Archive for the ‘ Traffic Offense ’ Category

Can A Traffic Offense Lead To A Criminal Charge?

Posted on: September 18, 2018 by in Traffic Offense
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Let’s say that you are minding your own business, driving to or from work, and you are stopped by the police. If you violated a traffic rule, or if your vehicle is not compliant with the law, you might receive a ticket for a traffic infraction or even be charged with a misdemeanor.

But can a traffic stop in this state lead to even more serious legal trouble – like a felony charge? In some cases, the answer to that question will be “yes.” This where a Denver traffic offense lawyer can help.

The most serious traffic offenses that are committed in Colorado are classified as felonies. Anyone who is responsible for a felony traffic violation could conceivably be convicted and serve time in a Colorado jail or even state prison.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS?

But first things first: The most important thing that you need to know if you are charged with a traffic violation is that you will need the help of a traffic ticket attorney, and you will need to meet with your attorney as quickly as possible after you’ve been charged.

Secondly, to avoid any confusion, it is important to be precise with the legal terminology. Less severe traffic violations in this state are called “traffic infractions,” and the more serious charges – misdemeanors and felonies – are called “traffic offenses.”

Infractions and offenses differ considerably in Colorado in their severity, their penalties, and the procedures for their resolution.

WHAT ARE TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS?

Colorado law enforcement officers issue tickets for traffic infractions, which are the more common, minor traffic violations including but not limited to:

1. changing lanes carelessly
2. speeding up to twenty-four miles per hour above the posted speed limit
3. failure to obey a traffic signal

Colorado lawmakers have divided traffic infractions into Class A infractions and Class B infractions. Class B traffic infractions are the least serious traffic violations, and no penalty points will be added to your Colorado driver’s license for a Class B infraction.

HOW DOES COLORADO HANDLE TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS?

Both Class A and Class B infractions are considered civil rather than criminal matters in this state. The penalties include only fines and court costs, and for Class A infractions, penalty points on your driver’s license, but you cannot be held in custody for a Colorado traffic infraction.

In fact, for most Colorado traffic infractions, you can actually plead guilty and pay the fine by mail, provided that you meet the deadline.

Although you may plead guilty to an infraction and pay the fine by mail, you also have the right to dispute a ticket for a traffic infraction. However, because an infraction is a civil rather than a criminal matter, you will not be entitled to a jury if you take the case to court.

WHICH TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS ARE MISDEMEANORS?

Traffic tickets are also issued for the somewhat more serious traffic violations that are considered misdemeanor offenses. All traffic “offenses” are considered criminal rather than civil cases in this state, so jail is a possibility for anyone convicted of a traffic offense.

Misdemeanor traffic offenses in Colorado include but are not limited to:

1. careless driving
2. driving without a valid driver’s license
3. driving without automobile insurance
4. speeding greater than twenty-four miles per hour over the posted speed limit

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR TRAFFIC MISDEMEANOR CONVICTIONS?

Colorado’s lawmakers have further subdivided misdemeanor traffic offenses into two categories. The less serious misdemeanor traffic offenses are Class Two misdemeanors with a maximum penalty upon conviction of ninety days in jail and a $300 fine.

That fine, however, may be higher for motorists who are convicted of specific misdemeanor traffic offenses such as speeding in a construction zone or in a school zone.

The misdemeanor traffic offenses that fall into Class One are the more serious misdemeanor offenses. A conviction for a Class One misdemeanor traffic offense in this state is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Convicted misdemeanor traffic offenders may also be sentenced to community service, and when it’s appropriate, they may be ordered to pay restitution. Defendants who choose to contest a misdemeanor traffic charge have the right to a jury trial.

The most serious Class One traffic misdemeanors in Colorado include but are not limited to driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

WHICH TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS ARE FELONIES?

Finally, the most severe traffic violations in this state are felonies which include but are not limited to:

1. leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality or serious bodily injury
2. eluding a law enforcement officer
3. reckless driving

WHO ARE HABITUAL TRAFFIC OFFENDERS (HTOs)?

Under our state’s Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) statute, repeated convictions for major traffic offenses can lead to a suspension of your driver’s license. The specific offenses that count toward HTO status include:

1. driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI)
2. aggravated motor vehicle theft
3. driving recklessly
4. driving under the influence of drugs (DUID)
5. driving while alcohol impaired (DWAI)
6. leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality or serious bodily injury
7. vehicular assault
8. vehicular homicide

In this state, three or more convictions for any of these major traffic offenses within a period of seven years can lead to the revocation of your driver’s license for up to five years.

HOW MANY PENALTY POINTS ARE DRIVERS ALLOWED?

Your Colorado driver’s license may be suspended if you are a driver age 21 or above and you receive:

1. twelve or more penalty points within a period of twelve months
2. eighteen or more penalty points within a period of twenty-four months

For drivers who are under the age of 21, even fewer penalty points are allowed.

WHERE CAN YOU TURN FOR HELP WITH A TRAFFIC CHARGE?

If you are charged with any traffic infraction, misdemeanor, or felony in Colorado, you must have the advice and representation that an experienced Denver traffic ticket attorney can offer.

Especially if you are facing time in jail or if you are facing a lengthy driver’s license suspension or revocation in this state, your future will be on the line.

You must contest the charge, exercise your legal rights, and obtain a criminal defense lawyer’s help – at once. That is your right.

Can You Beat A Traffic Ticket With Dash Cam Footage?

Posted on: April 15, 2018 by in Traffic Offense
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Dashboard cameras, according to USA Today, have “gone mainstream.” Wholesale shipments of dash cams are projected to reach 285,000 this year, a twenty percent increase over 2017.

As more police departments and private motorists are making use of dashboard cameras, many drivers in the state of Colorado are asking: Can you beat a traffic ticket with dash cam footage?

Dash cams in 2018 are smaller and less obtrusive than the older models. Some can capture a very wide angle and produce high-definition video. The newer models also have great night vision.

WHY ARE SO MANY DRIVERS BUYING DASH CAMS?

Drivers in Colorado are buying dash cams for all kinds of reasons, but the primary reason is to protect themselves from wrongful and false accusations related to their driving.

For example, if you are ticketed for running a red light or a stop sign, dash cam evidence might be able to prove that you came to a full stop. If you are accused of causing an accident, dash cam footage might prove that the other driver was the at-fault driver.

That is important, because if you are convicted of a traffic violation in Colorado, you may have to pay more for auto insurance, and you could be penalized with a fine, a driver’s license suspension, or even – in the worst-case scenario – time behind bars.

IS DASH CAM FOOTAGE ALWAYS HELPFUL?

Of course, if your vehicle is equipped with a dash cam, and if you are in fact responsible for causing an accident, your dash cam footage may not help you – and in fact, it could be the evidence that convicts you.

Police in Denver have executed at least one search warrant for a driver’s dashboard camera footage after that driver allegedly caused a hit-and-run crash.

The police did not find the video they were seeking in that case, but their search warrant request indicates the potential of dash cam evidence to “cut both ways.”

WHO IS USING DASH CAMS TO INVESTIGATE TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS?

Because the dash cam is a neutral observer, it is rapidly becoming a routine element of traffic accident investigations, not only for police departments, but also for insurance companies.

Officer Al Graham conducts traffic investigations for the Aurora Police Department. He told Denver’s KUSA News that dash cams are “an investigative tool for us.”

And Carole Walker, speaking for the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, told KUSA, “This is really another tool that could speed up the claims process.”

For now, auto insurance companies are not offering discounts or incentives for dashboard camera users, but that may change if the technology continues to prove useful.

CAN THIRD-PARTY DASH CAM FOOTAGE BE USED AS LEGAL EVIDENCE?

And even if your vehicle is not equipped with your own dash cam, there is still a good possibility that any accident you are involved in will be recorded by a third party.

In fact, you can view thousands of collisions and close calls recorded by third-party dash cams on YouTube.

Josh Schaffer even operates a YouTube channel called “Denver Dash Cam” which features local drivers on the wrong side of the road, running traffic lights, and changing lanes recklessly.

In 2014, police and prosecutors in Denver used one man’s third-party dash cam footage to charge and convict a pickup truck driver who failed to yield to an automobile and caused a serious collision.

WHAT ARE CONSIDERED MAJOR TRAFFIC CRIMES IN COLORADO?

What crimes are considered major traffic offenses in the state of Colorado?

1. reckless driving

2. vehicular assault and vehicular homicide

3. aggravated motor vehicle theft

4. driving under a license revocation or suspension

5. leaving the scene of an accident involving death or injury

6. DUI (driving under the influence), DWAI (driving while ability impaired), and DUID (driving under the influence of drugs)

WHEN IS A COLORADO DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENDED?

A Colorado driver’s license will be suspended if the driver is age 21 or over and receives:

1. 12 or more points within a 12-month period
2. 18 or more points within a 24-month period

For younger drivers, even fewer points are allowed. When a Colorado driver is convicted for three or more major traffic offenses within a 7-year period, that driver’s license can be suspended for five years.

Colorado drivers whose licenses are suspended may qualify for but are not guaranteed a probationary driver license (PDL). A PDL is generally valid only for driving to and from work or school.

HAS ANY DRIVER WON A TRAFFIC TICKET CASE WITH DASH CAM FOOTAGE?

You can see how important it is to avoid traffic tickets and traffic convictions in Colorado, but the question remains: Can you beat a traffic ticket with dash cam footage?

The answer is probably yes – provided that the footage is clear and its authenticity can be verified.

Rod MacIver, a painter in Vermont, used a dash cam footage from the police officer’s patrol car to challenge and beat a ticket for running a red light. Then he sued the Shelburne, Vermont Police Department for wrongfully ticketing him.

Not every traffic case involving dash cam footage will be that easy to resolve, but you must avoid traffic tickets and traffic convictions in Colorado. If you are ticketed or charged with a major traffic violation, you must have a lawyer’s advice and help.

HOW CAN A TRAFFIC ATTORNEY HELP?

Should you buy a dash cam for your own vehicle? It is probably not a bad idea. You’ll not only have evidence on your side if you are wrongfully ticketed or charged with a traffic offense, but if you are injured by another driver’s negligence, you will have evidence for a lawsuit.

Banks, retailers, and many other institutions long ago understood the value of surveillance video. It might help you, too.

If you’ve received a Colorado traffic ticket, if you’re charged with a major traffic offense, or if you are concerned about a driver’s license suspension or revocation, you must meet at once with an experienced Denver traffic ticket attorney – and get the legal help that you need. If the incident occurred in New Jersey, a New Jersey driving on a suspended license attorney can help.

Your lawyer will explain the charges you face, the options you have, and the potential results. A good traffic lawyer will fight hard for your rights and for the best possible resolution to your traffic case, but you must take the first step to get the legal help you need – and make the call.