Permitting an Unauthorized Person to Drive in Colorado
CRS 42–2–140

In Colorado, allowing an unauthorized person to drive a vehicle is a class B traffic infraction under CRS 42-2-140. Permitting an unauthorized driver to get behind the wheel can result in a fine of up to $100. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:

Driving
In Colorado, no person shall authorize or knowingly permit a motor vehicle to be driven by any person who has not been issued a currently valid driver’s license.

1. What is permitting an unauthorized person to drive in Colorado?

Under CRS 42-2-140, no person shall authorize or knowingly permit a motor vehicle to be driven by any person who has not been issued a currently valid driver's license. Permitting an unauthorized individual to drive is a class B traffic infraction and may result in a fine.

An unauthorized driver includes any person without a currently valid driver's license, minor driver's license, or instruction permit. An unauthorized driver does not refer to a driver who took a vehicle without the owner's permission, which may be a separate crime of aggravated motor vehicle theft. Neither does “unauthorized driver” refer to an individual's legal status. Colorado has issued driver's licenses to immigrant residents since 2014.

2. What are the penalties for permitting an unauthorized person to drive?

The penalties for allowing an unauthorized driver to operate your vehicle include a fine ranging from $15 to $100, and a surcharge fee. It does not add points to your driving record. However, if you fail to pay the traffic infraction fine, you may not be able to renew your driver's license until you pay all fines and costs.

3. What are the penalties for the unauthorized driver?

Driving without a valid license can be a much more serious offense for the driver than the owner. The owner who permitted the driver to get behind the wheel may be issued a ticket; however, the driver may face criminal charges. If the driver has a license but it is not in their possession, or if their license has expired within the past year, driving without a license is a class B traffic infraction, the same as for the vehicle owner. 1

If the driver has never been issued a license, they may be in violation of C.R.S. 42-2-101. Driving without a valid license for which the driver has not been issued the correct type or class of license is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense.2 Penalties for driving without being issued a license include a fine.

If the driver has a restricted license, they may be facing criminal charges for operating a motor vehicle. Under C.R.S. 42-2-138, any person who drives with their license under restraint for a reason other than a DUI conviction is guilty of a misdemeanor.3 This includes a suspended or revoked license for failure to pay traffic tickets, excessive points on your driving record, or failure to pay child support. Penalties may include up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. A second or subsequent conviction may result in the individual losing their eligibility for a driver's license for three years.

If the driver has a revoked driver's license because of a DUI, DWAI, or underage drunk driving, they may be charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense. Penalties include a minimum of 30 days in jail, up to a maximum of one year, and a fine of up to $1,000. A second or subsequent conviction is punished by 90 days up to 2 years in prison, and a fine of up to $3,000.4

4. Related Offenses

Permitting an unauthorized person to drive is similar to the offense of permitting an unauthorized minor to drive a car. Driving without your license may result in a similar traffic infraction. In some cases, a driver allows an unauthorized driver to operate their vehicle because they are too intoxicated to drive. However, if an impaired driver does decide to get behind the wheel, they may be facing a DUI arrest.

4.1, C.R.S. 42-2-139 Permitting an Unauthorized Minor to Drive 

Permitting a minor (under the age of 18) to drive is a class B infraction in Colorado under CRS 42-2-139. The penalties are similar to permitting an unauthorized person to drive, including a fine of up to $100.

4.2, C.R.S. 42-2-101 Driving Without a License

Driving without a license is a class B traffic infraction in Colorado. This includes driving with an expired license or driving without your valid license in your possession at the time you are pulled over. Driving on a suspended license or driving without ever having been issued a license are separate and more serious offenses. The penalty for driving without a license includes a fine of up to $100. Multiple offenses can result in points on your driving record.

4.3, C.R.S. 42-4-1301 Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs, is a criminal offense in Colorado under CRS 42-4-1301. The penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol include jail time, fines, a suspended license, and increased insurance costs.

Call us for help...

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If you were ticketed for permitting an unauthorized person to drive or other traffic violation, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been charged with motor vehicle violations and criminal offenses. We are among the best Colorado criminal defense attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.


Legal References

  1. C.R.S. 42-2-101
  2. C.R.S. 42-2-101(10)
  3. C.R.S. 42-2-138(1)(a)
  4. C.R.S. 42-2-138(1)(d)

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