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DaJudge
March 7th, 2014, 11:13 AM
Break It Down: Photo Speed Radar

By Jerilyn Forsythe (http://www.5280.com/tag/authors/jerilyn-forsythe) March 6, 2014 10:45 AM

This is a monthly series that explains complex, controversial, or commonly misunderstood topics.

http://www.5280.com/sites/default/files/shutterstock_19246585.jpg

If you live in Denver, you may have had a run-in with the city’s photo radar traps. Maybe you were absent-mindedly driving down the road, at what felt like the speed of traffic, only to be brought back to the moment by an ominous flash. Or maybe you let your spouse or friend borrow your car. Regardless, you opened your mail a week later to find a ticket—and whoever was behind the wheel looks pretty foolish in the grainy photo.

Even though photo speed radar has been around since 1998, the question "to pay or not to pay?" has continued to circulate. The resounding answer? Pay. Here’s why.

Break It Down

You’ve opened your mail and there’s no unseeing the fuzzy gray snapshot of your car cruising eight miles per hour over the speed limit near your neighborhood elementary school. (The ticket is doubled, from $60 to $120, because you were in a school or work zone.) The good news: These types of violations are zero points infractions, according to the Denver Police Department (DPD), and are not reported to the Motor Vehicle Division. The bad news: You have exactly 30 days to pay—or show up to the court date printed on the ticket—before your tickets is sent to collections.

A common myth is that if you aren't served in-person, the ticket just sort of goes away. Thanks to Personal Service by Certified Mail (PSCM), which started in September 2013, this gray area no longer exists. Tickets delivered through USPS certified mail might as well be a knock on your door: You’ve been served. Unsurprisingly, payment of photo speed tickets has gone from an average of 55 percent to 85 percent since PSCM was implemented.

Good to know:


If you saw the flash and don’t receive anything in the mail for 90 days, you got lucky. The DPD has a 90-day clause on photo speed tickets.




It doesn’t matter where you live. Make sure your out-of-towners pay the fine to avoid a bigger one down the road.




There are only five vans—working two shifts, seven days a week—that operate as photo speed traps in the city of Denver. That means that if you’re not a speed demon, it shouldn't be too difficult to avoid these money-eating traps.




Read the law here (http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&blobheadername2=Content-Type&blobheadervalue1=inline%3B+filename%3D%22Colorado+Revised+Statutes%2C+Title+42%2C+Article+4%2C+Part+ 3+%26+4.pdf%22&blobheadervalue2=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251860657550&ssbinary=true).

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock (http://www.shutterstock.com/)

DaJudge
March 7th, 2014, 11:17 AM
NOTE: this article seems to say you should pay if you loaned your car to a spouse or friend and they got zapped. NOT TRUE. Send the ticket back with a statement that you are not the driver pictured. Include a Xerox of your drivers license. You DO NOT have to tell them who the pictured driver is.

jeepn4evr
March 7th, 2014, 11:33 AM
NOTE: this article seems to say you should pay if you loaned your car to a spouse or friend and they got zapped. NOT TRUE. Send the ticket back with a statement that you are not the driver pictured. Include a Xerox of your drivers license. You DO NOT have to tell them who the pictured driver is.

My uncle sold his car to someone he knew & got one of these in the mail a few weeks later. Apparently they hadn't registered car yet & still had his plates on it. He said on the back there was a section he HAD TO fill out stating he wasn't the driver & needed the name of driver & their license etc. He tracked them down & got the info & sent it in & didn't hear anything else about it.

Now being devils advocate. I got one as well & I remember the flash. I didn't think I was speeding, just keeping up with traffic but apparently I was, in a construction zone no less. Pic came & you couldn't tell who was driving as it was night. You could see my truck, the plate but anything behind the windshield nothing, looked like a ghost was driving. Now I payed it as I knew I was in the wrong, but could you get by not paying it as you can't really tell who was driving?

Waifer2112
March 7th, 2014, 11:35 AM
DaJudge, I had an experience that I thought would get me a ticket, but never received one.

I was eyeing a 4X4 next to me while in traffic in Boulder. When I looked forward the light was turning red. I hit my brakes in my POS Neon, and they locked up, sending me skidding into the intersection. While completely stopped in the middle of the intersection, the flash went off. I backed up to the white line since there was no one behind me. So I never made it all the way through the intersection, just right smack dab in the middle.

Did I not get a ticket because I didn't go through the intersection maybe?

Clod Hopper
March 7th, 2014, 11:36 AM
Wait, are you saying the government is profiting from excessive fines relying on the public being undereducated on obscure parts of the law?

Color me shocked.

Clod Hopper
March 7th, 2014, 11:37 AM
DaJudge, I had an experience that I thought would get me a ticket, but never received one.

I was eyeing a 4X4 next to me while in traffic in Boulder. When I looked forward the light was turning red. I hit my brakes in my POS Neon, and they locked up, sending me skidding into the intersection. While completely stopped in the middle of the intersection, the flash went off. I backed up to the white line since there was no one behind me. So I never made it all the way through the intersection, just right smack dab in the middle.

Did I not get a ticket because I didn't go through the intersection maybe?

license plate obscured in the voluminous tire smoke.

ZappBranigan
March 7th, 2014, 11:48 AM
DaJudge, I had an experience that I thought would get me a ticket, but never received one.

I was eyeing a 4X4 next to me while in traffic in Boulder. When I looked forward the light was turning red. I hit my brakes in my POS Neon, and they locked up, sending me skidding into the intersection. While completely stopped in the middle of the intersection, the flash went off. I backed up to the white line since there was no one behind me. So I never made it all the way through the intersection, just right smack dab in the middle.

Did I not get a ticket because I didn't go through the intersection maybe?


license plate obscured in the voluminous tire smoke.

Either that or they saw you were driving a Neon and took pity on you. :D

ZappBranigan
March 7th, 2014, 11:49 AM
[B]A common myth is that if you aren't served in-person, the ticket just sort of goes away. Thanks to Personal Service by Certified Mail (PSCM), which started in September 2013, this gray area no longer exists. Tickets delivered through USPS certified mail might as well be a knock on your door: You’ve been served. Unsurprisingly, payment of photo speed tickets has gone from an average of 55 percent to 85 percent since PSCM was implemented.

Doesn't certified mail still have to be signed for, though?

Colo.TJ
March 7th, 2014, 11:51 AM
My uncle sold his car to someone he knew & got one of these in the mail a few weeks later. Apparently they hadn't registered car yet & still had his plates on it. He said on the back there was a section he HAD TO fill out stating he wasn't the driver & needed the name of driver & their license etc. He tracked them down & got the info & sent it in & didn't hear anything else about it.

Now being devils advocate. I got one as well & I remember the flash. I didn't think I was speeding, just keeping up with traffic but apparently I was, in a construction zone no less. Pic came & you couldn't tell who was driving as it was night. You could see my truck, the plate but anything behind the windshield nothing, looked like a ghost was driving. Now I payed it as I knew I was in the wrong, but could you get by not paying it as you can't really tell who was driving?

Been a few years but I got one and you could not see the driver in the pic. All washed out and black. I sent it back stating I was NOT the driver and there was NO requirement to give them WHO the driver was. :shrug:

Maybe it changed but I doubt it.

shadetreezj
March 7th, 2014, 11:53 AM
The photo speed vans are deployed on residential streets with a posted speed limit of 35 MPH or less, on streets bordering parks with any posted speed limit, and in safety zones, which include School zones and Work zones throughout the City and County of Denver. Scheduled deployments are based on best use of resources and occur during during two shifts from 6:00 am to 9:30 pm.

http://www.denvergov.org/police/PoliceDepartment/TrafficEnforcement/PhotoRadarRedLight/tabid/441407/Default.aspx

shadetreezj
March 7th, 2014, 11:55 AM
NOTE: this article seems to say you should pay if you loaned your car to a spouse or friend and they got zapped. NOT TRUE. Send the ticket back with a statement that you are not the driver pictured. Include a Xerox of your drivers license. You DO NOT have to tell them who the pictured driver is.


From http://www.denvergov.org/police/PoliceDepartment/TrafficEnforcement/PhotoRadarRedLight/tabid/441407/Default.aspx

If you feel the wrong vehicle or person was cited please call the Photo Enforcement Unit for a review while you are on the phone. This phone review will not address whether you are the pictured driver but will address whether the right person or vehicle is cited as in violation.

rubbersidedown
March 7th, 2014, 11:55 AM
DaJudge, I had an experience that I thought would get me a ticket, but never received one.

I was eyeing a 4X4 next to me while in traffic in Boulder. When I looked forward the light was turning red. I hit my brakes in my POS Neon, and they locked up, sending me skidding into the intersection. While completely stopped in the middle of the intersection, the flash went off. I backed up to the white line since there was no one behind me. So I never made it all the way through the intersection, just right smack dab in the middle.

Did I not get a ticket because I didn't go through the intersection maybe?

"Red Light Camera's" also shoot video. So they most likely watched the video and then tossed it. I got a red light ticket, and after looking at the "photos" on the ticket, not one showed me running a red light. (I was turning right on a red). I was all set to call and tell them to FO, when I saw the fine print said "To see the video please visit www.blahblahblah". Sure as shit, I california stopped the red light before I turned right.

DaJudge
March 7th, 2014, 12:00 PM
Doesn't certified mail still have to be signed for, though?

Nope. Colorado Municipal Court Rule 204:

(e) Service of Summons and Complaint. A copy of a summons or summons and complaint issued pursuant to these rules shall be served personally upon the defendant. In lieu of personal service, service may be made by leaving a copy of the summons or summons and complaint at the defendant's usual place of abode with some person over the age of eighteen years residing therein or by mailing a copy to the defendant's last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested, not less than 7 days prior to the time the defendant is required to appear.

rubbersidedown
March 7th, 2014, 12:00 PM
Doesn't certified mail still have to be signed for, though?

I think the mail carrier can act as the signer, and signs something to state that he/she did in fact put it in your mailbox.

DaJudge
March 7th, 2014, 12:11 PM
I think the mail carrier can act as the signer, and signs something to state that he/she did in fact put it in your mailbox.

NO. Service is complete when it is deposited in the mail under Colorado Court Rules and case law. If you fail to appear the cops fill out a Certificate of Service. Attach the dated receipt with the USPS stamp on it and we send it to the collection agency.

ZappBranigan
March 7th, 2014, 12:21 PM
My uncle sold his car to someone he knew & got one of these in the mail a few weeks later. Apparently they hadn't registered car yet & still had his plates on it. He said on the back there was a section he HAD TO fill out stating he wasn't the driver & needed the name of driver & their license etc. He tracked them down & got the info & sent it in & didn't hear anything else about it.


And this is why you ALWAYS keep the license plates when you sell a vehicle. ;)



Now being devils advocate. I got one as well & I remember the flash. I didn't think I was speeding, just keeping up with traffic but apparently I was, in a construction zone no less. Pic came & you couldn't tell who was driving as it was night. You could see my truck, the plate but anything behind the windshield nothing, looked like a ghost was driving. Now I payed it as I knew I was in the wrong, but could you get by not paying it as you can't really tell who was driving?

I believe the policeman who sends out the ticket is supposed to verify that the person in the ticket is the person registered to the vehicle, so if the face is obscure or if the person is obviously not the same one who is registered, they're not supposed to mail it out. OTOH, they may just mail it out anyway figuring that some percentage of the people who recieve a ticket will just go ahead and pay it. As far as stating it's not you in the picture, IIRC the ticket has you signing under penalty of perjury that you are not the person pictured, so I guess it depends on whether you want to perjure yourself. :shrug:

DaJudge
March 7th, 2014, 12:27 PM
"Red Light Camera's" also shoot video. So they most likely watched the video and then tossed it. I got a red light ticket, and after looking at the "photos" on the ticket, not one showed me running a red light. (I was turning right on a red). I was all set to call and tell them to FO, when I saw the fine print said "To see the video please visit www.blahblahblah". Sure as shit, I california stopped the red light before I turned right.

You always have the right to a trial where the prosecutor has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you were the driver. I can, and have, dismissed cases where the photos were so bad that you couldn't tell who was depicted. This week a prosecutor dismissed one of these even though I thought the defendant was the driver but had just grown a mustache since the photo was taken. Trials are always a crap-shoot. :shrug:

tacotoy
March 7th, 2014, 01:21 PM
You always have the right to a trial where the prosecutor has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you were the driver. I can, and have, dismissed cases where the photos were so bad that you couldn't tell who was depicted. This week a prosecutor dismissed one of these even though I thought the defendant was the driver but had just grown a mustache since the photo was taken. Trials are always a crap-shoot. :shrug:

note to self..... always shave or stop shaving if i get a photo radar ticket so that way i can get out of it lol

ZappBranigan
March 7th, 2014, 01:30 PM
Better yet, just wear a fake beard whenever you drive! :D

goofyjumper
March 7th, 2014, 02:31 PM
Better yet, just wear a fake beard whenever you drive! :D

I wear a Stig helmet.

Clod Hopper
March 7th, 2014, 02:50 PM
http://d24w6bsrhbeh9d.cloudfront.net/photo/6695467_700b.jpg

R0CKET
March 7th, 2014, 03:37 PM
http://d24w6bsrhbeh9d.cloudfront.net/photo/6695467_700b.jpg

:spit:

Packman5280
March 7th, 2014, 04:03 PM
NO. Service is complete when it is deposited in the mail under Colorado Court Rules and case law. If you fail to appear the cops fill out a Certificate of Service. Attach the dated receipt with the USPS stamp on it and we send it to the collection agency.

i'm honestly not arguing, but you're telling me they don't have to even know it landed in your mail box to say you were served? like mail never gets lost or goes undelivered? wow, seems like they should use a different word then, as it sure doesn't sounds like anyone is being served.

What is the difference between a certified letter and regular letter then? if certified doesn't actually mean they verify it went where it was supposed to, then what's the difference? are they just certifying they put it in the mailbox?

bsaunder
March 7th, 2014, 04:19 PM
NO. Service is complete when it is deposited in the mail under Colorado Court Rules and case law. If you fail to appear the cops fill out a Certificate of Service. Attach the dated receipt with the USPS stamp on it and we send it to the collection agency.

Sucks if you are on vacation...

rubbersidedown
March 7th, 2014, 05:10 PM
You always have the right to a trial where the prosecutor has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you were the driver. I can, and have, dismissed cases where the photos were so bad that you couldn't tell who was depicted. This week a prosecutor dismissed one of these even though I thought the defendant was the driver but had just grown a mustache since the photo was taken. Trials are always a crap-shoot. :shrug:

Oh No, My face could clearly be seen in the pics. Put the pics of my Jeep were clearly behind the line with the brake lights on. It wasn't until I watched the video that I could be seen slowing down for the corner, and "pausing ever so slightly" before making the turn.

ni0h
March 7th, 2014, 05:33 PM
http://d24w6bsrhbeh9d.cloudfront.net/photo/6695467_700b.jpg
I'm pretty sure it's illegal to drive with a mask on, but if a lot of tickets get discarded because of masks, they'll come up with a law to buttress the bad one - make it illegal to possess a mask in a motor vehicle - the way they came up with the laws against "secret compartments".

Oh No, My face could clearly be seen in the pics. Put the pics of my Jeep were clearly behind the line with the brake lights on. It wasn't until I watched the video that I could be seen slowing down for the corner, and "pausing ever so slightly" before making the turn.
If "pausing" means "stopped moving", that is a stop. Unless they're going to legally specify the duration of a stop, it means wheels in contact with the road and not turning or sliding.

rubbersidedown
March 7th, 2014, 05:37 PM
I clearly never came to a complete stop! Damn close, but no.

DaJudge
March 8th, 2014, 11:05 AM
i'm honestly not arguing, but you're telling me they don't have to even know it landed in your mail box to say you were served? like mail never gets lost or goes undelivered? wow, seems like they should use a different word then, as it sure doesn't sounds like anyone is being served.

What is the difference between a certified letter and regular letter then? if certified doesn't actually mean they verify it went where it was supposed to, then what's the difference? are they just certifying they put it in the mailbox?
What can I say...it's an imperfect world. At least these cases don't allow service by publication.

What's that, you ask?

service by publication

n. serving a summons or other legal document in a lawsuit on a defendant by publishing the document in an advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation. Service by publication is used to give "constructive notice" to a defendant who is intentionally absent, in hiding, unknown (as a possible descendant of a former landowner), and only when allowed by a judge's order based on a sworn declaration of the inability to find the defendant after "due diligence" (trying hard). Service by publication is commonly used in a divorce action to serve a spouse who has disappeared without leaving a forwarding address or to give notice to people who might have a right to object to a "quiet title" action to clear title to real property.

ETA: Certified mail gives you proof from the Post Office that you mailed something. There is no proof of mailing with regular mail. Proof of mailing is vital because service is complete upon mailing.

Don S
March 8th, 2014, 01:16 PM
..

One can tell who the people that are over 65 years old in my neighborhood because they are the only ones with a news paper in the front yard every morning.

Dang… how’d I get so old that I still read newspapers… Don S..

Grant H.
March 8th, 2014, 02:43 PM
DaJudge, I had an experience that I thought would get me a ticket, but never received one.

I was eyeing a 4X4 next to me while in traffic in Boulder. When I looked forward the light was turning red. I hit my brakes in my POS Neon, and they locked up, sending me skidding into the intersection. While completely stopped in the middle of the intersection, the flash went off. I backed up to the white line since there was no one behind me. So I never made it all the way through the intersection, just right smack dab in the middle.

Did I not get a ticket because I didn't go through the intersection maybe?

I got to see a lot of the Boulder Traffic stuff since I helped with their radio systems for a while.

They take multiple photos in succession, and would have seen that you did actually get stopped and backed up. Hence no ticket.

I have had the same happen to me.