In Colorado, the possession of an altered or fake driver's license, or use of another person's driver's license is a misdemeanor traffic offense under CRS 42-2-136. Unlawful possession of a driver's license can result in a fine. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is unlawful possession of a driver's license in Colorado?
- 2. What are the penalties for use of a fake driver's license?
- 3. What are defenses for the unlawful use of a driver's license?
- 4. Related Offenses
Under C.R.S. 42-2-136, the unlawful possession or use of a driver's license is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. This applies to the use of a driver's license, minor driver's license, temporary driver's license, and instruction permit. The unlawful use of a driver's license in Colorado includes:
- A license falsely altered by means of erasure, obliteration, deletion, insertion of new matter, transposition of matter, or any other means to alter the license to appear authentic;
- A fraudulently obtained driver's license;
- A paper, document, or other instrument that falsely appears to be an authentic license;
- Display, or represent as being his or her own, a driver's license lawfully issued to another person;
- Failure to surrender a license that has been suspended, revoked, or canceled;
- Permitting the unlawful use of a driver's license by another person; or
- Duplicating or in any way reproducing a driver's license for the purpose of distribution, resale, manipulation, or reuse.
There may be many reasons someone uses an unlawful license. This includes the use of a fake license to get a job as a delivery driver, or using another driver's license to avoid using their real name. Many drivers under the age of 21 obtain a fraudulent license to try and purchase alcohol. However, the unlawful possession or use of a license can result in a traffic violation. Depending on how the license was used, it may also result in criminal penalties.
Bars, restaurants, and liquor stores have employees trained in identifying fake IDs. Increasingly, underage individuals are trying to obtain fake IDs in order to purchase recreational marijuana in Colorado. Servers, clerks, and bouncers may report fake IDs to law enforcement.
The unlawful use or possession of a driver's license is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense in Colorado.1 The penalties for use of a fake driver's license include between 10 and 90 days in jail, and a fine of up to $300. However, in most cases, an individual convicted of unlawful possession or a license can be sentenced to probation and avoid serving jail time.
Anyone who photographs, copies, or duplicates a driver's license for the purpose of distribution, resale, or reuse may be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor.2 This includes making a fake license for a friend using computer photo-editing software. Penalties include up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.
There may be a number of possible defenses to charges of using a fake driver's license. Your Colorado defense attorney will investigate your case and identify the available legal defenses for your case. Possible defenses include:
- You did not know the license was fraudulent;
- You were not in possession of the fraudulent license;
- Evidence was obtained through unlawful search or seizure by the police;
- Someone used your driver's license without your knowledge; or
- You did not intentionally alter the license.
The unlawful use of a license can result in multiple traffic offenses or criminal penalties. Other related offenses include driving without a license, or using a fake ID. The unlawful use of a commercial driver's license restricts a driver's ability to obtain a license in the future.
4.1, C.R.S. 42-2-136 Unlawful Possession or Use of a Commercial Driver's License
The unlawful possession or use of a commercial driver's license (CDL) involves obtaining a fake CDL, using another driver's CDL, or allowing another person to use one's own CDL. Unlawful use of a CDL is a misdemeanor offense in Colorado. Penalties include a fine; however, a conviction can also disqualify a driver from their being able to obtain a CDL in the future.
It is also unlawful in Colorado to display or use a fraudulently obtained identification card. This includes allowing another person to use your valid ID. Use of a fake ID is a class 3 misdemeanor. Penalties include up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.
Driving without a license is a class B traffic infraction in Colorado. This includes driving with an expired license or driving without your valid license in your possession at the time you are pulled over. Driving on a suspended license or driving without ever having been issued a license are separate and more serious offenses. The penalty for driving without a license includes a fine of up to $100. Multiple offenses can result in points on your driving record.
Call us for help...
If you were charged for the unlawful use or possession of a Colorado driver's license, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been charged with motor vehicle violations and criminal offenses. We are among the best Colorado criminal defense attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.
- C.R.S. 42-2-136
- C.R.S. 42-2-136(6)(b)