Driving on a Suspended License in Colorado

Criminal charges for operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license.

By , Attorney

In Colorado, numerous driving and other offenses will lead to the suspension or revocation of driving privileges. In general, a suspension means a temporary withdrawal of the privilege to drive. A revocation is more serious and generally means you must apply for a new license once your period of revocation ends. Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a crime in Colorado.

Reasons for Suspension or Revocation

Your license can be suspended or revoked due to alcohol- and drug-related offenses, not having liability insurance, acquiring too many traffic violation points, and certain criminal convictions.

Alcohol- and Drug-Related Offenses

License suspension or revocation is a consequence of certain alcohol- and drug-related driving violations. These violations include an arrest or conviction for driving under the influence and refusing to take an alcohol test in violation of Colorado's implied consent law.

Driving Without Liability Insurance

The Department of Revenue can suspend your license if you are caught driving without auto insurance. Depending on whether you have prior insurance violations, the suspension can be until you provide proof of insurance (first offense) or up to eight months (third or subsequent offense).

Points-Based Suspensions

Colorado uses a traffic violation point system. Under this system, the Department of Revenue will suspend your license if you accumulate too many points. Most traffic violations, like speeding, reckless driving, and drunk driving, carry a certain number of points.

Generally, drivers who rack up 12 points within 12 months or 18 points within 24 months face suspension. The point totals that can lead to suspension are lower for drivers who are under the age of 21.

Child Support

Failing to pay child support—though unrelated to driving—can also lead to license suspension. Generally, drivers who are suspended for this reason must prove they are in compliance with the child support order as a condition for license reinstatement.

Criminal Convictions

Criminal convictions that can lead to license suspension or revocation in Colorado include:

However, this is just a partial list. Lots of other criminal offenses can result in the loss of driving privileges.

Reinstating Your License

The length of your suspension or revocation will depend on the reason it was imposed in the first place. But, in most instances, the department can't suspend your license for more than one year. Revocations, on the other hand, can be many years.

Once your suspension or revocation period has ended, you must reinstate your license before you can legally drive. The reinstatement fee is $95, plus any additional costs and fees. In addition, you may have to complete other requirements such as attending alcohol or drug programs.

Charges for Driving After Suspension or Revocation

If you're caught driving on a suspended or revoked license you can be charged with a misdemeanor if you drive when your license is suspended or revoked.

In many cases, the maximum penalty is six months in jail and a fine of not more than $500. If you have a second or subsequent conviction within five years, you won't be eligible for a driver's license for three years.

Some convictions for driving after suspension or revocation, including suspensions that occur because of a DUI conviction, carry a minimum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. The maximum sentence for these convictions is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second or subsequent conviction of this type carries 90 days to two years in jail and $500 to $3,000 in fines. If you have a second or subsequent conviction within five years of a prior, you'll be ineligible for a license for four years.

Seeking Help When You Are Charged With Driving After Suspension or Revocation

Consider consulting an attorney right away if you are charged with driving after suspension or revocation. As you have read, a conviction comes with potentially severe penalties, including the possibility of significant jail time and steep fines. Your ability to find and travel to a job, to go to school, and obtain insurance may all be affected. While the law provides for specific penalties, the result in your specific case will depend on how prosecutors and judges in your city or community view the crime. An attorney who is familiar with how your local court system may offer the best guidance.

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