Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Colorado DUI Laws to learn more.
Colorado’s legal term for driving on a suspended license is driving under restraint, abbreviated DUR. Below are the DUR penalties depending on the reason for the license suspension.
Driving with a license suspended for drunk driving
A temporary driver’s license revocation is a standard punishment for DUI, DUI per se, UDD, subsequent DWAI, or any drunk- or drugged driving-related charge in the U.S. Driving on a license suspended due to DUI is a class 2 traffic misdemeanor in Colorado.
A first-time offense carries:
10 days to 1 year in jail, and
$150 to $1,000 in fines, and
a 1-year extension of the driver’s license suspension
Meanwhile, a second or successive offense in a five-year period of the first DUR case carries:
10 days to 2 years in jail, and
$500 to $3,000 in fines, and
a 4-year extension of the driver’s license suspension
Note that convicted defendants must serve the mandatory minimum of jail time unless they drove due to an emergency situation.
And under certain circumstances, defendants may be eligible for a restricted license under CRS 42-2-132.5.
Driving with a license suspended for an outstanding judgment
The Colorado DMV suspends people’s driver’s licenses for having an outstanding judgment. This means the person is behind on making a court-ordered payment, such as child support or restitution.
Driving on a license suspended due to an outstanding judgment is a class A traffic infraction in Colorado. The punishment is a fine of $15 to $100, and three (3) DMV points.
Driving with a license suspended due to any other reason
A common reason why people’s Colorado driver’s licenses may get suspended is by accruing too many DMV points from various traffic violations. Driving on a license suspended for reasons other than DUI or outstanding judgments is a class A traffic infraction in Colorado. The penalties include $15 to $100.
A first-time offense also carries an additional year of license suspension. And for second or subsequent offenses within five years of the first DUR case, the license suspension period is extended for three years.
Note that under certain circumstances, defendants may be eligible for a restricted license under CRS 42-2-132.5.
How to fight DUR charges
There are many potential defenses to Colorado charges of driving on a suspended license. Three common defense arguments are:
Lack of knowledge. No law was broken as long as the defendant had no actual knowledge that his/her license was suspended. Maybe the DMV failed to notify the defendant. Unless the D.A. can show the defendant knowingly drove under restraint, the charge should be dropped.
No restraint. As a big bureaucracy, the DMV sometimes makes mistakes. Perhaps the defendant’s name was mistakenly listed as being under restraint. If the defense attorney can show that the defendant’s license was never supposed to be suspended, the case should be dismissed.
Emergency. Even in emergency situations, it is against the law to drive without a license. Even still, prosecutors may elect to drop the case if the defendant had a good excuse for committing DUR.
Prior to March 1, 2022, DUI-related DUR was a misdemeanor. A first-time offense carried 30 days to 1 year in jail and $500 to $1,000 in fines. A second-time offense carried 90 days to 2 years in jail and $500 to $3,000 in fines. And non-DUI related DUR was also a misdemeanor that carried up to $500 and/or 6 months in jail. SB21-271.
About the Author
Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.
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