The time periods set for the statute of limitations varies from state to state and from situation to situation. The underlying concept behind setting these statutes of limitation is to avoid trying cases where the accused (criminal trials) or the defendant (civil trials) may be tried on the basis of evidence or memories degraded in quality by the passage of time. The statute of limitations for traffic tickets in Colorado is covered in section 16-5-401 of the state code.
Class I Violations
Class I, sometimes referred to as Class A, traffic violations are considered misdemeanors in Colorado. The statute of limitations for traffic tickets in Colorado for Class I violations is one year. Class I violations include, but are not limited to, most speed-related offenses. Accidents resulting in minor personal injury may also be considered Class I, but the determination depends on the severity of the injuries sustained.
Class II Violations
Class II violations are classified as more serious infractions such as driving in excess of 25 mph over the posted speed limit or "careless" driving. Traffic tickets issued for these infractions also carry a statute of limitations of one year in Colorado.
As with most states, Colorado has certain criteria that define when the statute of limitations is postponed or nonapplicable. If the accused is absent from the state, the statute of limitations is postponed until the individual returns to Colorado or for a maximum of five years after the date of issue for the ticket.