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How many DMV points can I get before losing my driver's license in Colorado?

Posted by Neil Shouse | May 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

It depends on the driver's age. For adults 21 and older in Colorado, accumulating 12 DMV points in 12 months will result in a license suspension of 6 to 12 months. Even a first-time offense of DUI in Colorado usually results in an automatic suspension as well.

Colorado DMV Points System

The Colorado DMV point system makes driver's license suspension mandatory if the license-holder picks up too many traffic violation points in a certain consecutive period of time. The point threshold depends on the driver's age and whether he/she is a professional chauffeur:

Colorado driver's license holder

DMV points that will trigger license suspension

Adults age 21 and older

  • 12 points in 12 months, or
  • 18 points in 24 months

Adults age 18 to 20

  • 9 points in 12 months,
  • 12 points in 24 months, or
  • 14 points between turning 18 and before becoming 21

Minors (under 18)

  • 6 points in 12 months, or
  • 7 points before turning 18

Chauffeurs (i.e. taxi drivers)

  • 16 points in 12 months,
  • 24 points in 24 months, or
  • 28 points in 48 months

*The driver has the burden to prove these points were incurred during the course of employment as a chauffeur.

Note that Colorado law is still unclear as to whether ride-sharing drivers (such as for Uber or Lift) qualify as chauffeurs.

Length of driver's license suspensions

Once a Colorado driver picks up enough points to trigger a license suspension, the DMV hearing officer has discretion over whether to impose a suspension of 6 months to 1 year. When considering how long to make the suspension, the hearing officer considers the person's driving history including any "aggravators" such as:

  • not being forthcoming about pending traffic tickets
  • causing an accident
  • the seriousness of the instant traffic violation and past violations
  • whether the person has committed the same traffic violation repeatedly
  • having had a probationary driver's license (PDL) before

The hearing officer will also consider "mitigators," such as if the person's driving habits have been improving. 

Probationary licenses

The hearing officer also has the discretion to grant people with a suspended license a "probationary driver's license" (PDL). Also called a "red license," a PDL allows the holder to drive for a limited set of reasons. The common ones are to go to work and to school.

Note that PDLs are valid only in the state of Colorado, and there is a "zero-tolerance" point policy on PDLs. Therefore, people will lose their PDL if they pick up any other moving violations. 

Also note that police may confiscate a person's PDL if he/she cannot verify that he/she was driving for a permitted purpose. And if a person already had a PDL, the hearing officer is less likely to grant him/her a second one later on.

Learn about the process of reinstating a driver's license after a Colorado DMV suspension.

Traffic violation point values

Every moving violation is Colorado is assigned a DMV point value. A sampling is below:

Colorado traffic violation

DMV points added to the driver's license

DUI or DUI per se

12

Leaving an accident scene (hit-and-run)

12

Evading an officer

12

Speed contests

12

DWAI

8

Reckless driving

8

UDD (underage drinking and driving)

4

Careless driving

4

Improper passing

4

Failure to show proof of insurance

4

Note that the point value for speeding ranges from 1 to 12 points depending on how fast the driver was going, and where the speeding occurred.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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