In Colorado, the possession of a fake commercial driver's license, or use of another person's commercial driver's license is a misdemeanor under CRS 42-2-409. Unlawful possession of a commercial driver's license can result in a fine and permanent loss of the right to receive a commercial driver's license in the future. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is unlawful possession of a commercial driver's license in Colorado?
- 2. What are the penalties for use of a fake commercial driver's license?
- 3. What are the defenses to the unlawful use of a commercial driver's license?
- 4. Related Offenses
Under CRS 42-2-409, the unlawful possession or use of a commercial driver's license (CDL) involves obtaining a fake CDL, using another driver's CDL, or allowing another person to use one's own CDL. Unlawful use of a CDL is a misdemeanor offense in Colorado. Not only can it result in a fine, but it will also disqualify a driver from their ability to obtain a CDL in the future.
In Colorado, a commercial driver's licenses is required to operate a commercial vehicle over 26,001 pounds, a commercial vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, or when transporting hazardous material. 1
A CDL is a valuable asset for people seeking jobs as a commercial driver. However, some drivers may not have the time or money to get a CDL, or they may have already lost their CDL because of some violation. They may be tempted to use a fraudulent CDL or use another driver's CDL in order to work as a commercial driver.
The unlawful possession or use of a commercial driver's license in Colorado includes:
- A license falsely altered by means of erasure, obliteration, deletion, insertion of new information, or transposition of information, or any other means;
- A fraudulently obtained CDL;
- A paper, document, or other instrument that falsely appears to be an authentic CDL;
- Display, or represent as being his or her own, a CDL lawfully issued to another person;
- Failure to surrender a CDL that has been suspended, revoked, or canceled;
- Permitting the unlawful use of a CDL by another person; or
- Duplicating or in any way reproducing a CDL for the purpose of distribution, resale, or reuse.
The unlawful use or possession of a CDL is a misdemeanor offense in Colorado. The penalties for a conviction for the unlawful use of a CDL includes a fine of between $500 and $1,000. A second or subsequent conviction within 5 years will result in a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000.
A conviction shall also result in the permanent loss of the right to receive a commercial driver's license. This can impact an individual's ability to find a job, and permanently restrict them from pursuing a commercial driving career. If a driver's right to a CDL was permanently revoked, they may be able to request a hearing before the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
An individual charged with the unlawful possession or use of a CDL cannot plead guilty to a lesser offense if charged under this statute. The court can only accept a plea of guilty to another offense upon the good faith representation by the prosecutor that they cannot establish a prima facie case on the offense.
There may be a number of possible defenses to charges of using a fake CDL. Your Colorado defense attorney will investigate your case and identify the available legal defenses for your case. Possible defenses include:
- You did not know the CDL was fraudulent;
- You were not in possession of the fraudulent CDL;
- Evidence was obtained through unlawful search or seizure by the police;
- Someone used your CDL without your knowledge; or
- You were not aware your CDL was suspended.
The unlawful use of a license is not limited to commercial drivers. Other related offenses include the unlawful use of a standard driver's license, driving without a license, or driving on a suspended or revoked license.
Colorado statute CRS 42-2-136 applies similar restrictions on the unlawful use of a standard driver's license. The possession or use of an altered or fraudulent license or use of another driver's license is a class 2 misdemeanor. Penalties for the unlawful use of a driver's license include up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
It is also unlawful in Colorado to display or use a fraudulently obtained identification card. This includes allowing another person to use your valid ID. Use of a fake ID is a class 3 misdemeanor. Penalties include up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.
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.
Call us for help...
If you were charged for the unlawful use or possession of a commercial driver's license, 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.
- C.R.S. 42-2-402(4)(a)