Important Driver’s License Issues in Colorado
Key Information from Denver Traffic Violation Defense Attorneys
After an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) or another serious traffic offense, your top concern might be whether you'll be able to retain your driver's license or driving privileges. Revocation or suspension of your license could prevent you from transporting yourself to work or school, taking care of your kids or family, or completing everyday need, and thus, affect your ability to earn an income or receive an education or even support and provide for your family.
If you face charges any criminal traffic charges, make sure to work with a knowledgeable Denver DUI defense attorney from The Orr Law Firm. Our lawyers focus almost exclusively on DUI and traffic related issues, providing competent and aggressive service and exploring the full range of legal options for all clients. We're here to represent you in both criminal proceedings and administrative hearings, and offer you the best chance at keeping your driving privileges, whenever possible.
What You Need to Know about Driver’s License Suspension
Our team is dedicated to helping you understand your rights and options after being arrested for driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired (DWAI).
- Refer to the links below for useful information about driving privileges in Colorado:
- Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Locations: For an administrative hearing related to a possible license suspension, you may need to visit a DMV location to request a hearing. We've provided a list of offices across the state.
- DMV Links and Forms: Our goal is to keep clients completely informed of the processes the DMV uses to suspend and revoke licenses.
- Per Se Violations: Per se violations refer simply to Colorado’s laws prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above .08 percent for DUI.
- Penalties: Administrative rules related to DUI and DWAI can be confusing, so we provide an easy-to-read chart indicating the penalties you might expect depending on your BAC test and the number of previous offenses on your record.
- Non-Residents: Even if you’re not a Colorado resident, you still face the same potential penalties for DUI as those who live here. These penalties may include license suspension, fines and even jail time. Furthermore, if you are a non-resident and your license is revoked because of a DUI, you do not qualify for early reinstatement under Colorado law. So in essence, you face more severe penalties than Colorado residents do.
- Out-of-State Drivers: Colorado will also report the conviction to your home state and your home state my take additional action against your privilege to drive as well. Drivers who live out of state are ineligible for early reinstatement of driving privileges, making the penalties for DUI and DWAI even more severe.
- Minors: Individuals under 21 years old need only to present a .02 percent BAC or higher to be charged and convicted of DUI. This is part of Colorado’s zero-tolerance policy for minors. Minors who are criminally convicted of a DUI or DWAI offense will have their license revoked for 1 year and they will not be allowed any type of license during that one year period. Only after serving one year of the revocation, do minors then qualify for early reinstatement.
- Express Consent Hearings: State law gives all those charged with DUI the right to a hearing for all alleged BAC violations or for refusing a chemical test. However, you must request an express consent hearing within seven days of the arrest if you submitted to a breath test or refused testing. If you took a blood test, you must ensure your address is up-to-date with the DMV as they will mail you an Order of Revocation letter once they receive the blood test results and you then only have 10 days from the postmarked date of that letter to request a hearing.
- Excessive Point Suspensions: Adult drivers over the age of 21 are allowed up to 11 points accumulated on their licenses within any 12-month consecutive period, and 17 points within any 24-month consecutive period. Exceeding the established point limits may result in a license suspension up to one year in length. Minor drivers have even fewer points to play with so it is critical that you consult with an experienced traffic attorney in Denver before pleading guilty to any traffic offense.
- Administrative Convictions: In addition to criminal penalties, you may also face an administrative conviction. If so, you’ll likely lose your license for a period of time between nine months and three years.
- Driver's License Reinstatement: After your suspension period is over, you'll need to go through the driver’s license reinstatement process. Regaining driving privileges involves a number of steps and requires you complete several different forms. If you fail to meet the minimum requirements or complete the mandatory requirements, your reinstatement will be denied. Even if you are a non-resident, you must go through the driver’s license reinstatement process in Colorado to clear the hold in the National Driver Register. Failure to do this will result in you being denied a license in your home state when you attempt to renew that license or be issued a new one in the future.
- IID: An ignition interlock device (IID) prevents your vehicle from starting until you register a BAC below a set limit. That limit is determined by NHTSA and is currently set at .025. Judges may require you to install one of these devices after being convicted of DUI, and the DMV will certainly require it upon a second or subsequent conviction or if your BAC is ≥ .150 or you refuse a test, even on a first offense.
- SR22 insurance: All those who have been convicted of a drunk driving offense and whose license has been revoked or suspended as a result must provide proof of liability insurance to the DMV through an SR22 form obtained directly from your insurance company.
- Responsible driving courses: Courts or DMV Hearing Officers may mandate that you complete a certain number of responsible driving courses before regaining your driving privileges in Colorado. These courses are often good mitigation and can be taken in advance to court dates to assist in plea negotiations. However, you should consult with your attorney before taking one of these classes.
- CDL drivers: If you require a commercial driver's license (CDL) as part of your job, you have a lot to lose with a Colorado DUI or DWAI charge. An administrative conviction or a criminal conviction will mean that CDL drivers lose their commercial licenses for a minimum of one year or more. A second conviction will result in a lifetime revocation of your CDL.
- About CDLs: This page provides more information on CDLs and what causes a driver to lose commercial driving privileges.
Contact a Knowledgeable Denver Defense Lawyer to Fight a Traffic Violation or Denver DUI charge
If you’re facing a license suspension or another threat to your driving privileges in Colorado, seek help from the experienced attorneys of The Orr Law Firm right away. We offer FREE initial consultations — call us at (720) 619-2676 or contact us online to schedule a meeting. Our office is based in Denver and we represent clients statewide.