Even though it’s illegal to drive without a license, as many as 13 percent of drivers take to the roads without a valid license in hand. Driving without a license is illegal in the State of Colorado. Whether you’re caught driving without a license or you’re in an accident with an unlicensed driver, you need to know Colorado’s unlicensed driver laws. Here’s what you need to know from our Denver car accident lawyers.
Colorado Unlicensed Driver Laws
Colorado unlicensed driver laws are found in Colorado Revised Statutes 42-2-101. There are three different types of charges. Driving with an expired license or without having your license in hand is a class B traffic infraction. Driving without ever having a valid license is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. If you drive after your license is suspended or revoked, the offense is a misdemeanor. In the case of driving with a suspended or revoked license, the possible penalties depend on the reason for the original licensing action.
What Happens If You Get Caught Driving Without a License in Colorado?
If you get caught driving without a license in Colorado, you face civil and criminal penalties. If you have a license, but you don’t have it on you, you face a fine. If you never had a license or your license is suspended, you face jail time. Law enforcement may arrest you on the scene for driving without a valid license or after a license suspension. In all cases, you may have a court date. For minor offenses, the court may dismiss the offense if you show proof of a valid license before your court date.
Colorado Driver’s License Offenses
There are several different types of driving without a license offenses in Colorado:
Colorado failure to have your license on person
Sometimes, a driver has a valid license, but they forget to take it with them. It’s a class B traffic infraction to fail to have your license with you when you drive. For a first offense, you face a fine of up to $100. If you receive a second offense, you face six points added to your driver’s license. For a first offense, the court may dismiss the charge if you appear with a valid license on or before your court date.
Colorado driving on an expired license
In Colorado, it’s against the law to drive on an expired license. However, if your license has been expired for less than a year, you face only a fine of up to $100. A second offense may have more serious consequences.
Driving without a valid license issued in Colorado
If you drive without ever having been issued a valid license in Colorado, you face a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. You may receive up to 90 days in jail, but the judge has discretion over sentencing. You may also pay a fine. A second or subsequent conviction for driving without a valid license may result in the state denying you a license for a year.
Colorado driving under restraint
Driving after your license is suspended or revoked is called driving under restraint in Colorado. The maximum penalty depends on the reason for the restraint. If your license is suspended because of a drunk driving offense, you face mandatory minimum jail time and as much as one year in jail. A subsequent conviction may result in up to two years in jail. In addition, repeat offenders face an extended period of mandatory suspension where they are unable to receive a valid driver’s license.
Is There a Grace Period for Colorado Drivers License?
Yes, there is a grace period for a Colorado drivers license. When you’re new to Colorado, you have 30 days to transfer your driver’s license. Usually, you don’t have to take a written or skills test. You also have 90 days to transfer your vehicle registration.
Can Undocumented Immigrants Get a Driver’s License in Colorado?
Yes, undocumented immigrants can get a driver’s license in Colorado. The Colorado Road and Community Safety Act allows undocumented and temporary workers to get a driver’s license. If you can’t prove lawful residency, you must apply in person at one of three locations in Denver, Grand Junction or Colorado Springs.
What to Do If You’re in an Accident With an Unlicensed Driver
If you’re involved in an accident with an unlicensed driver, it can be a frustrating experience. Not only was the crash preventable, but there’s also a good chance that the driver doesn’t have insurance or that they may leave the scene of the accident. It can be hard to know what to do when you’re in an accident with an unlicensed driver.
In all cases, you should call the police even to report a minor car accident. The police can document that the other driver doesn’t have a license. Your attorney can help you investigate whether any car insurance policies may apply to your benefit. In addition, you may be able to bring your claim directly against the at-fault driver for compensation.
Even if the other driver doesn’t have a valid license, Colorado tort laws still apply. You may still deserve compensation if you’re hurt because of the other driver’s bad actions. The fact that the other driver doesn’t have a driver’s license isn’t the only factor in the case, but it’s an important factor. An experienced Denver attorney for car accidents can help you understand your rights under the law.
How Our Denver Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
Have you been in a car accident? Was an unlicensed driver involved? Our attorneys can help.
At Bachus & Schanker, LLC, we represent accident victims under all circumstances. We have training and experience in how to help victims of unlicensed drivers. When you have car accident injuries, we can help you fight for your rights and take the necessary steps to get the justice that you deserve.
When you’re hurt because of an unlicensed driver, you have rights under Colorado law. Our full-service law firm can help you take the necessary steps to exercise your rights. Call us at (303) 222-2222 today for a free and confidential discussion with a member of our legal team. Come see why justice is our passion.