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Colorado Traffic Laws

As a Colorado driver, you might navigate highway rush hours, scenic mountain routes, and busy cities like the Denver metro. Be ready to make fast decisions without breaking the law.

Understanding the state laws in Colorado can help you prevent car accidents and traffic tickets. Drive within these laws to avoid a run-in with the Colorado State Patrol or local police officers.

State Laws for Driving and Vehicles

See specific traffic laws from the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) in the chart below.

Drinking & Driving Violations Driving under the influence (CRS 42-4-1301)
Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License Licenses for drivers required (CRS 42-2-101)
Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (CRS Title 42 Article 7)
Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration Registration required - exemptions (CRS 42-3-103)
Illegal U-Turn Limitations on turning around (CRS 42-4-902)
Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & Run Accidents involving death or personal injuries - duty (CRS 42-4-1601)Accidents involving damage - duty (CRS 42-4-1602)
Mechanical Violations Regulation of Vehicles and Traffic: Equipment (CRS 42-4-201 to 42-4-239)
Reckless Driving Reckless driving - penalty (CRS 42-4-1401)
Running a Red Light / Stop Sign Obedience to official traffic control devices (CRS 42-4-603)
Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations Safety belt systems (CRS 42-4-237)Child restraint systems required (CRS 42-4-236)
Speeding Speed limits (CRS 42-4-1101)
Unlawful Vehicle Modifications Regulation of Vehicles and Traffic: Equipment (CRS 42-4-201 to 42-4-239)

Online Resources for Colorado Drivers

Motorists in the state of Colorado can access the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) online to apply for a driver's license, register a vehicle, and more. However, you must contact a county court or sheriff's office to pay a ticket or schedule a traffic court hearing.

You can also learn about traffic regulations and the rules of the road in the Colorado Driver Handbook. Practice exams are available through the DMV website to test your knowledge.

Key Colorado Driving Laws

Here is a quick list of Colorado's driving rules that newcomers should know:

  • You can turn right at a red light unless a sign prohibits it at the specific intersection. The same rule applies to making a left turn on a one-way street.
  • Teen drivers can't use a cell phone while driving. As an adult, you can use your cell phone to talk on the phone, but scrolling or texting while driving is illegal.
  • You do not have to stop for a bus on the other side of a divided road with a barrier.
  • Cyclists must follow the same rules as vehicles, including riding with the flow of traffic and following the usual right-of-way standards.

When driving between cities, stay alert of potential traffic changes. Local governments may have more rules beyond the state law. Many areas of Colorado use a modified version of the Model Traffic Code, which expands but doesn't contradict state laws.

Traffic Violations in Colorado

If a law enforcement officer pulls you over in Colorado, you might get a traffic ticket. In a serious case like driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), you might face criminal traffic offense charges.

Colorado's penalties usually involve fines, potential jail time, and driver's license points. Your penalties can depend on the specific violation and your driving record.

For example, the fine for a speeding ticket can fall between $36 and $232 if your speed is less than 25 mph above the speed limit, a Class A traffic infraction. This type of violation doesn't lead to jail, but driving even faster can be a Class 2 or Class 1 misdemeanor with much higher fines and a jail sentence of 10 days to one year.

Ticket Fines and Options

Colorado counties may add surcharges to the base fine, which fund local programs and accident victim resources. These additional costs are not optional. You generally must pay the entire fine within 20 days of receiving the ticket unless you contest it in court.

Fines and other penalties can be expensive. Many drivers struggle to pay the unexpected costs, so Colorado has a few alternatives. The DMV offers financial assistance for interlock devices. Courts may also work out payment plans at their discretion.

When To Call a Colorado Attorney

Though a traffic ticket might not seem disastrous, some situations could put your driver's license at risk. Tickets can also impose expensive fines and car insurance rate increases. The consequences may be more severe if you have a prior DUI or infraction.

Discussing your case with a local traffic law attorney can be helpful. When dealing with Colorado traffic laws, they can advise you when fighting a ticket or DUI charges and help you get the best outcome possible.

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