The state enforces a wide range of traffic statutes that outline the rights, responsibilities, and expectations of licensed drivers in the state. Whenever a driver causes an accident, commits a moving violation, or receives a ticket for any type of traffic violation, they face a wide range of penalties based on the severity of their actions. A commonly reported traffic issue is driving without a license. Unless you have a clear life-or-death emergency, driving without a license is likely to lead to several serious penalties.
Common Reasons for Drivers’ License Suspension
The state uses a demerit point system to track drivers’ moving violations and other infractions. Traffic offenses remain on a driver’s record for seven years, and if a driver accumulates too many points within a certain timeframe, they are likely to have their driver’s license suspended. On the other hand, if a driver commits multiple serious traffic offenses and displays no willingness or capability to rectify their actions, they could have their license revoked entirely.
Unfortunately, some drivers will continue operating their vehicles even after losing their driver’s licenses. This is against state law, and doing so could either qualify as an infraction or a misdemeanor offense. The penalties for driving without a license typically depend on the original reason the driver lost their license in the first place. A few of the most commonly cited reasons for driver’s license suspension in Colorado include:
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. This offense carries various penalties, including fines, jail time, mandatory substance abuse treatment, and loss of driving privileges. For example, if your license was suspended or revoked for DUI and you are caught driving, you could face a class 2 misdemeanor that carries a penalty of 10 days to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
- Driving without auto insurance. Every licensed driver must have auto insurance coverage that meets the state’s minimum coverage requirements. If a driver cannot produce proof of insurance coverage during a traffic stop, they will likely lose their license until they can show proof that they have purchased suitable coverage.
- Refusal of a chemical test for DUI. Drivers must submit to chemical testing for suspected DUI or after a lawful arrest for DUI. Refusal to do so will result in an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension, and if they are later convicted of DUI, they will face a harsher sentence.
- Nonpayment of child support. One of the measures the family court can take against a parent in arrears on their support payments is a suspension of their driver’s license until they repay the owed support.
- Outstanding warrants. If a suspect is wanted for arrest, a criminal court judge may order the suspension of their driver’s license in an effort to limit their mobility and encourage them to surrender to the authorities.
The penalties for other offenses may also lead to driver’s license suspension, and the penalties for driving without a license will echo the severity of the original reason the driver lost their license.
If you were injured by a driver who was illegally operating their vehicle without a valid driver’s license, it is crucial to know your rights and responsibilities in this situation. An experienced attorney can help hold them accountable for your civil damages, and the criminal case filed by the state can also influence your final recovery. Therefore, for the best chance of recovering as fully as possible from a recent accident, it is essential that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
Q: How Do Demerit Points for Driver’s Licenses Work?
A: Most traffic offenses in the state carry several penalties, one of which is demerit points added to the driver’s license. Accruing too many points in a short time will lead to an automatic suspension of their driver’s license. The state enforces a different amount of points for different offenses, and points can also fluctuate based on the severity of an offense. Driver’s license points remain on a driver’s record for seven years.
Q: Will I Go to Jail for Driving Without a License in Colorado?
A: It’s possible to face either a Class A infraction or a misdemeanor charge if you are caught driving without a valid driver’s license. The judge handling your case has discretionary power over your sentence, and it is possible to face jail time. The severity of your penalty for driving without a license generally depends on the original reason why you lost your license and the number of points you have already accumulated.
Q: What Is the Cost of a Ticket for Driving Without a License?
A: The standard fine for driving without a license is $100. However, the financial impact of this offense is likely to be more expansive than this, and you could face various long-term penalties. For example, you could face a longer driver’s license suspension period and other penalties that interfere with your ability to work and earn income. It’s also possible for your auto insurance carrier to increase your premium as they will view you as a greater risk.
Q: Should I Fight a Traffic Ticket in Colorado?
A: It is always worth considering fighting your recently issued ticket. Consult an experienced traffic court defense attorney, and they will let you know what you can expect from the process. If you simply pay the fine, this amounts to admitting guilt for the offense, and you could face demerit points on your license along with other penalties. Traffic court is less imposing than criminal court for most people, but it is still advisable to secure trustworthy legal counsel if you intend to contest a ticket.
The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal offers comprehensive and client-focused legal counsel for a wide range of civil claims. If you have recently been injured in a motor vehicle accident, we will do our best to help you recover, even if you were partially at fault. Contact us today and schedule a consultation with our team to learn more about the legal services we offer.