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  1. #1

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    Driving a defective vehicle

    Jurisdiction / State: Colorado

    I just got a ticket for driving a defective vehicle here in the state of colorado. The "defective" part was that my two main brake lights, I guess, were not working. However, the middle brake light (in the rear window) was working correctly. I was pulled over on a freeway here, and the officer had no other reason to pull me over. He simply said "did you know your brake lights are out?" to which I, of course, denied. Then issued me a $50 ticket for driving a defective vehicle.

    This is not a "fix-it" ticket.

    Also, since I was on a hwy, can the officer really tell that my brakes lights were out, since that is the reason he pulled me over.

    Should I fight this?


  2. Registered User Samaritan & Scholar
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    Perhaps Colorado law is different, but typically this IS a fix-it ticket.

    No, you can't fight this. The officer stopped you for a legitimate reason. The law requires you to have two red brake lights, one on each side... the center one is there for safety reasons but is not a required light.

    What you can do, if you find that the officer cited you for the wrong section, is seek a modification of the citation.

    What is the Vehicle Code section you were cited for? If cited under 42-4-202, you were cited incorrectly. It sounds like you should be cited under 42-4-208.


    42-4-208. Stop lamps and turn signals.
    (1) Every motor vehicle or motor-drawn vehicle shall be equipped with a stop light in good working order at all times and shall meet the requirements of section 42-4-215 (1).

    42-4-215. Signal lamps and devices - additional lighting equipment.
    (1) Any motor vehicle may be equipped, and when required under this article shall be equipped, with a stop lamp or lamps on the rear of the vehicle which, except as provided in section 42-4-215.5, shall display a red or amber light, or any shade of color between red and amber, visible from a distance of not less than one hundred feet to the rear in normal sunlight, and which shall be actuated upon application of the service (foot) brake, and which may but need not be incorporated with one or more other rear lamps. Such stop lamp or lamps may also be automatically actuated by a mechanical device when the vehicle is reducing speed or stopping. If two or more stop lamps are installed on any motor vehicle, any device actuating such lamps shall be so designed and installed that all stop lamps are actuated by such device.



    42-4-202. Unsafe vehicles - penalty - identification plates.
    (1) It is unlawful for any person to drive or move or for the owner to cause or knowingly permit to be driven or moved on any highway any vehicle or combination of vehicles which is in such unsafe condition as to endanger any person, or which does not contain those parts or is not at all times equipped with such lamps and other equipment in proper condition and adjustment as required in this section and sections 42-4-204 to 42-4-231 and part 3 of this article, or which is equipped in any manner in violation of said sections and part 3 or for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required under said sections and part 3.

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    I was indeed cited under 42-4-202.

    How would I go about a modification of the citation? Thats new to me.

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    One of two ways- either try to contact the officer or a supervisor and explain the discrepancy to see if they can take care of the problem, or address it in court.

    The officer can amend the citation to the proper charge, which then would allow you to handle it as a normal fix-it ticket. You might be told that the citation has already been submitted and it is out of their hands... in which case you gripe to whoever you can about the officers goof and the undue hardship it has created for you... then go to court.

    In court the officer will have to explain why your vehicle was unsafe per 42-4-202 (how did it endanger others, what equipment was missing) and you will have opportunity to ask questions. If the judge agrees that you were not in violation of that section then it may be dismissed altogether... or might adjust the charge as necessary.... but if you have since fixed the problem and can give evidence of that in court, it will probably be handled as a fix-it.

    I suspect if you fix the lights and contact the right people at the PD you might be able to avoid court.

    All this is assuming there are not other safety issues with the car... if it really was just brake lights then you should be cited under 208.

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