Like many other states, Colorado follows a “points” system for keeping track of drivers’ speeding citations and other traffic-related offenses. If you accumulate too many points while driving in Colorado, your driving privilege will be suspended. In Colorado, the points system is managed by the Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles and is separate from the criminal penalties you face upon conviction in court.
To ensure that you do not lose your license due to excess accumulation of points, it is important to understand how points accumulate and how to avoid and fight a possible suspension if you exceed the maximum number of points allowed. At Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys provide experienced legal representation for driver’s license suspension hearings in Denver and throughout Colorado.
Ways You Can Accumulate Points on Your Colorado Driving Record
There are several different ways that you can accumulate points on your driving record under Colorado law. Often, people don’t even realize that their actions are adding points to their records. For example, if you receive a speeding ticket and simply mail in payment, or if you fail to appear for your court date and receive a default judgment, these will both add points to your record. Pleading guilty or being found guilty at trial or a final hearing will result in points as well. In a nutshell, any conviction for a traffic related offense that has actual physical control of a motor vehicle as an element of the offense will be reported to the Colorado DMV and will appear on your Colorado driving history. To obtain a copy of your Colorado driving history, click here.
Driver’s License Suspension for Accumulation of Points
The number of points you can accumulate before facing a license suspension varies depending on your age. Adults have slightly more leniency than minors (drivers under the age of 21), though note that some offenses (such as DUI) can trigger an automatic revocation on their own – even for adults. The point limits for driver’s license suspensions in Colorado are (C.R.S. Section 42-2-127(1)(a)):
|Age Group||12 month||24 month||Period of License|
|Minor Driver (16-17)||6 points||7 points|
|Minor Driver (18-20)||9 points||12 points||14 points|
|Adult Driver||12 points||18 points|
|Chauffeur||16 points||24 points||28 points within any 48 month period|
Colorado law provides for different point brackets if you are a chauffeur. By statute, a chauffeur is an individual who is employed as a driver, such as a taxi cab driver, Uber or Lyft driver. You may be entitled to chauffeur points if you can prove each ticket occurred in the course of your employment. If you wish to be considered for chauffeur points, you should be prepared to bring documentation to the hearing, such as work records and copies of your tickets. If there are enough points on your record to cause a suspension, a suspension is required.
Points for Various Traffic-Related Offenses
Section 42-2-127(5) of the Colorado Revised Statute establishes the points that are assigned to various traffic-related offenses. The following are some examples for common citations and charges:
|Accident – Leaving Scene||12|
|Careless Driving – Resulting in Death||12|
|Divided or Controlled-Access Highway – Driving on Wrong Side||4|
|DUI per se||12|
|DUI – Habitual User||12|
|Eluding Police Officer||12|
|Emergency Vehicle – Failure to Yield||4|
|Failure to Exercise Due Care for Pedestrian||4|
|Failure to Signal||2|
|Following too Closely||4|
|Head Lamps – Defective||1|
|Insurance – Failure to Maintain or Show Proof Of||4|
|License – Driving Without (2nd or Subsequent Offense)||6|
|Lights – Failure to Dim or Turn On||2|
|Minor Driver – Driving Between Midnight and 5:00 a.m.||2|
|Minor Driver – Passenger Under 21||2|
|One-Way-Street – Driving Wrong Way||3|
|Right-of-Way – Failure to Yield||3|
|Right-of-Way – Failure to Yield to Pedestrian||4|
|Right-of-Way – Failure to Yield to Pedestrian with Disability||6|
|Safety Zone – Driving Through||3|
|School Bus – Failure to Stop For||6|
|School Signal – Failure to Stop||6|
|Seat Belt – Driver||2|
|Seat Belt – More Passengers than Seat Belts||2|
|Seat Belt – Passenger||2|
|Special Hazard – Failure to Reduce Speed||3|
|Speed Contest – Engaging In or Aiding/Facilitating||12|
|Speed Exhibition – Engaging In or Aiding/Facilitating||5|
|Speeding – 1-4 mph Over Reasonable Prudent Speed or 75 mph Speed Limit||0|
|Speeding – 5-9 mph Over Reasonable Prudent Speed or 75 mph Speed Limit||1|
|Speeding – 10-19 mph Over Reasonable Prudent Speed or 75 mph Speed Limit||4|
|Speeding – 20-39 mph Over Reasonable Prudent Speed or 75 mph Speed Limit||6|
|Speeding – 40 mph Over Reasonable Prudent Speed or 75 mph Speed Limit||12|
|Suspension System – Alteration Of||3|
|Traffic Sign or Signal – Failure to Observe||4|
|Underage Drinking and Driving||4|
|Wrong Side of Road – Driving On||4|
In addition, note that for certain serious traffic offenses the criminal punishment can include automatic suspension or revocation of your license regardless of the number of points on your driving record. Finally, all points and time periods are calculated based on the date of offense to date of offense, not date of conviction. So delaying things in court or dragging the case out will not help you avoid a point suspension.
Avoiding a Point Suspension on the Front End
We frequently get calls from drivers who recently received an Order of Suspension letter in the mail for accumulating excess points in Colorado. The reality is that the damage is done at this point and our ability to assist is lessened because you have already pled guilty or been found guilty in court. We strongly encourage anyone who is cited with any type of traffic offense in Colorado, to obtain a full copy of their Colorado motor vehicle record online and review the record to determine how many active points are on the record before they make any decisions on whether to take a plea or resolve their pending traffic ticket/case. Understanding how many active points you have on your record based on the above chart will assist you in determining whether you need legal assistance to help avoid a point suspension or if you can accept a plea or mail-in reduction option. Our ability to assist potential clients is much greater on the front end and in court than it is at the DMV after they have already accumulated sufficient points to be suspended.
Fighting Your Driver’s License Suspension at the DMV Hearing
If you accumulate enough points to trigger a suspension, the Colorado Department of Revenue will send a letter to your last known address giving you notice of the pending suspension and allowing you the opportunity to fight the suspension at a DMV hearing. You should always attend a hearing before letting your license be suspended. The Order of Suspension letter from the DMV will include the date, time and location of your hearing. This hearing is your opportunity to review your record with a DMV Hearing Officer for accuracy and to present mitigation in an effort to have the period of suspension reduced and/or to be issued a probationary license, commonly referred to as a “red license,” during the period of suspension that allows you to drive to and from work and other “need” based purposes.
If you do not attend your suspension hearing, your license will automatically be suspended for one year with no driving privileges.
Speak with an Attorney at Tiftickjian Law Firm Today
For more information about fighting to protect your driving privileges at a DMV hearing, you can contact our Denver office for an initial consultation. To schedule a time to speak with one of our experienced traffic attorneys, call (303) 384-5280 or submit our online form today.