CRS 42-2-206 defines the Colorado crime of driving after revocation prohibited (DARP) as when habitual traffic offenders (HTOs) drive while their license is revoked. 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. But defendants 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 while their license is revoked.1 The length of the driver’s license revocation for HTOs is usually five (5) years.2
People become HTOs 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),
- Aggravated motor vehicle theft (CRS 18-4-409), or
- Hit-and-run involving death or serious injury.3
HTOs caught operating any motor vehicle during the revocation period face DARP charges. But HTOs face aggravated DARP charges if they 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 the defendant completes 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
And 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, HTO defendants face 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:
- The defendant is not a habitual traffic offender. Like all government bureaucracies, the Colorado DMV makes clerical errors. Perhaps the defendant’s driving record incorrectly indicates that the defendant is an HTO. If the defendant can show that he/she never amassed the traffic points or convictions to warrant HTO status, the DARP charge should be dropped.6
- The defendant was not driving the car. Mistaken identity is a common defense in criminal cases. Perhaps the police misidentified the defendant as the actual driver. Unless the District Attorney can prove that the defendant was behind the wheel, DARP charges should not stand.7
- The defendant drove only because it was an emergency. HTOs are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle while their driving privileges are suspended, even during emergencies. But if the defendant 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
- The defendant did not know about the HTO status. DARP charges do not apply unless the defendant knew – or should have known – about the license revocation. That the DMV mailed out a notice of revocation is not conclusive proof of the defendant’s knowledge. Unless prosecutors can show that a reasonable person in the defendant’s 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 the defendant’s criminal record. But if the DARP charge gets dismissed, the defendant 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. People who have a current and valid license but forget to carry it with them while driving face charges for a class B traffic infraction. The same is true if the defendant’s 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.
- 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, e.g. 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.