Traffic Tickets – The Real Story

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Why Did I Get the Ticket, It Was Just an ACCIDENT?

 As we are in the middle of winter snowy, icy, and slick roads as a part of our driving conditions on some days.   Even driving in the most careful and cautious manner can still result in an accident.  Can you really get a traffic ticket for an accident? For example, even if you are driving under the speed limit and safe for the winter conditions, you could still slip on a patch of black ice, causing a small accident with a median, guardrail, or another car.  If Colorado State Patrol is called out – you would most likely get a traffic ticket for careless or even reckless driving, EVEN IF THE ONLY DAMAGE WAS TO YOUR VEHICLE.  Careless driving is a four-point violation and reckless is an eight-point violation.  Both are class 2 misdemeanors, assuming no injuries.

Or if you are driving in a manner consist with the expectations of the Colorado Vehicle Code – but something or someone else causes you to stop suddenly or swerve, again, resulting in a minor accident – if the cops come out you would most likely get a traffic ticket for following to close or failure to maintain lane.  BUT how would an officer know if you were doing any of those activities, the resulting collision is NOT enough to prove you did or did not drive in such a manner.

If you are accused of a traffic violation as a result of careful, caution driving; but it resulted in an accident, does not mean that you are guilty of the alleged driving offense.  Most times, cops believe it is their duty to write the ticket, but the standard they work on is probable cause.  The government still has the burden to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

If I Am in a Small Accident- What Do I Have To Do and Can I Avoid a Traffic Ticket?

If you are in a minor accident, where there is damage to another person’s property, car, fence, ECT; but NO INJURIES, C.R.S. 42-2-1602 requires that you do the following:

  1. Stop your car at the scene (yes that’s in the code as an element)
  2. Exchange the following information (C.S.R. 42-2-1603):
    1. Name
    2. Address
    3. Vehicle registration number
    4. Show driver’s license if requested

If you hit a parked car- you are still required to leave your information in a place that the owner can readily find it, AFTER first trying to contact the owner or user of the vehicle.  See C.S.R. 42-4-1604

 Do We Have to Contact the Police If It’s a Minor Accident?

 Yes, C.S.R. 42-2-1606 requires or puts a duty on you to report any accident.  Further the DMV requires a written accident report if the property damage exceeds $100.00.  BUT your duty is only to report that there was an accident, you do not have to admit anything to the cops that would subject you to a traffic ticket.   You can tell officers that proper information was exchanged and ASK to be dismissed from the accident scene.

For more information on what your rights are- visit our older posts such as:  What Happens After an Arrest and Miranda- when is it required.

If you have more questions or comments regarding this traffic tickets, ask a question on our Facebook post or contact us today at (303) 747-4686.