Colorado’s Traffic Violation Point System

How Colorado’s demerit point system works, including how points can lead to license suspension.

Colorado issues fines for traffic infractions but also imposes license-related penalties on repeat offenders. Like many states, Colorado keeps track of these violations with a driver’s license point system. Each traffic violation is assigned a certain number of demerit points. Accumulation of too many points within set time periods (generally, 12 or 24 months) will result in license suspension.

Points for Common Violations

Traffic violations in Colorado are assigned the following point values.

Violation

Points assessed

Leaving the scene of an accident

12

DUI (driving under the influence)

12

DWAI (driving while ability impaired)

8

Underage drunk driving

4

Speed contest (street racing)

12

Speed exhibition

5

Reckless driving

8

Careless driving

4

Careless driving with a fatality

12

Serious bodily injury to vulnerable road user

12

Speeding 1 to 4 miles per hour over the limit

0

Speeding 5 to 9 miles per hour over the limit

1

Speeding 10 to 19 miles per hour over the limit

4

Speeding 20 to 39 miles per hour over the limit

6

Speeding 40 or more miles per hour over the limit

12

Failure to reduce speed for hazards

3

Failure to stop for school zone signals

6

Driving on the wrong side of the road

4

Improper passing

4

Failure to stop for school bus

6

Following too closely

4

Failure to observe signal or sign

4

Failure to yield to emergency vehicle

4

Failure to yield right-of-way

3

Improper turn

3

Failure to signal

2

Failure to dim lights

2

Defective head lamps

1

Eluding officer

12

Failure to yield to pedestrian

4

Failure to yield to disabled pedestrian

6

Seat belt violation

2

Underage cellphone violation

1

Texting and driving

4

Failure to use due care while passing stationary vehicle

3 (6 points if injury, 8 points if death)

License restriction violation

3

Unlisted misdemeanor traffic violation

3

Consequences of Accumulating Too Many Points

Drivers who accumulate too many points face license suspension. Colorado has a multi-stage license program whereby the rules and restricts depend on the driver’s age. So, the number of points that will lead to license suspension also generally depends on the age of the driver. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Drivers younger than 18 years old. The driver will face suspension for acquiring five points within a 12-month period or six points prior to turning 18 years old.
  • Drivers who are 18 to 20 years old. Drivers in this age group will face suspension for acquiring nine points in a 12-month period, 12 points in a 24-month period, or 14 points since turning 18 years old.
  • Drivers who are at least 21 years old. Drivers who have reached the age of 21 will be suspended for acquiring 12 points in a 12-month period or 18 points in a 24-month period.
  • Drivers working as chauffeurs who obtain points in the course of their employment will be suspended for acquiring 16 points in 12 months, 24 points in 24 months, or 28 points in four years.

Notice of point accumulation. A driver who accumulates too many points will receive a warning letter or notice of hearing for the suspension. At the hearing, the driver can present testimony and evidence, and the Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles, will decide whether to suspend the driver’s license. If the Department does impose a suspension, the driver might still be able to obtain a probationary license to drive during the suspension period. The department can place any number of conditions on a probationary license, including an ignition interlock device (IID) requirement and restrictions on when and where the licensee can drive.

Period of suspension. The Department determines suspension periods based on the driver’s history and the other circumstances. The hearing officer will issue a suspension of six months to one year.

How to Reduce Points

A driver can reduce the points for a violation by paying the fine prior to its due date. Prompt fine payment will reduce violations that are at least three points by two points and two-point violation by 1 point.

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