Colorado traffic infractions are civil driving violations punishable by $15 to $100 in fines and surcharges but no jail. Class A traffic infractions also carry DMV points, but class B traffic infractions do not. Failure to pay the ticket on time – or failure to appear in court to fight the citation – will cause the defendant’s driver’s license suspended.
In this article, our Colorado criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What are Colorado traffic infractions?
- 2. What is the sentence for traffic infractions in Colorado?
- 3. Will I lose my license for not paying?
- 4. What are some examples?
- 5. Can traffic infractions be sealed?
- 6. What happens if I miss a court appearance?
- 7. Am I entitled to a jury trial by jury?
- 8. Can I keep my firearms?
1. What are Colorado traffic infractions?
Traffic infractions are Colorado driving violations that are civil, not criminal. So whereas misdemeanor traffic offenses carry potential jail time, traffic infractions are punished only by fines and potentially DMV points.
There are two types of traffic infractions in Colorado. The most serious are class A traffic infractions, and the least serious are class B traffic infractions. During the traffic stop for the alleged violation, the police officer will issue the driver a penalty assessment notice.1
2. What is the sentence for traffic infractions in Colorado?
Both class A and B traffic infractions in Colorado carry $15 to $100 in fines and a surcharge. Only class A traffic infractions also carry DMV points. Accruing too many DMV points can cause the defendant’s driver’s license to be suspended.2
Defendants may ask to perform useful public service / community service in lieu of paying a fine.
3. Will I lose my license for not paying?
Yes. Skipping out on paying the penalty assessment for a traffic infraction in Colorado will trigger an outstanding judgment warrant (OJW). The Colorado Department of Revenue (DMV) can then revoke or refuse to renew the defendant’s license.
Defendants who drive with a OJW commit a class A traffic infraction for driving under restraint (CRS 42-2-138).3 After the defendant pays the fine for an overdue ticket, he/she must apply to reinstate the license and pay an additional $95 fee.
4. What are some examples?
Five common examples of class A traffic infractions in Colorado include:
- Driving under restraint due to outstanding judgment (CRS 42-2-138)
- Underage DUI (first offense)
- Driving through a safety zone (CRS 42-4-806)
- Driving with open container of alcohol (CRS 42-4-1305)
- Driving with an open container of marijuana (CRS 42-4-1305.5)
See the state government’s official list of class A traffic infractions.
Five common examples of class B traffic infractions in Colorado include:
- Driving with an expired license (CRS 42-2-101), expired less than one year
- Permitting an unauthorized person to drive (CRS 42-2-140)
- Permitting an unauthorized minor to drive (CRS 42-2-139)
- Driving without license plates (CRS 42-3-202)
- Driving a motor vehicle without a seat belt (CRS 42-4-237)
See the state government’s official list of class B traffic infractions.
5. Can traffic infractions be sealed?
No. Traffic infractions in Colorado stay on the defendant’s driving records forever.4
Learn more about Colorado criminal record seals.
6. What happens if I miss a court appearance?
Defendants who skip court hearings and fail to pay their Colorado traffic infraction fine will have a judgment taken out against them. The DMV can then revoke their license until the penalty assessment gets paid.
Note that courts do not order an issuance of bench warrants for ignoring traffic infraction tickets.5
7. Am I entitled to a trial by jury?
No. But Colorado motorists cited for traffic infractions can have a bench trial for their final hearing, where a county court- or municipal court judge decides the verdict. But even though infractions are civil matters, the prosecutor still has the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.6
8. Can I keep my firearms?
Yes. Traffic infractions do not affect gun rights under Colorado state law.7
Arrested for a criminal offense or cited for a traffic violation in Colorado? Our traffic and criminal defense lawyers negotiate aggressively with the district attorney in attempt to get the case reduced or dismissed. We create attorney-client relationships in many county and municipality throughout the state of Colorado, including Denver, Colorado Springs, and Greeley. We are available seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Disclaimer: Results cannot be guaranteed.
Go to our main Colorado infractions page.
See our related traffic law articles on careless driving (CRS 42-4-1402), exceeding the posted speed limit / speeding violations (CRS 42-4-1101) – including in a construction zone, reckless driving (CRS 42-4-1401), eluding law enforcement / peace officers / police officers (CRS 42-4-1413), DUI, and petty offenses.
- Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1701; see also People v. Burnett, (2019) CO 2, 432 P.3d 617; see also Meza v. People, (2018) CO 23, 415 P.3d 303.
- CRS 42-4-1701; CRS 42-4-1709.
- CRS 42-4-1710; CRS 42-4-1716; CRS 42-2-122; CRS 42-2-138 (under provisions of section 1.5).
- CRS 24-72-701 – 708.
- CRS 42-4-1710.
- CRS 42-4-1708.
- See CRS 18-12-108; see Colorado Constitution, Article IV, § 7.