Driving Without a Valid (or on a Suspended) License in Colorado

Read about the penalties for driving without a valid license in Colorado.

Colorado prohibits driving without a license or driving while under license restraints. This article explains how these violations are defined, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the rule.

Driving Without a License in Colorado

Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a Colorado highway must possess and be able to display a valid driver's license. (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42-2-101.)

Penalties for Unlicensed Driving in Colorado

Unlicensed driving can result in a class A Infraction conviction. A class A infraction conviction carries a fine of $15 to $100. Subsequent offenses can result in temporary preclusion from obtaining a license.

Penalties for Driving Without a Colorado License in Your Possession

A driver who possesses a license, but does not have it in their immediate possession will be subject to a traffic infraction fine of $15 to $100.

Penalties for Refusing to Produce a License in Colorado

A driver who possesses a license but refuses an officer's request to see it can be convicted of a class A traffic infraction. The conviction can result in $15 to $100 in fines.

Exceptions to Colorado's Driver's License Requirement

Non-resident drivers with valid driver's licenses from their home state or country can drive in the state without a Colorado license, subject to Colorado age restrictions. Colorado also allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a valid driver's license. Farmers, military personnel, and emergency responders can also be exempt from licensing requirements under certain circumstances.

Driving While Restrained (Suspended or Revoked) in Colorado

A person who operates a vehicle while on a restrained license (suspended, restricted, or revoked) will be subject to jail time, fines, and an extended driver's license suspension. (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42-2-138.)

Penalties for Driving While Suspended or Revoked in Colorado

"Driving while restrained" is a class A traffic infraction misdemeanor if the license restraint was not DUI-related. The convicted person can expect $15 to $100 in fines.

Penalties for Driving on a DUI-Related Suspension or Revocation in Colorado

Driving while restrained carries increased penalties if the restraint was related to a DUI incident. The offense is a class 2 misdemeanor and carries 10 to 90 days in jail and $150 to $300 in fines. A second conviction requires 10 to 90 days in jail, a possible fine of $500 to $3,000, and the motorist will not be eligible for a driver's license for four years.

Colorado's Emergency Defense for Driving on a Suspended License

The required jail sentence can only be suspended (set aside) if the accused can show they drove only due to an emergency.

Talk to a Colorado Defense Attorney

The consequences of unlicensed driving are serious. So, if you're facing this type of charge, you should talk to a qualified defense attorney. An experienced defense lawyer can advise you on the law and help you decide on the best cause of action.

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