Common Traffic Offenses in Colorado
Guidance from Respected Traffic Violation Defense Lawyers in Denver
Significant penalties, such as steep fines and loss or suspension of your driver's license, can result from any one of numerous possible traffic violations in Colorado. Moreover, the penalties are even greater if the offense allegedly occurred while you were driving under the influence -- you could even be sentenced to jail time along with the revocation of your driving privileges.
If you are accused of a serious traffic offense, the skilled Denver traffic lawyers of The Orr Law Firm are here to help you. We seek the best possible outcome in every client's case, and we know how to leverage our extensive knowledge, experience, and training in Colorado traffic laws and regulations to your advantage. And while we focus our practice on DUI cases and serious traffic infractions, we offer dependable representation in both criminal and administrative hearings.
Stay Informed of Your Rights
There's a lot you need to know when you're cited for a traffic violation in Colorado. Any felony offense involving a motor vehicle will result in the revocation of your license and many other offenses that seem minor in nature could result in the revocation or suspension of your driving privileges when combined with prior tickets or conviction.
- Read more below to find the information you need regarding your specific criminal traffic citation:
- Driving Under Restraint: If you operate a motor vehicle when your driving privileges, in Colorado or another state, are suspended, revoked, restrained or denied, you will be charged with driving under restraint (DUR). This is a relatively easy offense for prosecutors to prove and it may or may not be related to alcohol use. If your license was under restraint due to a DUI, DUI per se, DWAI or UDD you are guilty of a misdemeanor and this offense carries mandatory jail time, even on a first offense.
- Driving While Suspended Under the Financial Responsibility Act: This is a similar offense to DUR, although the penalties are slightly different. A conviction of driving under suspension-FRA (DUS-FRA) may result in five days to six months in jail and up to $500 in fines. Jail is also mandatory in this case unless you can prove that you “had to drive” a vehicle because of an emergency.
- Driving After Revocation Prohibited - DARP: Driving After Revocation Prohibited, also called DARP is a class 1 misdemeanor. As such you face up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine, plus community service and extended revocation of your driving privileges. Being charged with Driving After Revocation Prohibited-DARP in Colorado is a very serious offense and one in which you should always enlist the services of an experienced traffic attorney to help you mitigate and minimize the potential sentence.
- Aggravated Driving After Revocation Prohibited – Aggravated DARP: A person commits the offense of Aggravated DARP if they are found to be a Habitual Traffic Offender and they then operate a motor vehicle with a revoked license and at the same time commit any of the following offenses: DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, Reckless Driving, eluding a police officer or vehicular eluding. Aggravated DARP is a class 6 felony. A conviction for Aggravated DARP will likely result in an extensive jail sentence and even a possible prison sentence. If you or someone you know is facing Aggravated Driving After Revocation Prohibited charges, they must hire competent and experienced counsel to represent them. Failure to do so will sure result in a conviction where the defendant will spend a large amount of time behind bars.
- DMV Hearings: In addition to the criminal penalties you face, a DUI charge or other major traffic offense may mean you also need to go through a DMV hearing to determine whether or not your license will be revoked or suspended -- and if so, for how long. The most common type is an express consent hearing, followed by a point suspension hearing for excessive point accumulation.
- Minor in Possession or Consumption: It's illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume or possess alcohol or to be in the “immediate presence of alcohol”. A minor in possession charge could impact a young person's future, although prosecutors and juvenile courts often allow those convicted to engage in community service and diversion programs as an alternative to more severe penalties if this is a first offense or first run in with the law.
- Driver's License Issues: Will you be able to keep your driver’s license after a serious traffic offense? This depends largely on the severity of your offense and how many points you've accumulated on your license to date. We often get calls from people who already pled guilty or were convicted in court and are finding out after the fact that their license is going to be suspended or revoked as a result. There is often very little an attorney can do, even experienced attorneys like those with our firm, after you have been convicted. This is why it is critical for you to contact our Denver DUI lawyers before you go to court and before you plead guilty.
- Traffic Offense Statutes: Numerous state laws regulate the use of automobiles, and different traffic offenses come with different numbers of points added to your driving record. This page provides more information on how point accumulation could impact your driving privileges. Remember, contrary to urban legend, nothing “falls off” your driving record. Insurance companies and employers may only go back 3, 5 or 7 years to look for offenses, but the DMV retains a full record and everything on your motor vehicle record will be used against you in court and at the DMV.
- Habitual Traffic Offenses: In an effort to make Colorado's roads and highways safer for all, the state has mandated penalties for individuals considered habitual traffic offenders. Typically, sentences include five-year license revocations and significant jail time. If you have been designated a habitual traffic offender by the Colorado DMV, you will not be eligible for any type of license for at a minimum of 5 years unless one of your qualifying offenses are alcohol-related. Even more reason why you should contact an experienced traffic lawyer before going to court.
- Vehicular Eluding: Drivers accused of eluding law enforcement officials with their vehicles could face class 5 felony charges if they operate their vehicle in a reckless manner. This felony charge come with fines in the thousands of dollars, license revocation for at least one year, and possible jail or prison time for those convicted. If vehicular eluding results in bodily injury to another person it is a class 4 felony and if the vehicular eluding results in the death of another person, that is a class 3 felony. If you have made the mistake of eluding a peace officer, you need the best defense you can afford to avoid prison time.
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Death or Personal Injuries: Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Death or Personal Injuries is a very serious charge in Colorado. It is a class 1 traffic misdemeanor if you leave the scene of an accident where injury has occurred to any person. It is a class 4 felony if you leave the scene of an accident where serious bodily injury has occurred to any person. It is a class 3 felony if you leave the scene of an accident where the accident caused the death of any person. Injury means physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical or emotional condition. Serious Bodily Injury means injury that creates a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement or a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body. This includes breaks, fractures or burns of the second or third degree. Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Death or Personal Injuries is a very serious offense that can have you facing jail or even prison time depending on the severity of the accident and the injuries sustained to others. Loss of your license, extensive fines and restitution and liability are all potential outcomes of a conviction of this charge. If you were under-insured or failed to have insurance at the time of the accident, this could result in you being denied driving privileges for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with this offense, there is no question that you need an experienced traffic defense attorney on your side.
- Careless Driving Causing Bodily Injury or Death: If you're convicted of careless driving resulting in bodily injury or death to another person, you may face penalties including $1,000 in fines, loss of license, extensive amounts of useful public service hours and up to a year in jail. Careless driving resulting in bodily injury or death is a class 1 traffic misdemeanor in Colorado and as such, this charge is a very serious offense. Do not think that the District Attorney will understand it was an accident and take it easy on you. They will be essence representing the victim and will want to ensure that the victim is satisfied with the outcome and receives full restitution and liability as a result of the injuries sustained. This monetary judgment is non-dischargeable debt and if you fail to pay as ordered, your driving privileges will be suspended indefinitely until the judgment is paid in full. If you were under-insured or failed to have insurance, this could result in you being denied driving privileges for the rest of your life. One of the many reasons you need an experienced traffic defense attorney to represent you if you are facing charges of careless driving causing bodily injury or death.
- Reckless Driving: A person who operates a motor vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of other people or property is guilty of reckless driving. Reckless driving is a class 2 traffic misdemeanor. As such, a conviction for reckless driving can result in jail time up to 90 days. Reckless driving is considered a habitual traffic offense and it also carries 8 points that will be assessed on your Colorado motor vehicle record. A second conviction for reckless driving will result in a mandatory jail sentence of no less than 10 days with the maximum jail being 6 months. Add to these penalties a steep fine and a significant increase in insurance premiums and it makes sense for those accused of reckless driving in Colorado to hire an experienced criminal traffic lawyer in Denver.
- Careless Driving: A person who operates a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and use of the streets and highways and all other attendant circumstances, is guilty of careless driving. Careless driving is a class 2 traffic misdemeanor. Careless driving carries 4 points and a potential jail sentence up to 90 days in jail, along with a fine. Careless driving is the catch-all charge that lazy cops use when they cannot figure out what the appropriate charge should be or they want to penalize you further by charging you with a more punitive charge like careless driving. By mere definition, every time you violate a traffic law in Colorado, you also commit careless driving. That is why we believe careless driving as defined in Colorado is unconstitutional and is ripe to be challenged and attacked. Now we just need a client who has tens of thousands of dollars to challenge this statute all the way to the top! In all seriousness, if you have been charged with careless driving in Colorado, you should consult with an experienced traffic defense attorney to see if your case is worth fighting.
- Vehicular Assault: Operating an automobile in a reckless manner or while impaired or under the influence and resulting in serious bodily injury to another person is considered vehicular assault and is classified as a felony in Colorado. A conviction for vehicular assault can result in a prison sentence as this is class 4 felony if you were under the influence or impaired and it is a class 5 felony if you were driving recklessly. A conviction for vehicular assault can result in prison time or extensive time in county jail, thousands of dollars in fines and court costs, loss of license and much more. Similar to the collateral consequences involved in careless driving resulting in bodily injury or death, a stipulation or finding of liability and restitution is common with this type of charge or conviction and if you were under-insured or failed to have valid insurance, you could be facing a lifetime suspension of your driving privileges if you fail to pay the amount of the judgment in full.
- Vehicular Homicide: Operating a vehicle in a reckless manner or while impaired or under the influence and resulting in the death of another person is called vehicular homicide, and it's most often one of several charges an offender faces after causing a fatal drunk driving accident. A conviction for vehicular homicide almost always results in a lengthy prison sentence as this is class 3 felony if you were under the influence or impaired and it is a class 4 felony if you were driving recklessly. The collateral consequences of a conviction for vehicular assault are extensive and life-altering. Losing your driving privileges is inevitable and should be the least of your concerns if you are facing charges of vehicular homicide.
- Accidents or Accident Reports: If you were involved in an accident, you have a legal duty to immediately report that accident if there are any injuries or property damage – even if the property damage is only to your vehicle. Failure to do so will likely result in a litany of charges to include, but not limited to: Accident Involving Damage-Duty, Duty to Give Notice, Information and Aid, Duty Upon Striking Unattended Vehicle or Other Property, Duty Upon Striking Highway Fixtures or Traffic Control Devices, Duty to Report Accidents, etc. A conviction for any of these offenses is classified as a Class 2 Traffic Misdemeanor. A conviction for any of these offenses will result in a suspension of your license as each offense carries 12 points and you also face jail of up to 90 days for each offense plus fines and a potential restitution and liability judgment. Trying to represent yourself in a case like this is playing Russian roulette with your license and freedom. If you are facing similar charges, don’t make another mistake by not hiring an experienced criminal traffic attorney in Denver, contact us today.
Meet with a Skilled Denver Traffic Violation Defense Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If you’re dealing with a serious traffic offense charge in Colorado, seek advice from the knowledgeable attorneys of The Orr Law Firm in Denver. We offer free initial consultations, so call us today at (720) 619-2676 or contact us online to get started.