In Colorado, “driving after revocation prohibited” is a crime that occurs when habitual traffic offenders drive on a revoked license. DARP is generally a class 2 traffic misdemeanor, with penalties of 30 to 90 days in county jail and/or at least $3,000 in fines. Though you may be allowed to perform community service in place of incarceration.
The language of CRS 42-2-206 states:
It is unlawful for any person to operate any motor vehicle in this state while the revocation of the department prohibiting the operation remains in effect. Any person found to be an habitual offender, who operates a motor vehicle in this state while the revocation of the department prohibiting such operation is in effect, commits a class 2 traffic misdemeanor.
In this article, our Denver Colorado criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is “driving after revocation prohibited” (DARP) in Colorado?
- 2. What is the penalty under CRS 42-2-206?
- 3. How can I fight DARP charges?
- 4. Can the record be sealed?
- 5. Related offenses
1. What is “driving after revocation prohibited” (DARP) in Colorado?
DARP is when habitual traffic offenders (HTOs) drive on a revoked license.1 The length of the driver’s license revocation for HTOs is usually five (5) years.2
You become an HTO in one of the following two ways:
1. By accruing too many DMV points in a five-year period from separate moving violations:
- 10 or more infractions that add 4 or more points, or
- 18 or more infractions that add 3 or fewer points. Or
2. By having three or more of the following driving-related convictions in a seven-year period:
- Any DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI crime,
- Reckless driving (CRS 42-4-1401),
- Driving under restraint / DUR (CRS 42-2-138),
- Making a false statement to the DMV,
- Vehicular assault (CRS 18-3-205),
- Vehicular homicide (CRS 18-3-106),
- Motor vehicle theft (CRS 18-4-409), or
- Hit-and-run involving death or serious injury.3
If you are an HTO caught operating any motor vehicle during your revocation period, you face DARP charges. Though you face aggravated DARP charges if you are caught committing any of the following five traffic offenses during the revocation period:
- Reckless driving
- Eluding a police officer (CRS 42-4-1413),
- Vehicular eluding (CRS 18-9-116.5)
- Hit-and-run, or
- Failing to report a car accident they were involved in.4
2. What is the penalty under CRS 42-2-206?
DARP is usually a class 2 traffic misdemeanor in Colorado. The punishment carries:
- At least $3,000, and/or
- 30 days to 90 days in county jail
The court may not grant probation. However, courts may suspend the jail sentence if you complete community service (“useful public service”). The trial court judge may order 40 to 300 hours of community service.
Meanwhile, aggravated driving after revocation prohibited is a class 1 traffic misdemeanor and carries:
- $300 to $1,000 in fines, and/or
- 60 days to 12 months of jail time
There is no option to perform community service instead of jail for aggravated DARP convictions.5
Note that HTOs are typically caught committing DARP during a traffic stop for another traffic violation, such as speeding (NRS 42-4-1101), careless driving (NRS 42-4-1402), or driving under the influence. Therefore, courts can impose not only DARP penalties but also penalties for the underlying driving offense.
3. How can I fight DARP charges?
Four potential defenses that could get a DARP charge dismissed or reduced are the following:
- You are not a habitual traffic offender. Like all government bureaucracies, the Colorado DMV makes clerical errors. Perhaps your driving record incorrectly indicates that you are an HTO. If you can show that you never amassed the traffic points or convictions to warrant HTO status, the DARP charge should be dropped.6
- You were not driving the car. Mistaken identity is a common defense in criminal cases. Perhaps the police misidentified you as the actual driver. Unless the District Attorney can prove that you were behind the wheel, DARP charges should not stand.7
- You drove only because it was an emergency. As an HTO, you are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle while your driving privileges are suspended, even during emergencies. Though if you can show that driving was a necessity, then the D.A. may be persuaded to lessen or dismiss the charge. An example may be driving a family member to the hospital if an ambulance was unavailable.8
- You did not know about the HTO status. DARP charges do not apply unless you knew – or should have known – about the license revocation. That the DMV mailed out a notice of revocation is not conclusive proof of your knowledge. Unless prosecutors can show that a reasonable person in your position should have known about the revocation, the case should be thrown out.9
4. Can the record be sealed?
DARP convictions cannot be sealed from your criminal record. Though if the DARP charge gets dismissed, you can petition for a record seal right away.10
5. Related offenses
5.1. Driving Under Restraint (DUR)
Driving under restraint (DUR) (CRS 42-2-138) is when non-HTOs drive on a suspended or revoked license in Colorado. This offense is generally a Class A traffic infraction, but it becomes a traffic misdemeanor if the reason for the suspension was alcohol-related.11
5.2. Driving without a License
Driving without a driver’s license (CRS 42-2-101) is generally a class A traffic infraction. If you have a current and valid license but forget to carry it with you while driving, you face charges for a class B traffic infraction. The same is true if your license has been expired for less than one year. Penalties for traffic infractions include a fine of $15 to $100. A second offense carries 6 DMV points. There is no mandatory jail time.12
Our traffic lawyers practice throughout Colorado, including Denver, Greeley, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Arapahoe, Jefferson County and more.
- Colorado Revised Statute 42-2-206. The full language of the statute reads as follows: (1) (a) (I) It is unlawful for any person to operate any motor vehicle in this state while the revocation of the department prohibiting the operation remains in effect. Any person found to be an habitual offender, who operates a motor vehicle in this state while the revocation of the department prohibiting such operation is in effect, commits a class 1 misdemeanor. (II) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S., any person convicted of violating subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a) shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment in the county jail for thirty days, or a mandatory minimum fine of three thousand dollars, or both. The minimum jail sentence and fine required by this subparagraph (II) shall be in addition to any other penalty provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S. The court may suspend all or a portion of the mandatory jail sentence or fine if the defendant successfully completes no less than forty hours, and no greater than three hundred hours, of useful public service. In no event shall the court sentence the convicted person to probation. Upon the defendant’s successful completion of the useful public service, the court shall vacate the suspended sentence. In the event the defendant fails or refuses to complete the useful public service ordered, the court shall impose the jail sentence, fine, or both, as required under this subparagraph (II). (b) (I) A person commits the crime of aggravated driving with a revoked license if he or she is found to be an habitual offender and thereafter operates a motor vehicle in this state while the revocation of the department prohibiting such operation is in effect and, as a part of the same criminal episode, also commits any of the following offenses: (A) and (B) Repealed. (C) Reckless driving, as described in section 42-4-1401; (D) Eluding or attempting to elude a police officer, as described in section 42-4-1413; (E) Violation of any of the requirements specified for accidents and accident reports in sections 42-4-1601 to 42-4-1606; or (F) Vehicular eluding, as described in section 18-9-116.5, C.R.S. (II) Aggravated driving with a revoked license is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.; except that a court shall sentence the offender to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of sixty days in the custody of a county jail. (III) If a defendant is convicted of aggravated driving with a revoked license based upon the commission of DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI pursuant to sub-subparagraph (A) or (B) of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b), as that crime existed before August 5, 2015: (A) The court shall convict and sentence the offender for each offense separately; (B) The court shall impose all of the penalties for the alcohol-related driving offense, as such penalties are described in section 42-4-1307; (C) The provisions of section 18-1-408, C.R.S, shall not apply to the sentences imposed for either conviction; (D) Any probation imposed for a conviction under this section may run concurrently with any probation required by section 42-4-1307; and (E) The department shall reflect both convictions on the defendant’s driving record. (2) For the purpose of enforcing this section in any case in which the accused is charged with driving a motor vehicle while such person’s license, permit, or privilege to drive is revoked or is charged with driving without a license, the court, before hearing such charges, shall require the district attorney to determine whether such person has been determined to be an habitual offender and by reason of such determination is barred from operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state. If the district attorney determines that the accused has been so held, the district attorney shall cause the appropriate criminal charges to be lodged against the accused.
- Fuhrer v. Department of Motor Vehicles, (1978) 197 Colo. 325, 592 P.2d 402.
- CRS 42-2-202.
- CRS 42-2-206.
- CRS 42-2-206. Prior to March 1, 2022, DARP was a class 1 misdemeanor, with penalties of 30 days to 18 months in jail and/or $3,000 to $5,000 in fines. And aggravated DARP carried $3,000 to $5,000 in fines, and 60 days to 18 months of jail time. SB21-271.
- See, for example, People v. DeLeon,(1981) 625 P.2d 1010.
- See also People v. Valdez, (2014) COA 125, 411 P.3d 94.
- People v. McKnight, (1980) 200 Colo. 486, 617 P.2d 1178.
- People v. Parga, (Colo. App. 1998) 964 P.2d 571; Griego v. People, (Colo. 2001) 19 P.3d 1.
- CRS 24-72-701 – 708.
- CRS 42-2-138; People v. Wambolt, (2018) COA 88, 431 P.3d 681.
- CRS 42-2-101.