If you don’t understand the point system and penalties in Colorado, Affordable Insurance in Aurora is here to help you out. Our team has been working in the auto insurance industry since 1990. If you have recently moved to Colorado, or are a new driver, you may not be very familiar with the Colorado DMV point system. Accumulating points can affect the cost of your insurance and even result in a license suspension. Avoid a sticky situation by reading up on the points system here.

Types of Penalties

A traffic violation on Colorado roads can result in a number of different penalties. Minor incidents such as parking in a no-parking zone or driving with a broken light will usually warrant a fine. More serious moving vehicle violations include DUI, driving recklessly, and driving over the speed limit. In order to track an individual driver’s history of traffic violations, the DMV adds points to the records of drivers who commit these kinds of offenses. It’s not unusual for drivers to receive jail time, license suspensions, community service or mandatory drug/alcohol programs for offenses that endanger the lives of others.

The Point System in Colorado

When it comes to the point system and penalties in Colorado, every driver starts with zero points on their record. Minor infractions will result in a low number of points added to your record. For example, failing to yield will earn you three points and misusing your turn signals will get two points. Failure to show proof of insurance will get four points while breaking the speed limit by 20-39MPH will result in six points. One of the most serious infractions is a DUI which will get you 12 points on your license and an automatic suspension. For drivers over 21, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit for receiving a DUI is 0.08. Drivers under 21 will break the law with a BAC between 0.02 and 0.08.

Points Needed to Suspend Your Driving License

According to the point system and penalties in Colorado, even an accumulation of points for numerous minor incidents can also result in a license suspension. License suspensions can last between six months and a year, but a hearing officer will decide the exact amount of time. In general, the rules are stricter for younger drivers and the punishment they receive is greater. The threshold at which your license is suspended in Colorado is also age dependent.

  • For drivers under 18, the limit is six points within 12 months, or seven points total while under the age of 18
  • For minor drivers between 18 and 21 years of age, the limit is nine points within 12 months, 12 points within 24 months or 14 points total between the ages of 18 and 21
  • For drivers over 21, 12 points within 12 months or 18 points within 24 months is enough to get your license suspended

Points on Special Licenses

For taxi drivers and other commercial drivers holding Colorado chauffeur licenses, committing traffic violations comes with an even higher risk. If you are charged with an infraction during employment, you can expect to see points added to your special license. Having points on this license can negatively affect your employment opportunities. These chauffeur licenses are subject to their own set of regulations. A suspension will be invoked if you receive more than 16 points in 12 months, more than 24 points in 24 months or more than 28 points in 48 months. Those who depend on driving to make a living need to be extra aware of accumulating too many points in a short period of time.

Reducing Points in Colorado

One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is, how can I reduce or eliminate points from my driving record? Drivers approaching the limit of points needed to suspend their license need to pay extra attention to the road and avoid even the most trivial of traffic offenses. According to the point system and penalties in Colorado, there is no specific program in place to reduce points or dismiss traffic tickets. In some states, attending traffic school or completing a defensive driving course can effectively take points off of your record. In Colorado, it is left up to the individual court to make the decision.

Although it is not guaranteed to reduce your points, attending a traffic school is the most proactive option for those that are hoping to lose points. Completing one of these courses can help to change some unsafe driving habits and help you avoid tickets in the future. They also deliver the bonus of a discounted premium on your car insurance in many cases. Judges will look more favorably on drivers who take the initiative to improve their driving voluntarily. 

Disputing a Traffic Violation

Choosing to fight a traffic citation in Colorado can be a risky decision. If you fail to prove your innocence in court, you may receive more points on your driving record, even be subject to a license suspension. It is recommended to only go down this road if you are sure that you did not commit the alleged offense and have the evidence to prove it.

To successfully contest a traffic citation, the driver needs to plead “not guilty” without any delay upon receiving the notification. An experienced lawyer will significantly improve the chances of a successful outcome. Disputing a traffic charge is a time and labor-intensive process in Colorado. An alternative path is to plea bargain before the hearing in exchange for a reduced penalty.

Navigating the point system and penalties in Colorado can seem daunting. Drivers with a lot of points on their record or a previous license suspension may notice insurance premiums increasing when renewing their policy. Shopping around can often reveal better prices than your current insurer is offering.

At Affordable Insurance in Aurora, we work with over five different insurance providers to make sure that our clients are always getting the best deal available. Having points on your record does not mean you will lose access to budget-friendly insurance. Contact our team today for more information about the point system and penalties in Colorado, as well as help in securing affordable auto insurance.

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