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The state asked cities to use discretion in issuing citations to cars with expired plates. Denver still ticketed 2,933 cars in 3 days

Denver will void nearly 3,000 tickets after 9NEWS asked questions about why the city was ticketing cars while the DMV still had a long backlog.

DENVER — The City of Denver says it went forward with issuing thousands of tickets to cars with expired license plates, even after the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles told law enforcement about its backlog and asked them to use discretion in issuing citations. It wasn’t until after 9NEWS raised questions about how many tickets were being issued that the city says it became aware of the situation and changed its policy. 

"In mid-January, the state sent the Denver Motor Vehicle Division information about its backlog and communicated to cities/counties to use their discretion in enforcing," said Nancy Kuhn in a statement. Kuhn is with the City & County of Denver's Department of Transportation & Infrastructure. "When DOTI learned of the situation this week, in consultation with Denver Motor Vehicle and DPD, we made the call to suspend enforcement through February 28 and to void citations written on the two days of Feb. 1 and 2.  We will reassess in a couple of weeks."

The City of Denver issued nearly a thousand tickets a day to people with expired license plates this week. But it’s not the only time during the pandemic that they’ve issued a large number of citations.

Let’s go back to November. From the start of the month through the 22nd, the city ticketed 8,485 cars for having expired plates. That could bring in more than $630,000 if everyone paid their $75 fines on time.

The city says it’s not going to void those tickets. 

"Denver Motor Vehicle offices reopened on June 29. We provided an original grace period through end of July for enforcement to allow the DMV to catch up and, after consultation with the DMV team, extended that waiver until Sept," Kuhn wrote in a statement. "We started enforcing again after Labor Day, more than two months after Denver Motor Vehicle offices re-opened and the DMV indicated to us they had cleared their backlogs. We are not going to void these tickets."

Denver issued 2,933 citations for expired license plates between Feb. 1 and Feb. 3. It wasn't until 9NEWS started asking questions that they stopped.

So is 2,933 tickets in three days abnormally high?

Well, consider this. Denver issued more than 11,000 tickets for expired license plates between November 1, 2020 and February 4, 2021. In that same time, Aurora Police issued just 22. Glendale Police say they haven't issued any. The City of Lone Tree says it gave out 16 tickets. 

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office issued 499 tickets for expired plates in all of 2020. That's about the same number Denver parking agents issued by lunch time every day from Feb. 1 to Feb. 3. They said deputies use discretion because they understand the delays. 

RELATED: Denver DMV branches reopen to in-person transactions Tuesday

RELATED: DMV warns of delays following COVID-19 shutdowns

Denver says all of the nearly 3,000 tickets issued in the last three days will be automatically voided. They haven't said if they're reaching out to let people know or if they'll refund people who have already paid.

The City of Denver says Denver County Motor Vehicle Title and Registration offices are open and have standard-issue green and white license plates in stock right now. The offices also have renewal stickers in stock. 

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