I Lost My License. What Can I Do?
Jan. 25, 2023
We all take our driver’s licenses for granted. It gives us independence and freedom to move about as we want to. It is also indispensable to our ability to work, go to school and the grocery store, and seek medical attention when we need it.
However, having a driver’s license is a privilege and comes with a responsibility to obey the law. If you fail your responsibility, you risk losing the privilege. You forfeit a great deal of freedom with a suspended license. Moreover, you face the overwhelming stress of trying to survive without one.
At The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC, I understand the hardship you face if you have lost your driver’s license. There are ways you may be able to maintain at least basic driving privileges, which could mean the difference between losing your job and keeping it or finishing your education and dropping out.
If you live in Fort Collins, Colorado, or anywhere in Larimer or Weld counties, including Loveland, Estes Park, Wellington, Greeley, Johnston, and Windsor, I can help.
How Can You Lose Your License in Colorado?
There are several circumstances that can result in having your driver’s license suspended or revoked in Colorado. A suspended license may be reinstated after a certain time period or after meeting certain requirements. If your license is revoked, it cannot be reinstated because it is invalidated. Once you become eligible to hold a driver’s license again, you will need to pass the required written and driving tests, just as you did as a first-time driver.
Certain driving violations call for the automatic suspension of your license because each violation asserts 12 points against your license. These include driving under the influence (DUI), leaving the scene of an accident, eluding law enforcement in your vehicle, street racing, and exceeding a posted speed limit by 40 miles per hour or more.
Driving offenses are not the only ways your license may be taken away. Convictions for drug-, alcohol-, automobile-, and property-related crimes may result in the criminal suspension of your driving privileges. These would include such crimes as vehicular assault or homicide, felony or misdemeanor drug offenses, failure to carry insurance, failure to render aid at the scene of an accident, property damage and defacing, past-due child support, and an accumulation of points against your license.
Discretionary suspensions are the purview of the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR). The Department has the authority to suspend the driver’s license of any person without holding a hearing if the DOR believes the individual poses a risk due to criminal, careless, or other certain behavior. This is because the DOR ultimately wields administrative authority over licensing, which is separate from criminal authority. Those arrested for DUI, for example, face both criminal charges carried out by the local prosecuting attorney as well as administrative actions carried out by the DOR.
How Does the Point System Work in Colorado?
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) operates under the auspices of the DOR. It is the DMV points system that monitors your safety as a driver. Any conviction for traffic violations in Colorado results in the awarding of points against your driver’s license.
A municipal conviction for driving five to nine miles above the posted speed limit is a one-point violation. Failure to show proof of insurance is a four-point violation. Reckless driving may result in six to eight points against your license. Then, there are the 12-point violations discussed previously.
With any point against your license, your insurance company is likely to raise your premiums. That is because points indicate how safe of a driver you are, and the more risk you appear to be to an insurance company, the more it will cost you for insurance coverage.
When you become eligible for suspension of your license depends on your age, the number of points, and the period in which you accumulate them. The points limit for younger drivers is lower than for older drivers. The threshold for suspension rests with the number of points you receive in a 12- or 18-month period. For example, if you are over age 21 and receive 12 points in 12 months or less or 18 points in 18 months or less, your license will be suspended.
This is why fighting even minor moving traffic violations, such as a ticket for driving five miles over the speed limit, is important. People often ask me if hiring an attorney for traffic violations is necessary. The DMV point system makes doing so a wise choice in keeping your license and keeping down your insurance rates.
Can I Get a Hardship License?
If your question is, “Can I still drive to work if my license was suspended?”, the answer is, “Maybe, but only with a hardship license.”
Colorado refers to a hardship license as a probationary driver’s license (PDL). It is also called a “red license,” so named because the license has red lines on it to denote the special status. A PDL provides restricted driving privileges, such as the ability to drive to and from work, school, doctor’s appointments, or drug and alcohol counseling.
The awarding of PDLs is at the discretion of the DMV hearing officer, and not everyone is eligible to even request one. Only those facing a point suspension or suspension for non-payment of child support may apply for it. If your license was suspended for a DUI, you can petition for early reinstatement that if granted will result in limited driving privileges and requirements such as high-risk SR22 liability insurance coverage and installation of an ignition interlock device. Those whose licenses have been revoked do not qualify for a PDL.
How Can I Get My License Reinstated?
Getting a license reinstated is not always easy. At the end of the ordered period of suspension, you will need to apply for reinstatement through the DMV, providing all necessary documentation of completion of the requirements of your suspension and eligibility for reinstatement. You should visit with your attorney about getting your full driving privileges restored.
Discover Your Options Today
Colorado law, the DMV point system, and the DOR’s discretionary authority do have shades of gray. My job as a criminal defense attorney is to help my clients navigate the legal process in a way that benefits them most. If I can help you avoid points on your driver’s license, build a case for a PDL or reinstatement, and help you keep your job, finish your education, or protect your health and well-being, I will.
Call The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC in Fort Collins, Colorado, now to schedule an appointment to talk about you and your case.