How Many Points Are Too Many Points?

How Many Points Do I Get on My Driver’s License?

People often come to us for help with traffic tickets and one of the most common concerns is whether they are in danger of losing their driver’s license.  Colorado has a points system.  The first question is the age of the driver.  Colorado allots a different number of points depending on the person’s age.  The younger the driver, the fewer points allowed.

An adult driver is defined as a driver over the age of 21.  An adult driver’s license will be subject to suspension if the driver accumulates 12 points or more in 12 consecutive months or 18 points or more in 24 consecutive months.  This means an adult driver can accumulate up to 11 points in 12 consecutive months or 17 points in 24 consecutive months without being subject to a license suspension.  Once the 12th point (or 18th point) is accumulated, a suspension will be imposed.

There are two categories of minor driver.  A minor driver between the age of 18 and 21 and a minor driver between the age of 16 and 18.

A minor driver who is 18 or over will be subject to license suspension if he or she accumulates 9 points or more in a 12 consecutive months or 12 points or more in 24 consecutive months or 14 points or more since the driver reached the age of 18.

A minor driver who is under 18 will be subject to license suspension if he or she accumulates 5 or more points in 12 consecutive months or more than 6  points prior to turning 18.  Additionally, when calculating points, any points accumulated while under an instruction permit will be assessed against the minor driver’s license once issued.

Furthermore, if a license applicant has illegally operated a motor vehicle in Colorado within 36 months prior to the issuance of a valid driver’s license, minor driver’s license or instruction permit, the Department of Motor Vehicles may deny the issuance of a license for a period of not more than 12 months.  For example, if a minor driver is charged with and convicted of driving a motor vehicle without a valid permit or license and then applies for a permit or license within 36 months of that charge, DMV may deny the application.

How Do I Know If I Need A Lawyer for a Traffic Ticket?

If you think you might need a lawyer for your traffic ticket, you probably do.  There can be a number of reasons you might need a lawyer.  You did not commit the violation the officer is alleging you committed.  While you may have committed one violation for which you are cited, you did not commit all of the violations for which you are cited.  For example, the officer cited you for speeding and running a red light.  You might agree that you were speeding, but disagree that you ran a red light.  You are concerned about the number of points you have accumulated on your license and the number of points associated with the ticketed violation(s).  You know that if you plead guilty to the ticketed violation, you will accumulate too many points and will be subject to a license suspension.

We also caution people about simply paying tickets for reduced points.  While resolving tickets this way may not be a bad idea if you have plenty of points left on your license, this approach may put you in a precarious position if you get another ticket sooner than you planned.  No one plans to get a ticket, but it happens and assuming you will go 3 or 6 or 9 months without getting another ticket is probably not the best plan.  For example, if you are an adult driver and you have accumulated 8 points in a 9 month period of time.  You get a 4 point speeding ticket and are given the opportunity to simply pay the ticket without going to court and will accumulate 2 points.  This puts you at 10 points with 3 months left on your 12 consecutive months.  If you get one more speeding ticket in that timeframe, you will likely be facing a suspension.  Had you gone to court on the first speeding ticket, perhaps you could have negotiated it down to a 1 point violation with a driving class.  This one extra point could be valuable if you get that second speeding ticket.  And it is easier for a lawyer to help negotiate a deal to save a license if there are an extra point or two to work with, so getting a lawyer for earlier tickets is important if you are getting even a little close to accumulating too many points.