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Understanding Types of Traffic ...

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Understanding Traffic Offenses in Colorado

While receiving a traffic citation might not seem like a big deal, it’s crucial to understand that traffic offenses can lead to serious penalties in Colorado, including a permanent criminal record. Whether you’re facing civil penalties for speeding or defending against jailtime and other penalties for a traffic misdemeanor, understanding the different types of traffic offenses is essential to avoid life-altering consequences in civil or criminal court.

In this blog, we’ll review the different types of traffic offenses and their associated civil or criminal penalties in Colorado.

Types of Traffic Infractions in Colorado

Traffic infractions are the least severe type of traffic offense. Under Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) § 42-4-1701, traffic infractions are considered civil matters, not crimes. This means that offenders are subject to civil penalties instead of criminal penalties, such as jailtime.

There are various classes of traffic infractions with varying levels of severity and associated penalties, including:

Class A Traffic Infractions

Class A traffic infractions are more serious than class B infractions. Common types of class A traffic infractions include:

  • Speeding less than 25 mph over the speed limit (C.R.S. § 42-4-1305-1101)
  • Driving with an open container of alcohol or marijuana (C.R.S. § 42-4-1305-1305.5)
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road or the wrong way on a one-way road (C.R.S. § 42-4-1001-1006)
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way at an intersection or to an emergency vehicle (C.R.S. § 42-4-703-705)
  • Stopping in an intersection or crosswalk (C.R.S. § 42-4-709)

The penalties for committing a class A traffic infraction may include $15 to $100 in fines, a surcharge, and the addition of DMV points to your driving record. In some cases, the judge may allow defendants to complete a certain number of public service hours instead of paying the fine.

Class B Traffic Infractions

Class B traffic infractions are considered less severe than class A infractions. Common types of class B infractions include:

  • Driving without a seatbelt (C.R.S. § 42-4-237)
  • Driving without license plates (C.R.S. § 42-3-202)
  • Driving with an expired license (C.R.S. § 42-2-101)
  • Permitting an unauthorized person to drive (C.R.S. § 42-2-139-140)

The penalties for a class B traffic infraction are similar to a class A traffic infraction, including $15 to $100 in fines and a surcharge. However, unlike class A infractions, no DMV points are added to the defendant’s driving record after a class B traffic infraction. Offenders may also be eligible to complete a certain number of public service hours instead of fines.

Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses

Unlike traffic infractions, traffic misdemeanors constitute criminal penalties, including jail time, fines, and the addition of DMV points to your driving record. There are two classes of misdemeanor traffic offenses, including:

Class 1 Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses

When it comes to traffic misdemeanors, class 1 is considered the most severe. Some common examples of class 1 misdemeanor traffic offenses include:

  • Causing serious bodily injury due to careless driving (C.R.S. § 42-4-1402)
  • Knowingly engaging in a race or speed contest on a highway (C.R.S. § 42-4-1105(1)(c))
  • Driving 25 MPH over the speed limit or exceeding a posted speed limit of 75 miles per hour in a construction zone (C.R.S. § 42-4-1101(12)(b))

The penalties for committing a class 1 traffic offense include 10 days to 1 year in jail, $300 to $1,000 in fines, and DMV points added to your driving record.

Class 2 Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses

Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses are considered less severe than class 1. Some common examples of class 2 offenses include:

  • Reckless driving (C.R.S. § 42-4-1401)
  • Careless driving without serious bodily injury
  • Knowingly conducting a race or speed contest

The penalties for committing a class 2 traffic offense include10 days to 90 days in jail, a fine of $150 to $300, and the addition of DMV points to your driving record.

Will Traffic Offenses Stay on My Permanent Record?

Yes. Similarly to class A and class B traffic infractions, class 1 and 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses remain on your record for life and cannot be sealed if convicted. Seeking sound counsel from a qualified traffic defense lawyer is essential to avoid the lifelong consequences of a conviction.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Colorado Traffic Offense?

If you were charged with a traffic violation on Colorado roads, securing experienced representation is a must to protect your driving privileges. Accumulating 12 points on your driving record within a 12-month period or 18 points within a 24-month period can result in automatic license suspension, making it crucial to partner with a trusted attorney as soon as possible.

In addition to protecting your rights in civil or criminal court, your lawyer can represent your best interests by negotiating the number of points associated with an alleged traffic offense, mitigating other potential consequences in your case, and employing an effective defense strategy on your behalf.

Aggressively Defending Your Rights in Centennial

If you’re facing criminal allegations, securing experienced representation is paramount to safeguarding your life and liberty. From DUI to minor infractions to violent crimes, even first-time offenders can reap life-altering penalties if convicted, making it crucial to partner with a highly skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

At Solutions Based Family Law, we understand how terrifying it can be to navigate criminal charges. Fortunately, you don’t have to fight alone. Our fierce defense lawyers are committed to defending your rights and hard-earned reputation by providing the robust defense you deserve. We can work tirelessly to restore your freedom by fighting to reduce or dismiss the charges against you, giving you peace of mind that your case is prioritized from start to finish.

Don’t throw away your future by failing to secure an experienced defense. Call (720) 463-2232 to schedule a consultation with our Centennial attorneys.