require a court hearing. If you don’t feel comfortable appearing in court on your own, an attorney can come with you – or potentially appear on your behalf.
During a court case for a traffic violation in Colorado, you will be arraigned – given information about your rights and receive the charges being entered against you. You will also be able to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. A criminal defense lawyer can help you determine which plea is right for you. Your case may or may not require additional hearings depending on the plea entered.
It is possible to request to have a trial if you are facing a misdemeanor traffic offense. If your lawyer suggests this route for your case, you will have a jury trial with six jurors (or a minimum of three jurors, with the court’s permission). In addition, you can choose to forego a jury trial and have a bench trial instead, where the only person determining your case is a judge.
When Traffic Violations are Criminal Violations in Colorado
When you are ticketed or arrested by a police officer for a traffic violation in Colorado, it is because you have committed either an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony. Guidelines for these levels of offenses are as follows:
Drivers are commonly ticketed for committing minor traffic infractions. These include offenses such as speeding, failing to yield, or making an illegal U-turn, etc. While infractions can result in fines and demerit points, jail time is not a possible sentence as it is not a criminal charge. Colorado traffic infractions are divided into two classes, Class A and Class B infractions. Class B infractions are the least serious traffic violations, and penalty points will not be added to your driver’s license.
More serious traffic offenses are considered misdemeanor criminal offenses in Colorado and can result in jail time. These offenses include careless driving, driving on a suspended or revoked license, driving without insurance, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The less serious misdemeanor traffic violations are Class Two misdemeanors with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $300 fine if convicted. That fine can increase in certain situations, for instance, if the traffic violation occurred in a construction or school zone.
The misdemeanor traffic violations that fall into Class One misdemeanors are more severe, such as driving on a suspended license or while impaired. These carry penalties of up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Convicted misdemeanor traffic offenders may also be sentenced to community service and required to pay restitution when appropriate. If you are charged with a misdemeanor traffic offense and wish to contest it, you have the right to a jury trial.
The most severe traffic violations in Colorado are felonies, which are reserved for but not limited to:
- Vehicular homicide and vehicular assault
- Leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality or serious bodily injury
- Eluding a law enforcement officer
- Reckless driving
A traffic felony conviction is as serious as any other felony conviction. It can result in a greater punishment, such as a jail sentence for more than one year and/or a fine exceeding $1,000. Colorado has six classes of felonies. The class of a felony crime is important because the level and nature of the punishments vary with the severity. Class 1 is the most severe, whereas Class 6 the least severe.
Under Colorado’s Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) statute, three or more convictions for any major traffic offense within a period of seven years can lead to the revocation of your driver’s license for up to five years.
Learn More in a Free 10 Minute Consultation
At our firm, your first 10-minute consultation is free. To arrange a time to discuss your traffic violation with one of our experienced Boulder traffic defense violation attorneys, please call us at 303-593-1874 or contact us by email.