Colorado Drivers License Suspension

A license suspension or revocation may not seem like a possible reality to many people.

After all, what would you have to be guilty of to face such a consequence? – Drunk driving, a hit or run, grand theft auto?

The truth is that these are but a scratch on the surface when it comes to how you can lose your license.

Unfortunately, license suspensions and revocations are public records. So, once you’re in the system, your employers, business partners, possible investors, and even family members can be on to you. To make matters worse, you cannot obtain a driver’s license in another state as license suspensions are nationwide offenses.

It makes you realize just how bad the situation can get and why it’s important to remain on the safe side of the law.

Let’s look at how you can do this.

The Difference Between Colorado License Suspension and Revocation

We often throw the words revocation and suspension around, which may have you thinking that these are similar consequences. That is hardly the case.

If your license gets suspended, you still have driving privileges, only that you must meet certain state requirements to get back on the road.

Usually, you wait a prescribed amount of time or fulfill a state order to activate the license.


But with a revocation, you lose your driving privileges and cannot get back on the road until you apply for another license. So, you’ve got to pass driving tests and go through the rigorous processes you endured the first time you acquired your license.

Related: How to Check Your Colorado Drivers License Status?

How to Get Your Colorado License Suspended

Are you curious what could have you on the outside looking in regarding driver’s licenses? Let’s explore some of the most common reasons:

Alcohol- and Drug-Related Offenses

Everyone who’s been through driving school knows the consequences of driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

So, there are two ways you can get your license suspended in this regard.

  • The first is where the police pull you over and test your blood alcohol levels only to find that they are above the state legal limit. If you’re convicted of such a crime, you can bid your license adieu.
  • The second is where the police pull you over and attempt to conduct a blood alcohol level test on you, and you refuse. They can push this case forward as a violation of the state’s implied consent law, landing you in legal trouble.

Driving Without Liability Insurance

Have you ever hit the road without valid auto insurance?

If you’ve been caught doing so in the past at least twice, your third violation will have you lose your license for up to eight months. However, if this is your first offense, you’ll regain your driving privileges once you provide the Department of Revenue with proof of insurance.

Points-Based Suspensions

Like most states, Colorado also has a point-based system for those caught flouting traffic rules.

The more points you accumulate, the likelier it is that the Department of Revenue will revoke or suspend your driving license. Offenses carry different points depending on their severity. So, you can rack up enough points to have your license suspended in just under a year.

For example, a driver who garners 12 points within 12 months loses their driving privileges. Also, the younger you are, the fewer points you need to have your license suspended.

Child Support

Who knew that failure to pay child support could have you pining for your driver’s license?

In Colorado, parents cannot afford to ignore their child support payment plans. Otherwise, they lose their driving privileges until they prove that they are now compliant with the court’s orders.

Criminal Convictions

Vehicular-related criminal offenses can also be bases to revoke or suspend your driver’s license. They include:

  • Vehicular manslaughter,
  • Being involved in a hit and run resulting in death or injury, and
  • Providing false information to the Department of Revenue when obtaining a driver’s license.

Is this all that can get you on the wrong side of the law? Not even close. Tons of other criminal offenses can contribute to license revocation and suspension, e.g., grand theft auto, joyriding, driving a getaway car during a felony, etc.

Suspension for Drivers Aged 21 and Over

Drivers aged 21 and above require racking up either:

  • 12 points within 12 months, or
  • 18 points within 24 months.

Suspension for Drivers Aged 18 to 20

The younger you are, the fewer the points you need to get your license suspended. Drivers in the 18 to 20 age group require:

  • 9 points within 12 months,
  • 12 points within 24 months, or
  • 14 points between ages 18 and 21

Suspension for Drivers under 18

The drivers in this age group must be especially careful as they can lose their driving privileges once they accumulate:

  • 7 or more points before they turn 18, or
  • 6 points within 12 months

Points for Various Traffic-Related Offenses

Seeing the number of points on your driving license determines whether you get to keep your license. It’s best to be well-versed on how you can rack up those points. Below are the points to note:

  • Points alone do not provide a basis for license revocation and suspension. Committing serious traffic offenses even without reaching the maximum allowable points in your age group can result in license suspension and revocation.
  • The system records points based on the date of the offense rather than the date of conviction. If you end up in court, pushing the matter forward will not affect the points.

Reading through Section 42-2-127(5) of the Colorado Revised Statute or visiting the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles is a great place to start. To give you a head start, here’s a table depicting the possible offenses and their respective points:

Number of Points Corresponding Offense
0 Using HOV Lanes
Driving at 1-4 mph more than a 75-mph speed limit or the set reasonable prudent speed
1 Using a Cell Phone While Driving
Driving a Car with Defective Head Lamps
Driving at 5-9 mph more than a 75-mph speed limit or the set reasonable prudent speed
2 Not Using Signals When Required
Inappropriate Backing
Using The Wrong Signal
Driving a Car Whose Lights Don’t Dim or Turn On
Driver under 18 on The Road between 12:00 and 5:00 am
Driver under 18 Carrying a Passenger Under 21
Driver Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Driving A Vehicle Where Passengers Exceed the Number of Seat Belts
Passenger not Wearing a Seat Belt
Driving a Vehicle That’s Road Unworthy
3 Making a Turn at The Wrong Point
Driving the Wrong Way on a One-Way Street
Failure to Yield to Drivers who Have a Right of Way
Driving Through a Safety Zone
Not Reducing Speed in Light of a Special Hazard
Adjusting the Suspension System
Driving on the Wrong Lane
4 Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road
Underage Driver Drinking and Driving
Not Observing Traffic Signs and Signals
Driving at 10-19 mph more than a 75-mph speed limit or the set reasonable prudent speed
Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian Who Has a Right of Way
Not Possessing or Providing Proof of Valid Insurance
Improper Overtaking
Driving in a Way That Endangers Pedestrians
Not Giving Way to an Emergency Vehicle
Driving Recklessly
Driving on the Wrong Side of a Divided or Controlled Access Highway
5 Engaging in or Facilitating a Speed Exhibition
6 Driving at 20-39 mph more than a 75-mph speed limit or the set reasonable prudent speed
Failure to Stop at a School Signal
Failure to Stop for a School Bus
Failure to Yield Way to a Pedestrian with Disability Who Has the Right of Way
Being Caught Driving Without a License for the 2nd or Subsequent Time
12 Driving at 40 mph more than a 75-mph speed limit or the set reasonable prudent speed
Engaging in or Facilitating a Speed Contest
Escaping a Police Officer
DUI Offenses- (Per Se, Habitual User)
Reckless Driving that Results in Death
Leaving the Scene of an Accident

How to Get Your Colorado License Reinstated

Can you get your driver’s license back?

Sure, you can.

However, please note that the time taken to do so and the due processes will depend on:

  • Past traffic offenses: Drivers with tainted driving past face longer waiting times and harsher consequences. For example, a first-time DUI offender can get back on the road almost right away. In most cases, they need to install an ignition interlock device, and they are good to go.
  • The severity of the offense: Some offenses require you to jump through hoops to get your license back. Say, for example, you are caught driving without valid motor insurance. You get a suspension hearing date which starts at six months for first-time offenders and longer for those who have previous charges. Moreover, you must pay a reinstatement fee and provide proof of insurance.

You’ll have to wait out your period as prescribed by the authorities or fulfill any orders they make before you can get your driver’s license again.

Given the hassle of it all, wouldn’t it be easier to remain on the straight and narrow and avoid any trouble?