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5 things you need to know about red light cameras and your rights

A Denver7 360 twist to lay out fact vs. fiction
Posted at 4:25 PM, Feb 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-27 01:23:50-05

Editor's Note: Denver7 360 stories explore multiple sides of the topics that matter most Coloradans, bringing in different perspectives so you can make up your own mind about the issues. To comment on this or other 360 stories, email us at See more 360 stories here.

DENVER -- Colorado's red light camera debate is back in the spotlight, and Denver7 took a 360 view of all sides of the controversial topic.

In response to our first report, hundreds commented on our Denver7 Facebook page or sent in emails with their take on red light cameras and speed radar vans.

One thing was clear: This technology has drivers fired up. And many had questions about what rights they have when it comes to fighting these tickets.

Denver7 sat down with attorney Jude Ramirez to find out what's true and what's not when it comes to red light camera and speed radar tickets.

Here are five facts you need to know:

1. Cities have 90 days to serve drivers with a ticket: Under Colorado law, Ramirez said those who chose not to pay the fine sent in the mail for a red light camera or speed radar van violation have to be served by the city within 90 days or the ticket is invalid. Law enforcement officers do not have to personally serve you, he explained. Any adult (18+) who answers the door at the driver's home can sign for the ticket. If drivers chose not to pay the fine upon being served, Ramirez said the original $75 amount (in Denver for example) can go up. 

2. Red light camera or speed radar tickets are zero points on your license: Under the current law, Ramirez said these kinds of violations are not reported to the DMV, which means they don't affect points on your license. However, not paying a summons, he said, can hurt drivers in other areas. "It could hit your credit because they served you and you didn't take care of it," Ramirez said. 

3. Vehicle owners not driving at the time of the violation will have to prove their case: Ramirez said if a driver owns a car, and was not behind the wheel at the time of the red light or speed radar photo violation, they can get out of the ticket. But it is the owner's responsibility to prove they weren't driving. "They can't require you to tell them who was driving the vehicle, simply they can only require that it wasn't you," he explained. "So if you're a male who owns the vehicle and it's a female driving the vehicle, it's easy enough to send them a picture of your ID." 

4. Red light cameras or speed vans must have signs up warning drivers: If you see the flash go off and think you never saw a sign, drive around the block to see if you can find the sign and document any discrepancies. Ramirez said drivers could then use that evidence to dispute the ticket in court. "Be able to show them documentation. 'I took a picture on this day. There wasn't a sign,'" Ramirez said. 

5. It is illegal to block the crosswalk, and in Denver, you'll get a ticket for it: Ramirez said state law requires drivers to stop behind the white line at an intersection. If a driver's front tires stop on the crosswalk, Denver's red light cameras will take a picture and send you a smaller fine in the mail (around $40 versus $75). If a driver's front and back tires are over the white line and in the crosswalk, Ramirez said drivers would receive a ticket for the full amount of the fine for running the light. "It isn't your bumper, it's your tires, so you have to be very careful," Ramirez said. "Make sure that cities have done everything they should do or they're required to do before you have to pay this."