If you’re looking for information on how the photo radar and red light camera programs are authorized under state law, then you need to visit Title 42 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. This title covers Uniform Motor Vehicle Law for the State of Colorado. Specifically look at section 42-4-110.5 for “Automated Vehicle Identification Systems”.
From here you can read all the mundane details of the state code regarding these systems. Keep in mind this is the state code and may not directly tie into the city or county code. This page or site in general is no substitute for a good lawyer in Denver’s Administrative Kangaroo Court. While Denver can write their own ordinances they can’t override state law.
The key points to look at here are what the state law effectively authorizes.
- An operator must be present in the scamera van at all times to issue citations. If you notice a van operating without an operator get out and document it. Report it to the city and the news media immediately.
- A citation cannot be issued unless the violation occurs in a school zone, residential neighborhood (streets with speed limit of 35 or less), construction area, or along a street that borders a park.
- Proper signage is required. For photo radar a temporary sign not fewer than 300 feet before the scamera trap must be posted to notify the public a fleecing operation is being conducted. If you see a scamera operating without proper signage, again, report it to the city and news media.
- The registered owner is not required to disclose the drivers of the vehicle.
- No points may be assessed against the owner or driver.
- An unpaid scamera ticket will not result in “booting” (immobilizing the vehicle).
- You must be personally served for the scamera ticket to be valid. If you are not served within 90 days, the ticket is no longer valid and thrown out of the system.
- Speeding of 25 MPH or more will not result in a scamera ticket as this is a criminal violation.
So what does this mean for the average citizen? If you know you were caught by a scamera you will receive a notice in the mail requesting that you direct a donation to ACS and The City of Denver. This letter, if sent First Class (not certified) is completely worthless and you are safe in ignoring it and any future notices that show up in your mailbox. At this time this author does not believe the City of Denver to be using certified mail to send notices. If you ignore the notices the city may send a process server to your door. From the point of the violation until 90 days after they can serve you this violation and will be required to pay it. If you effectively dodge the process server, after 90 days this ticket is tossed. During this 90 day period do not answer the door for people you do not recognize.
This author has experience with the above situation on a couple scamera tickets issued by the city. I lived in an apartment complex with a secured front door entry. During this time I was also traveling extensively for work and was not home almost every week from Monday to Thursday. While I was home I received two knocks from unknown persons at my door and did not respond. As the front door was locked and the process server did not use the call box to request entry I can only assume they “tailgated” another resident to gain access. In my mind this would be considered trespassing and could be an argument against improper process. Again, I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, so consult one if you are in doubt.
I had a conversation with my neighbor who said she noticed people knocking at my door and on one occasion they questioned her as to my whereabouts. She told them that I was traveling quite extensively at the time and she was unaware of the details of my travel schedule. He also noted to her that my car was in the garage and he felt I was home. Again, I have a feeling that browsing parked cars in the lower two garage levels of the building would be considered trespassing, but, not a lawyer. My car being parked there while I was away was quite routine as I would often take a taxi to the airport.
Also, a year prior, while living outside of the City and County of Denver in one of the farther removed burbs I received a scamera ticket and never once had a process server visit that I was aware of. If you’re from out of town, the likelihood of the city sending a process server for a $40 – $85 ticket is more remote.
While there are other ways to avoid the tickets, such as registering your wife’s car in your husbands name, and vice versa, or using a business name or private mailbox, the simplest method is to just ignore the process servers. If they do serve you then you are forced to pay the process fee. In my mind, I consider dodging them to be a safer bet than any crap table or slot machines in Vegas! If everyone stopped giving their money away the system would be completely overwhelmed and would collapse.