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As a driver in the state of Colorado, it’s important to understand the many rules of the road. For example, when you find yourself moving toward a traffic signal, it’s time to consider your options for proceeding: Is the light green? Do you have enough time to stop if it turns yellow? Will you try to “beat” a red light? Do you have a good reason for running the light? Not only is it dangerous to you and other drivers to speed through a red light, but it can also result in trouble with the law in the form of a red light traffic ticket. Our Denver traffic ticket defense lawyer explains the legality of red light cameras in Colorado, how they work, and most importantly, how to fight a red light camera ticket.

Are red light cameras legal in Colorado?

It’s true that law enforcement officers are on the lookout for anyone who runs a red light. However, that’s not the only way you can find yourself in trouble. According to the Colorado General Assembly, red light cameras are legal in the state and are considered a form of Automated Vehicle Identification Systems (AVIS), along with photo speed vans. So, even if you think you’ve made it through a red light without trouble, that’s not necessarily the case. A red light camera may have caught you in the act.

Here’s how a red light camera works:

  • The system activates when motion is detected prior to the stop bar after the traffic signal has turned red.
  • A first rear image of your vehicle is shot.
  • A second rear image of your vehicle is shot. 
  • A license plate image is taken.
  • The system records all pertinent data, including the duration of the yellow and red lights, time of day, and the date. 

Red light cameras are designed to record a 12-second digital video of any violation. This includes six seconds before the light turns red and six seconds after. 

Even though automated vehicle identification systems are legal in Colorado, local jurisdictions are required by law to post signs indicating that cameras are in place. This is an important detail, as it may work in your favor as your Denver traffic ticket lawyer devises a defense strategy.

How much is a red light camera ticket in Denver?

Throughout the state of Colorado, the maximum penalty for a violation captured by a red light camera is $75. In the event of a red light camera ticket, no points will be assessed to your driving record. This is in contrast to a more traditional red light violation, which generally results in four points. If you’re caught on camera running a red light, you can expect to receive a notice of violation in the mail within 90 days.

How to get a red light camera ticket dismissed in Colorado

man receiving red light traffic ticket in the mail
Before you pay your red light camera ticket, consult with our experienced Denver traffic lawyer to review possible defense strategies.

The last thing you want to find in your mailbox is a notice of violation. However, with these cameras all over the Denver area, there could come a point when this happens. Your first instinct is to pay the $75 fine to put this behind you. While that’s an option, you don’t necessarily need to go down this path. There are many steps you and your Denver traffic lawyer can take to get your red light camera ticket dismissed:

  • Prove that you were not behind the wheel: The notice of violation is mailed to the vehicle owner, who is not necessarily the driver. If you can prove that you were not behind the wheel — such as by showing that you were at work at the time — you can avoid the fine. 
  • You don’t have to explain who was driving: Just because you can prove that you weren’t driving doesn’t mean you have to tell the state who was. 
  • Inspect the intersection: Red light camera zones in Colorado must be marked as such. So, before you pay your ticket, inspect the intersection for such signage. You may be surprised to find that it either doesn’t exist or is too difficult to spot while driving.
  • Cite your reason: Running a red light is dangerous, but there are times when it may be necessary. For example, if the roadway was too wet to slam on your brakes, you may have no choice but to slow down and coast through the red light. The same holds true if you’re in an emergency situation, such as rushing a loved one to a local hospital.

Fight back against a red light camera ticket with an experienced Denver traffic lawyer

If you find yourself holding a red light camera ticket in Colorado and have concerns about taking the right approach, consult with an experienced Denver traffic defense lawyer. You may find that you have strong legal defenses in your case that can help get your traffic ticket dismissed. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC we have over a decade of experience defending drivers against various types of traffic tickets. Contact us online or give us a call to schedule your free consultation and discuss your legal options. 


Our Denver traffic ticket defense lawyer explains the penalties for a red light camera ticket in Colorado and how to fight it.

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