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When Is Careless Driving a Class 1 Traffic Misdemeanor in Colorado?

person driving car

A fairly common traffic offense in Colorado, careless driving is often applied as a catch-all charge by police officers who are unsure of what to charge a suspect of following alleged improper driving actions. Since this charge can be given to those who operate scooters, bicycles and electric bicycles, as well as motor vehicles, state residents who are accused of this class 2 traffic misdemeanor may not be aware of how potentially serious the penalties for this traffic offense can be.

For example, in certain instances, careless driving can be elevated to a class 1 traffic misdemeanor traffic offense, putting its penalties on par with crimes such as assault in the third degree, unlawful sexual contact and indecent exposure.

Careless driving can be labeled a class 1 traffic misdemeanor in Colorado when the driver's actions are the proximate cause of bodily injury to another person or the death of another individual.

This means that people who are accused of such crimes face increased penalties. Rather than a maximum of 90 days imprisonment and fines of up to $300, Colorado drivers who are given a class 1 distinction for careless driving can receive up to one year in county jail and as much as $1,000 in fines under Colorado law.

In addition, 4 points are assessed to the convicted individual's license for this crime if it results in injury and 8 points if the accident resulted in death, which could affect their driving privileges if they have past offenses or impair their ability to afford auto insurance for years to come.

If you have unintentionally caused injury because of alleged careless driving, ensure you're making the right choices for your case by reaching out to a Colorado defense team that can aggressively defend your rights. At The Orr Law Firm, our criminal traffic defense attorneys have extensive experience handling careless driving cases involving injury or death.