Notice of revised Traffic Code window tint requirements 

Courtesy CDOT

In the Tribe’s revised Traffic Code, Section 14-10-104(2) requires vehicles registered in Colorado with window tint to transmit at least 27 percent of light through their windows and 70 percent of light through the windshield. This is the same requirement in Colorado. For vehicles registered in other states, they must conform with that state’s window tint legal standards. Under the Tribe’s civil penalty schedule, violations will result in a civil traffic infraction of $60. In Colorado, the fine is $66.  

On June 1, 2020, the Tribe’s revised Traffic Code became effective. To view a copy of the revised Traffic Code, visit the Tribe’s website at: https://www.southernute-nsn.gov/government/tribal-code/. In addition, if you would like us to provide you a paper copy of the Traffic Code please contact the Legal Department, Jamie Rivera at 970-563-2141 or jrivera@southernute-nsn.gov or the Tribal Information Services Department, Edna Frost at 970-563-2250 or efrost@southernute-nsn.gov or Amy Barry at 970-563-2181 abarry@southernute-nsn.gov. 

In 2014 and in 2017, the Tribe sought comment on the revised Traffic Code. Both times, the window tint provision was included. During the comment periods, the Tribe received no objections to the window tint provisions. In April 2018, tribal attorney, James Washinawatok, and Southern Ute Police Chief, Ray Coriz, presented at the general meeting to update the tribal membership on the status of the Traffic Code and the most relevant changes. The presentation at that meeting included a slide with the window tint requirements. The presentation on the Tribe’s website regarding the Traffic Code (https://www.southernute-nsn.gov/government/tribal-code/) includes the same slide regarding the window tint requirements.  

While the prior Traffic Code did not specifically include tint requirements, drivers on the Reservation who registered their vehicle in Colorado had to comply with Colorado tint requirements when driving off-Reservation. The revised Traffic Code applies this requirement on-Reservation for law enforcement and public safety. A tint that prevents an officer from seeing inside a vehicle during a traffic stop, poses a risk for the officer to safely perform his or her job. Similarly, drivers with very dark tint can limit a driver’s visibility, presenting risk of accident to that driver and others.  

Enforcement of the Traffic Code is limited by the Tribe’s jurisdiction and cooperative agreements. For Native Americans, the Tribe may issue a window tint civil traffic infraction anywhere on the Reservation. For non-natives, the Tribe may issue a window tint civil traffic infraction only on trust land and on roads bounded on both sides by trust land. In the Town of Ignacio, the Southern Ute Police Department will not enforce the Traffic Code over non-natives. 

If you receive a civil traffic infraction for a window tint violation from the Southern Ute Police Department, you have the following options: (1) Pay the fine and get your windows re-tinted to comply with the Tribe’s requirements; (2) Before your hearing date, fix your window tint, and then show proof to the Court that your vehicle now complies with the tint requirements. Upon seeing that your vehicle complies, you may receive leniency or a reduction in the fine; (3) If you require additional time to fix your window tint, other arrangements may be made upon agreement with the prosecuting officer and with the Court’s approval; or (4) Contest the civil traffic citation for the window tint violation at trial.  

Once the Tribe reaches Phase III in the reopening stage, you may have your window tint tested by scheduling an appointment with the Southern Ute Police Department at 563-0246. For more information, or if you have any questions, contact the Director of the Legal Department, David Smith, at 563-2140 or dasmith@southernute-nsn.gov, or Tribal Attorney, James Washinawatok, at 563-2210 or jwash@southernute-nsn.gov, or Tribal Prosecutor, Lisa Franceware, at 563-2145 or lfraceware@southernute-nsn.gov. 

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