We’ve all found ourselves in situations where we felt the need to fight the power. With suit and notebook in hand, we march into the local circuit and demand a hearing for a minuscule traffic violation. We demand with clenched fists that the judge look into the bogus cracked windshield ticket or stop sign violation with determination. Not only are we in the right, but we were also wrongly accused. We do not deserve the fine appointed to us.
Only me? Am I the only one that’s lost my fair share of traffic violation cases?
In all seriousness, a cracked windshield ticket can seem like a ridiculous claim. A small rule being bent just to ruin your day and wallet. When it does happen, it seems to make the crack or chip on the auto glass shrink in perspective. Was it really that big? Should it really be worth a fine?
Today, we are going to dive into the laws surrounding auto glass cracks and if there is anything you can do once you receive a cracked windshield ticket.
What Is the Law Exactly?
Whether you just received a ticket, are attempting to fight one like a guns-blazing law maverick, or are thinking about driving with your windshield broken, you need to know the exact law regarding the situation. Are you in the right? Did you make the right move, or do you have grounds for a legal battle the size of a movie epic?
Jokes aside, the laws regarding cracked windshields and the reasoning behind a cracked windshield ticket depend on the state. It can be a bit dicey and subjective, though, which can stir up some controversy. Though they are all pretty much the same across the nation, it’s important to know exactly what you are working with.
Overall, there are no specific laws in the state of Colorado saying that it’s illegal to drive with a cracked or damaged windshield. Consequently, there is an adjacent law.
Colorado Revised Statute Section (CRS) 42-4-227 prohibits driving a motor vehicle with obstructed windows. Furthermore, law C.R.S. 42-4-201 prohibits driving with windshields tinted darker than 27% and broken windshield wipers.
Henceforth, if you have a crack large enough to obstruct your driving view, it’s considered illegal. Food for thought.
On the other hand, it’s entirely circumstantial and subjective. The opinion regarding the intensity of the visual obstruction depends on the viewer. You may disagree with the cop, but it’s ultimately their decision. Therefore, it’s impossible to say what exact length or degree of damage is going to get you pulled over. Just know, if it’s significant, you run the risk of a cracked windshield ticket.
On the federal side…
The federal regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation state that no crack larger than 3/4 inch in diameter, no two cracks within three inches of each other, no intersecting cracks, or cracks directly in the driver’s view should be on any operating vehicle. This is the baseline, then states piggyback off of this for stricter rules and specific laws.
As noted, Colorado doesn’t have anything building off of this. So, as long as you abide by those rules, you are fine (unless the cop deems the crack a visual obstruction overall).
Ultimately, a crack or intersecting cracks listed in the federal rule are fairly rare and extreme. If you had a crack that big, you would probably need to get it fixed to drive in general.
How Much Is the Fine?
Sometimes traffic violations can feel like significant dents to your budget. $100 for rolling through a stop sign seems outrageous, we know. Unfortunately, these are the financial penalties strapped upon us to make sure reoccurrence doesn’t happen. Oh well.
Breaking the aforementioned CRS 42-4-227 or the CRS 42-4-229 (which states cars need to have safety glazing material, which could be deemed not on your vehicle if the glass is broken too much) is considered a Class B traffic infraction.
Fortunately, Class B infractions are considered minor and lead to no DMV points on your license. They also can never lead to jail time, though a failure to pay the fine can lead to driver’s license revocation (in extreme cases).
All in all, the fine can be anywhere between $15-$100.
Can You Fight It?
If your windshield damage doesn’t meet the regulations set by federal law, you may feel the need to fight the cracked windshield ticket. As we noted, visual obstruction can be a bit subjective. You may believe the police officer was being too harsh and you have grounds for a disagreement.
Ultimately, we wouldn’t suggest taking the situation to court. You may just end up paying more in court fees than the actual ticket. And because the infraction doesn’t lead to license points, there’s no reason to fight it except for the small fee.
On the other hand, sometimes officers will allow you to erase the ticket if you bring proof to the court showing you got the windshield fixed. This will often be discussed when the ticket is administered.
What About Liability?
Here’s something to think about:
If you get into an accident and your windshield is deemed obstructed or too damaged, you could be considered liable for said accident. This would obviously lead to various fines and an increase in insurance rates.
Just another reason to get that windshield fixed before trouble arises.
Need to Fix Your Cracked Windshield After the Ticket?
Look, at this point, you already got the ticket. Now, you need to get your windshield or glass replaced before you get slapped with another. Luckily, there’s an affordable and efficient option right at your doorstep (if you live in the Denver area, of course).
At SLP Auto Glass, our experienced auto glass technicians can handle any form of windshield. We can fix or replace anything from pitting to spider cracks. Furthermore, we only use the highest-grade materials available.
Ultimately, we strive to make the windshield-replacement process simple and efficient. We understand how stressful it can be and how important your auto glass is. We will answer any questions and handle any problems you have, including contacting your insurance company.
Need mobile services? We offer those, too!
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Contact us today with any questions.
We can provide a quote for your repair needs ASAP.