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|
|Adults age 18 to 20|
|Minors (under 18)|
|Chauffeurs (i.e. taxi drivers)|
*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.
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|
|Leaving an accident scene (hit-and-run)|
|Evading an officer|
|UDD (underage drinking and driving)|
|Failure to show proof of insurance|
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.