What Are Citizen Signed Complaints?
Drunk driving is a significant problem in Colorado. Last year, drunk driving statistics showed that 208 Coloradans died as the result of drunk driving crashes. That was roughly a third of all traffic fatalities for the year, and represented an 18% increase over 2019. Among all of CDOT’s concerns, DUI’s are near the top of the list year after year. It is the same with Colorado State Patrol, Boulder County Sheriff, and law enforcement agencies across the state. It’s why law enforcement encourages motorists to report suspected drunk drivers by calling CSP at *277, or local law enforcement if within city limits.
There is also another option. It’s lesser-known and not as common, but it just might save a life. That option is what is known as a citizen-signed complaint. A citizen-signed complaint essentially allows members of the public to sign an affidavit stating they witnessed a traffic violation. At this point, law enforcement has the option to issue a traffic citation to the alleged offender. The offender then has the option to appear in court or pay the ticket. If they choose the former, the witness must appear to testify. Then it’s up to the court to determine if the defendant is guilty or innocent.
Several communities such as Woodland Park, Denver, and others throughout the state allow this practice. Each has its own rules and requirements. For instance, Colorado Springs and Denver require photographic or video proof before they will issue a citation. In Boulder, citizens can file complaints with the Boulder Police Department whose officers will review the evidence and witness statements before determining whether to issue a citation.
Colorado’s drunk driving statistics underscore the reality that law enforcement agencies have been unable to stop every drunk driver on the road. In fact, the vast majority of drunk drivers are not apprehended. The citizen reporting systems are intended to help close that gap and bring the state’s drunk driving statistics, red light accident statistics, and other causes of motor vehicle accidents down. The bottom line is that if you see something, you can–and should–say something. It’s the best way to stop a drunk driver before they can cause a fatal accident.
For more about drunk driving statistics in Colorado, contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. at (303) 447-1144. It is our pleasure to answer your questions and tell you more about your legal options following a DUI accident.
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