Do I Have To Pay A Red Light Camera Ticket?

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Red Light Camera Tickets Are In A Legal Gray Area

If you’ve gotten a ticket from a red light camera or a photo speed van, you may be wondering if the ticket is a suggestion or if it has legal merit. These photo enforcement citations are in somewhat of a legal gray area as they are not treated as normal citations issued by a local police officer in person. The short answer is that YES, the tickets are legal and enforceable however, there are ways to avoid paying the fines if you understand how their process works. This article will break down the dos and don’ts of how to deal with a red light camera citation.
red light cameras in colorado

How To Avoid Paying Fees For Photo Enforced Citations

Even though photo enforced tickets are legal in Colorado, there are a few things to be aware of that may help you get out of the ticket.

First off would be the fact that these tickets come with a respond by date that you are supposed to pay the ticket within that time frame. Failure to do so within their time limit means the government may send you a Penalty Assessment Notice (PAN) via certified mail or a process server within 90 days of the offense. This means you will have to sign for the notice in person and pay your fine by the time stated on your citation. If you are not home to receive the notice in person, then the notice is essentially void as you are required to be personally served with the notice for it to be enforceable. So if you notice a process server or mail person trying to come to your door during this timeframe, you can avoid them to get out of paying for the ticket. Also, if the notice came later than 90 days from the violation it is no longer valid so make sure to check the dates.

Another option is to file a “not pictured driver” affidavit which is a document stating that you were not the person driving in the picture even though the vehicle is registered under your name. These affidavits will be reviewed to verify that you were not the one driving, so don’t try to pull a fast one on the police if it actually was you driving because you will need to send in a clear photocopy of your driver’s license with your affidavit so they can compare the photo to your license and verify your claims. This affidavit must also be filed by your respond by date listed on the citation. If it is determined that you were not the actual driver, the case will be dismissed, but if you are caught saying you weren’t the driver and actually were, there will be a criminal charge imposed on you for reporting false information.

It is important to note that when you file a “not pictured driver” affidavit, you are not responsible for telling the courthouse who was actually driving. You only have to prove that you were not the person driving and then the courthouse has to figure out who was driving the vehicle at the time, if possible. So don’t go out and put the blame on your friend that was driving, as you may both be able to get out of it in such a situation.

A third option is to plead not guilty by going to the courthouse in person. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as rushing a family member to the hospital, icy roads that would be dangerous to slam on the brakes, or possibly even a commercial vehicle that was too heavy to be able to stop in time. If you feel you have a valid reason for running the red light, speeding or stopping past the crosswalk lines, you can submit that with your plea but there is no guarantee they will accept your reasoning.

The fourth option is to assess the intersection where the picture was taken for valid signage marking that it is a red light camera enforced intersection. Colorado law requires that all photo enforcement areas be clearly marked with signs so make sure to inspect the area where the photo was taken because if there are no signs marking the photo enforcement or the signs are not easily read while driving through then you may be able to get out of the ticket.

The final option is to request a review of your photo enforcement citation. These reviews are a courtesy and not a right though, so they will be handled at your local courthouse’s discretion. You must call (720) 337-1114 to request a review. It is important to note that requesting a review is only for disputing the merit of the violation for reasons such as it not being a valid violation or the wrong car has been identified. The city will not provide you with evidence for you to use to aid you in getting the citation dropped, so don’t get your hopes up if this is the route you are taking unless you were wrongly cited.

Important Things To Consider

Red light camera tickets DO NOT come with points on your license as these citations are not reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Many people think these tickets will affect their driver’s license like other tickets do, but these photo enforced tickets are not the same. Even if you were guilty and pay the fine, you will not be assessed points on your record. So if you were guilty, you may want to consider paying the fine and getting it over with as the fees are generally less than $100.

The fees for red light camera tickets are much lower than typical citations given by police officers. Here is a breakdown of the fines associated with these types of tickets:

Speeding In:

A residential area or street bordering a park: $40

A school or work zone: $80

Red Light Violations:

Running a red light: $75

Stopping beyond the crosswalk: $40-$75

Additional Fees:

A minimum additional fee of $29 will be assessed when served with a PAN but this cost may increase if the cost to serve you the notice was higher.

Other Types Of Photo Enforcement

You are probably familiar by now with red light cameras that penalize people who run red lights, but did you know there are multiple other violations that these cameras look for?

One of the other violations are stopping beyond the crosswalk lines as the state of Colorado wants to keep pedestrian accidents from happening when crossing the street and vehicles stopped beyond the crosswalk lines may hinder visually and mobility disabled persons from safely crossing the intersection. The fines for this violation are $40 if the front two tires have crossed the white line and $75 if the rear two tires have crossed the white lines. So make sure to stop with your front tires behind the white line and you’ll be fine.

Another type of violation they look for is speeding. This is done by photo enforcement vans typically parked along the side of the road in residential areas, construction zones and on streets that border a park. These vans are required to have an officer inside of them to verify each citation as it happens, but still the fines are much less than a typical speeding ticket and don’t come with points on your license.

Be Informed About Your Red Light Camera Citation

If you have been issued a citation for a red light violation, speeding violation or stopping past the stop line, there may be ways to get out of it in some cases. At Rector Stuzynski LLC, we primarily represent individuals who are injured in auto accidents, but we feel it is important the the public stay informed about their rights in all situations pertaining to the road.

Our Colorado car & auto accident lawyers will do our best to assist you with your accident claim or answer any questions you may have about the legal process.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we offer free consultations over the phone 24/7 or feel free to stop by our office in Downtown Colorado Springs, CO to speak directly with one of our attorneys.

Areas We Serve

We serve clients charged with crimes or injured anywhere throughout the state of Colorado, but we focus on residents of these areas: Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Fountain, Briargate, Monument, Black Forest, Pueblo, Canon City, Larkspur, Security-Widefield, Peyton, Castle Rock, Teller County, El Paso County, Elbert County, Park County, Douglas County and beyond.