The state of Colorado, like most states, has a “point system” that is utilized to keep track of traffic offenses for licensed drivers. Get too many points within a certain period of time, and there is the potential to lose your driver’s license. Clearly, this could have disastrous effects on your day to day life, and prevent you from doing things like getting to and from work, taking your kids to school, and driving to entertainment, errands, and events.
In this article, we’ll discuss Colorado’s point system, what points mean, and how many are allowed on your driver’s license. We’ll also discuss the point value of various traffic offenses and how they affect your ability to drive. Keep in mind that when your driving privileges are in danger of being taken away, your best course of action is to consult with a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.
What is a “Point”?
For legal purposes, a point is a number that is assigned to a traffic offense. The more serious the offense, the greater number of points it is assigned. Too many points against your license within a specific period of time will result in a driver’s license suspension.
Certain offenses, such as speeding, are assigned points based on how many miles per hour over the speed limit you were traveling. The greater the speed you were driving over the speed limit, the more points are placed on your license. Other offenses, such as a DUI, have a set number of points. For example, if you are convicted of driving under the influence, your driver’s license automatically receives 12 points.
Receiving the maximum allowable number of points against your driver’s license triggers a license suspension. However, before the suspension goes into effect, you are entitled to a hearing. This is where the benefit of an experienced attorney comes into play.
At the hearing, your attorney can challenge the number of points on your license. He or she can also present evidence that may convince the hearing officer to shorten the length of your suspension due to the hardship it will cause. Finally, depending on the circumstances, your attorney can help you obtain a probationary license that will allow you to continue driving during your license suspension.
What are the Point Values for Traffic Violations?
Here is a list of the more common violations and their point values:
- Leaving scene of an accident – 12 points
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs – 12 points
- Driving while ability is impaired by alcohol – 8 points
- Speed contests – 12 points
- Eluding or attempting to elude a police officer – 12 points
- Reckless driving – 8 points
- Careless driving – 4 points
- Failure to yield right-of-way – 3 points
- Speeding over posted limit 5–9 m.p.h. – 1 point
- Speeding over posted limit 10–19 m.p.h. – 4 points
- Speeding over posted limit 20–39 m.p.h. – 6 points
- Speeding over posted limit 40–or more m.p.h. – 12 points
- Failure to stop for a school bus 6 points
- Driving on the wrong side of road – 4 points
- Failure to maintain or show proof of insurance – 4 points
- Improper passing – 4 points
- Failure to observe traffic sign or signal – 4 points
- Improper turn – 3 points
- Driving through safety zone – 3 points
- Driving in wrong lane or direction on one-way street – 3 points
- Failure to signal or improper signal – 2 points
- Failure to yield to emergency vehicle – 4 points
- Improper backing – 2 points
- Failure to dim or turn on lights – 2 points
- Operating an unsafe vehicle – 2 points
How Many Points are Allowed Before License Suspension?
Here in the state of Colorado, a driver between 16 and 18 years of age can accumulate six points within a 12-consecutive-month period or seven points for the duration of the license. Between the ages of 18 and 21 years of age, a driver can accumulate nine points within a 12-consecutive-month period, 12 points within a 24-month period, or 14 points for the duration of the license. When a driver is 21 years old or older, they can accumulate 12 points within a 12-month period or 18 points within a 24-month period.
How Do I Know How Many Points are on My License?
The best way to answer this question is to simply keep track of the traffic convictions that you’ve received, and their subsequent point values. If you cannot do this, you may request a non-certified copy of your driving record from the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. You can do this in person at any DMV office. A certified copy of your driving record can be obtained at Division of Motor Vehicles, 1881 Pierce St., Lakewood, CO 80214, or by sending a letter of request along with the proper forms to Department of Revenue, Driver Control Section, P.O. Box 173345, Denver, CO 80217-3345. You can also request a copy of your driving record online by filling out the information requested and paying the fee.
What Happens at a DMV Point Hearing?
If your license has been suspended due to too many points, you will receive a letter in the mail notifying you of the DMV point hearing. This hearing is an administrative hearing that can be held either in person or by phone and is less formal than a courtroom hearing. The hearing officer will examine the evidence with you, review your points on record, and you will be able to present evidence such as witnesses. You will be able to testify on your own behalf, but you will not be required to testify. Please note that the hearing officer cannot offer legal advice, and for this reason, you should plan to have your attorney attend the hearing with you. If you miss your hearing, you will receive an automatic one-year license suspension.
How Can I Reinstate My Driving Privileges?
If you’ve received a driver’s license suspension due to too many points, you will be advised of the date you can drive again either at your hearing or via a letter. The reinstatement process includes paying the $95 fee and submitting the Application for Reinstatement. If you do not follow the correct procedures, your license will continue to be suspended.
At Schwaner Law, we know how to challenge your license revocation or suspension. We will work to keep driving, as well as to get your license reinstated as quickly as possible. Call us today at 719-577-9700 or contact us online for a free and confidential assessment of your case.