General Questions and Answers
Q. Am I eligible for a plea offer from the city attorney?
A. The Boulder Municipal Court began an automatic plea bargaining system for all traffic infractions (4 points or less), which was effective March 15, 2004. If the back of your summons mentions the new system, upon your guilty plea and payment, your charge will be amended to a lower charge. If the back of your summons does not mention the new plea bargain system, you may receive a letter from the city attorney offering you the point reduction or you may come to court to receive the plea offer.
Q. If I accept the automatic plea offer, what will be reported to my driving record?
A. Under the new automatic plea bargaining system, charges will be amended as follows:
Q. This is my first ticket, is there a class I can take so that the ticket is dismissed?
A. No. The point reduction above is the best offer the city attorney is willing to give you, even if you come to court or take a traffic class.
Q. Where can I make my payment if I do not want to contest my ticket?
A. The Municipal Court Violations Bureau at the Boulder County Justice Center will take payments Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We have a drop box outside of the Justice Center for after-hours payments, or you may mail your payment. For the Justice Center location and mailing address, please click here.
Q. Who do I make my payment out to?
A. City of Boulder.
Q. What if I can't pay my fine by the court date or the due date? Can I get an extension?
A. Fines and costs are due on the date that you either plead guilty or are found guilty after trial. In rare cases, the court will grant brief extensions of the payment due date. After the court has imposed your fine, you may complete an application for a stay of your payment obligation. Your application will be reviewed by the judge or the court's staff. The court charges a $15 stay fee. Please see the judge's standing order Re: Payment of Fines, Costs, Fees, Etc.
Q. How can I contest this ticket?
A. For most violations, you will need to appear in court on the date set forth on your ticket and request a trial, which will be set for a future date. This includes traffic violations and general offenses (e.g. criminal charges, animal violations, code violations, etc.).
For information about contesting parking violations, view the Parking Ticket Appeal page from the menu on the left.
For information about contesting Photo Enforcement violations, view the Photo Enforcement page from the menu on the left and click on Helpful Information.
Impounds of animals or vehicles may be contested by going to the Municipal Court Administrative Office window and filling out a form requesting a hearing. If it is a vehicle that was impounded, you must post a $25 hearing fee.
Q. How do I change or reset my court date?
A. If your court date has not previously been reset and is currently set for arraignment or disposition, we can reset the court date one time only, which can be accomplished by phone. If your case has already been reset once or is set for any other type of court appearance, then you must appear on your court date unless the court has granted your written request to change the hearing date.
Q. Can I meet with the city attorney before my court date?
A. The city attorney will not meet with you before you have been advised of your rights by the judge.
Q. How long will my court appearance take?
A. Arraignment is your first court appearance which can last up to three hours. Once everyone has assembled, the court clerk will give the group some information about court procedures. Next, one of the prosecutors from the City Attorney's Office will describe their plea-bargaining practices and answer questions. Then, the judge will advise defendants of their rights and begin to process cases individually.
Court trials can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, although the average is about 45 minutes. However, since several trials are scheduled at the same time, be prepared to wait for other trials to be completed before your trial begins.
Jury trials are set for a full day, although the typical jury trial is often completed by mid-afternoon.
Other court proceedings are brief and do not involve long wait times.
Q. Can I take traffic school to reduce the number of points that might be assessed?
A. It is up to the city attorney to decide what type of plea offer to make in each case. Keep in mind that the court, on its own, may order that you complete traffic school as part of the penalty imposed in your case.
Q. What fines and costs should I expect to pay?
A. Traffic infractions: The maximum penalty that may be imposed for a traffic infraction is a $500 fine, or $1,000 if the infraction occurred in a marked school or construction zone, plus $25 in court costs.
Traffic offenses: These are the more serious traffic charges such as inattentive driving, reckless driving, etc. The maximum penalty for a traffic offense is up to 90 days in jail, up to a $1000 fine, plus $25 in court costs. The court may also order probation for up to two years.
General offenses: These types of offenses include code and criminal violations. The maximum penalty that may be imposed for a general offense violation is 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, plus $25 in court costs. The court may also order probation for up to two years.
Q. What if I miss my court date?
A. If you miss your court date, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. In addition, a default judgment may enter, meaning that the points for the charge may be assessed against your driving privilege. The fine will be automatically imposed and a hold may be placed on your driver's license. If a warrant has been issued, you may appear in court (call first to arrange a date and time), you may write a letter to the judge explaining why you missed your court date, or you can post a cash bond. You may be arrested at any time if a warrant has been issued, so it is advisable to exercise one of these options quickly.
If a default judgment has been entered and more than thirty days have elapsed since the entry of the default, the court has no authority to set aside the default. In that situation, the fines and costs must be paid in full before the court will clear the hold on your license. If it has been less than 30 days since the entry of the default, the court has the authority to set aside the default, but will do so only in those rare cases where there has been a showing of good cause or excusable neglect.
Q. How do I get an extension on my time to complete community service?
A. You can either call one of the case managers listed on the back of the community service form or put your request in writing to a judge. These requests must be made before the community service completion deadline. The court may impose additional costs and penalties for failure to timely complete community service obligations.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 07:49