RTD Transit Officers or a Denver Police Officer, may issue a ticket to individuals riding on public transportation, to include the bus, light rail, or trains, who fail to present proof of fare or valid transit pass when requested. If the violation was discovered in Denver, the ticket will be delivered to Denver County Court.
If the violation was discovered outside the city limits of Denver your case will be heard in the jurisdiction listed on the ticket. Refer to the County and Municipal Court listings for contact information.
The people involved in a RTD case include:
- Defendant – Person accused of violating the law;
- Judge – Neutral party who makes rulings on issues of law, decides guilt or innocence of the accused during Final Hearings, decides what sentence to be imposed.
- Magistrate – Neutral party who makes rulings on issues of law, decides guilt or innocence of the accused during Final Hearings, and decides what sentence to be imposed.
- Private Counsel – An attorney for the defendant who is chosen by the defendant to represent him/her in the traffic matter. Private Counsel representation is paid for by the defendant.
- RTD Transit Officer – An employee of the Regional Transportation District who has the authority to write tickets to persons who fail to present proof of fare or valid transit pass.
- Interpreter – Neutral party who interprets for the defendant in order to facilitate communication between the defendant and other parties in the case. The interpreter also performs this job in the courtroom so the defendant can understand everything that is said during the proceedings in his/her case. Interpreters are also provided for witnesses who do not speak English.
The arraignment is the first time you will appear in court. At the arraignment, the judge or magistrate will:
- Tell you what the charges are;
- Tell you about your rights;
- Inform you of all the possible penalties.
You may respond to the charges by entering a plea. Common pleas include guilty, not guilty, or no contest (nolo-contendere).
- Not guilty means you are saying you did not violate the law and want to have your guilt or innocence decided by a judicial officer. Your case will be set for a Final Hearing.
- Guilty means you admit to violating the law. The judicial officer will accept the guilty plea and enter a conviction in the court record.
- No contest means you do not contest (disagree with) the charge. The plea has the same effect as a guilty plea.
RTD tickets are scheduled in courtrooms located at 1437 Bannock Street. When you appear, the judicial officer will ask you for your plea. You can either plead guilty or plead not guilty and set the case for a Final Hearing. The courtroom clerk will give you a setting slip telling you when to appear. The hearing will be held in either Courtroom 100 or Courtroom 105 in the City and County Building located at 1437 Bannock Street.
Officer notes, reports, or other items considered to be discovery are not available on RTD cases until the time of Final Hearing pursuant to Denver Rules for Non-Criminal Infractions Rule 15.
At the Final Hearing a judicial officer will hear the case. There will be no prosecutor present and the RTD Transit Officer will state why he or she issued the ticket. You may hire an attorney or represent yourself. Since there is no possibility of jail, attorneys are not provided for indigent defendants.
- Make an opening statement;
- Present evidence;
- Argue the law;
- Bring witnesses, and
- Question (cross-examine) the RTD Transit Officer;
- Make a closing statement.
When the case is called, you should step to the counsel table. The officer will testify first. After the testimony, the Judge will ask you if you want to cross-examine the officer. This means you can ask the officer questions about matters brought up in his or her testimony and other related matters concerning the case. It does not mean introducing your testimony at that time.
You have the right to remain silent and not testify in your defense. After hearing the officer’s testimony, you may waive the right to remain silent by testifying to your version of the facts. If you choose to testify, you may be asked questions (cross-examination) on matters that were brought up in the testimony. You may also call witnesses and present evidence such as photographs, charts, or other written materials.
After all witnesses have testified, the Judge will ask if either side wishes to make a closing statement.
If you choose to represent yourself, you should come prepared. You should:
- Understand the charge(s) against you. You can read the charges in the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.).
- Prepare a list of questions to ask the witnesses and the agent during cross-examination.
- Bring evidence you want to give to the judicial officer.
- Subpoena witnesses if you want to require someone to come to court to testify and bring documents. The court will issue subpoenas free of charge, however, serving the subpoenas is at your expense.
If you are found not guilty, the matter is concluded. No fees, costs or points will be assessed and your case will be closed. If you are found guilty, you will be sentenced immediately. Usually the sentence is fines and costs. You have a right to speak on your behalf prior to being sentenced. Fine and costs are due immediately upon sentencing. RTD citations are zero point violations.
If you were found guilty after the Final Hearing, you have the right to an appeal process. There are many reasons for an appeal, but appeals are very difficult. It is wise to talk to a lawyer to determine what is best. For more information on the appeal process, go to the Appeals Section of this site.