Traffic Offenses, Summons & Complaint Process

Summons & Complaint Process

If you have been issued a Citation or a Summons, you have the option of choosing not to contest the Citation or Summons either by entering a plea by mail in some cases or by appearing in Court at the date and time noted on your Summons or Citation and doing one of the following:

  • Provide payment in the amount noted on your Citation or Summons
  • Enter a guilty plea and proceed to sentencing by the judge
  • Accept a plea agreement if one is offered by the prosecuting attorney

If you contest the Citation or Summons, you must appear in Court and enter a not-guilty plea, and your case will be set for trial.

Traffic Citation

Read your traffic Citation carefully. Be sure to review the instructions on the back of the form. If the box marked Summons in red is checked, then you must appear in Court on the date written. If the box marked Penalty Assessment in black is checked, then you either pay the fine listed or appear in Court. You will see a section below as to the plea bargain that is being offered to you. Note that the fine imposed is based on the original offense charged, although the offer would result in fewer points to be imposed on your driver's license if you accept.

To Accept Plea Offer

If you wish to accept the plea offer, sign and return the Summons with the entry of appearance, waiver of rights, and plea of guilty to the reduced charge on the back of the Summons no later than three days before your scheduled Court date.

Guilty Verdict

If you come to Court and are found guilty, be advised that the fine imposed by the judge in Court may be higher based upon your driving history and whether or not an accident was involved. In addition, Court costs of $30 will be added.

Failure to Pay or Appear in Court

If you fail to either pay or appear on your Court date, one of two results is possible.

  • If you had the option of paying in advance (that is, the "penalty assessment" box was marked), and you fail to appear, a default judgment will enter against you in an amount up to $1,000. The default will be reported to the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, and the division may cancel your driver's license.
  • If you were required to appear in Court because the "Summons" box was marked, and you fail to appear, a warrant will be issued for your arrest, and you will be charged with a separate offense of failure to appear. This charge carries a possible punishment of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1000, or both, in addition to any sentence on the original charge.