Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO)

Habitual Traffic Offenders in Colorado are defined section 42-2-206 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. You will be designated as a habitual traffic offender if you are convicted of three major traffic offenses within any seven year period.  A habitual offender license revocation is for a minimum of five years. Any person found to be a habitual traffic offender who operates a motor vehicle while still under revocation commits a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Major traffic offenses in Colorado that lead to habitual offender status are:

  • DUI
  • DUI per se
  • DWAI
  • DUI – Drugs
  • Reckless Driving
  • Driving Under Suspension
  • Driving Under Revocation
  • Vehicular Assault
  • Vehicular Homicide
  • Vehicular Manslaughter
  • Criminally Negligent Homicide which results from the operation of motor vehicles
  • Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft
  • Hit and Run Involving death or injury
  • Providing False Information to DMV

You are also be found to be habitual traffic offender if you have:

  • 10 or more convictions within five years involving moving violations which provide for a Colorado DMV point assessment of four or more points each, or
  • 18 or more convictions within five years involving moving violations which provide for an assessment of three or fewer points each.

There are serious penalties in Colorado for driving as a habitual offender. The sentence for a conviction includes mandatory jail time, steep fines, and the automatic extension of your driver’s license revocation.

In Colorado, a conviction for driving as a habitual traffic offender leads to a mandatory jail sentence between 30 days and 18 months, and up to a $5,000 fine. A judge can suspend this mandatory jail sentence and fines, in lieu of the defendant completing between 40 and 300 hours of useful public service. If there is another major traffic offense charged from the same incident, such as DUI or reckless driving, the prosecution will charge you with aggravated driving as a habitual offender, which is a class 1 misdemeanor that carries with it a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 60 days with a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail with no ability to suspend the mandatory jail time in lieu of complete community service hours.

On January 1, 2005, the Denver City Council revised the Denver Municipal Code to allow the filing of civil cases to impound and seize vehicles involved in habitual offenses. Vehicles driven by a habitual traffic offender are now declared a public nuisance under section 37-50(18) of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, and an action will be taken by the Denver City Attorney’s Office to forfeit your vehicle if you are charged with driving as a habitual offender.

If you are charged with driving as a habitual offender in Colorado, the services of an experienced Denver traffic attorney can be invaluable. Not only can an experienced criminal defense attorney explore defenses to your case, such as the actual notice requirements or whether the traffic stop was legal, a skilled defense lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor in an effort to minimize the additional period of license revocation and keep you out of or minimize the amount of jail.

Denver criminal defense attorney Jay Tiftickjian has handled countless habitual offender driving cases in Colorado as a criminal attorney and former state prosecutor. If you have been charged with driving as a habitual offender in Colorado, contact The Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. for experienced representation.