Facing the suspension of your driver’s license can severely limit your mobility, making tasks like commuting to work, attending school, or running errands challenging. Often, public transportation isn’t a viable alternative, being less convenient and more time-consuming. A probationary driver’s license might offer a practical solution, helping you and your family navigate these demands more effectively.
Christian Schwaner is a former prosecutor with over 20 years of experience in criminal and DUI defense law. He is the right attorney to guide you through the complex process of obtaining a probationary driver’s license in Colorado. This could be your ticket to regaining some semblance of normalcy while navigating the legal system. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Consequences of a License Suspension
The suspension of your driver’s license can last from 6 months to 1 year, depending on the driver’s history and the severity of the offenses. The hearing officer determines the exact length of the suspension.
Aside from the inconvenience, insurance companies view you as a high-risk driver after a traffic violation that results in a license suspension or revocation. Consequently, your premiums can increase. In some cases, your insurance policy may even be terminated midterm. Additionally, the suspension could appear in background checks, impacting your ability to seek employment.
License Suspension Vs. Revocation
A suspension is a temporary withdrawal of your driving privileges for a specific period or until certain conditions are met. Once the suspension period is over, you can get your license reinstated.
On the other hand, revocation is a complete termination of your driving privilege. To regain it, you must apply for a new license once the revocation period ends and you’ve met all the requirements set by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Various reasons can lead to license suspension and revocation. Typical causes include:
- Unauthorized use of a license
- Excessive points accumulation
- DUI, DWAI, DUID convictions
- Evading law enforcement
- Neglecting child support
Probationary License Vs. Regular Driver’s License
A regular driver’s license allows you to drive anywhere, anytime, without restrictions. However, a probationary license is different. The state grants a limited driving privilege to individuals whose licenses have been suspended.
A probationary license is not a full reinstatement of your driving privileges. It comes with specific restrictions that dictate when and where you can drive.
Despite these limitations, a probationary license can be a lifeline during the challenging suspension period. It allows you to maintain essential aspects of your daily life, such as commuting to and from work, while serving your suspension.
Probationary License (Red License) Rules
Drivers may be eligible for a Probationary Driver’s License (PDL), commonly called a “red license,” during the suspension period. This license allows limited driving privileges, such as for work or school.
While a probationary license offers some relief from the constraints of a suspension, it’s important to understand and follow the rules associated with it strictly. These rules may include:
- Driving only during certain hours.
- Only driving to specific locations such as work or school.
- Not consuming alcohol before or while driving (this might involve the installation of an ignition interlock in your vehicle).
- Submit regular reports to your probation officer.
The consequences of failing to adhere to these rules can include an extension of your suspension period or even revocation of your driving privileges.
Holders of a probationary license must maintain SR-22 insurance. This certificate of financial responsibility proves that a driver meets the minimum auto insurance coverage required by the motor vehicle division.
Probationary License Eligibility
Eligibility for a probationary license depends on your suspension, driving history, and whether you’ve previously been granted a probationary license. Generally, you may be eligible if:
- Your license was suspended due to a child support suspension or accumulating too many points on your driving record.
- You have not been convicted of a serious traffic offense in the past year.
- You have not been granted a probationary license in the past five years.
- You have not refused a chemical test within the past two years.
However, these are general guidelines, and the specifics can vary based on individual circumstances.
Steps to Obtain a Probationary License
Obtaining a probationary license involves several steps:
Application: You must first apply to the DMV for a hearing to request a probationary license. The application must include details about why you need the license, such as for work or school.
Hearing: If your application is accepted, you will be scheduled for a hearing with a DMV hearing officer. This is where having an experienced attorney like Christian Schwaner can make all the difference. He can help present your case effectively and increase your chances of being granted a probationary license.
Issuance: If the hearing officer approves your request, you will be issued a probationary license with the specific restrictions mentioned above.
Probationary License Hearing
The hearing is one of the most critical steps in obtaining a probationary license. You can persuade the hearing officer that you need limited driving privileges.
Colorado has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. In January 2023, it instituted a mandatory ignition interlock system for those convicted of a DUI or who refused chemical testing.
We can help you prepare for the hearing, guide you on what to expect, and represent you during the hearing to ensure your best interests are represented. Our goal is to help you regain some driving privileges to continue to live your life despite the suspension.
Probationary License Violation Consequences
You could face additional penalties if you violate the terms of your probationary license. These may include an extension of your suspension period, revocation of your probationary license, or even jail time in some cases.
The exact consequences will depend on the nature of the violation and your driving history. For example, suppose you’re pulled over while driving outside the “curfew” or pre-designated locations. In that case, you may have your probationary license revoked and be required to serve the remainder of your original suspension.
If you’re caught driving under the influence while on a probationary license, the consequences can be much more severe. You could face criminal charges, additional fines, and an extended suspension or revocation period.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Facing a driver’s license suspension can be stressful and inconvenient. You don’t have to navigate this alone. At Christian A. Schwaner, P.C., we’re here to help.
We understand the complexities of Colorado’s DUI and traffic laws. We can guide you through every step of the process — from understanding your charges to applying for a probationary license if you meet eligibility criteria. Contact us today for a free consultation.