DMV Hearings

The Department of Motor Vehicle has the power to revoke, suspend, cancel or deny your privilege to drive.  In every instance, you should receive notice that DMV has taken action against your driving privilege and in most instances you have a right to a hearing to contest the action.  The hearing is not automatically granted.  You must request the hearing in accordance with DMV timelines, otherwise, you lose the right to a hearing.

Express Consent (DUI) Hearings

Colorado’s express consent law requires drivers to consent to a chemical test of your blood or breath when a police officer has probable cause to suspect you of a DUI. If the blood or breath test shows your blood or breath alcohol level exceeded the legal limit of 0.08, then DMV will revoke your driving privilege. If you refuse to cooperate with the testing, then DMV will revoke your driving privilege.

If you agree to a breath test with a result over the legal limit or you refuse testing, then the police officer will serve you with a notice of revocation at the time of arrest. You have seven days from the date you are served to request a hearing. If you agree to a blood test, you will not receive the test results at the time of arrest. The blood sample will be sent to a lab for testing. When the test results are received by the police officer, if the results show a blood alcohol level over 0.08, then you will receive a notice in the mail informing you that your license will be revoked. The mailed notice will give you instructions regarding when and how to request a hearing. In either case, if you fail to request the hearing within the appropriate timeframe, you lose the right to a hearing and your privilege to drive will be revoked without further notice. Even if you do not have a Colorado driver’s license, it is important to request the hearing because DMV can revoke your Colorado privilege to drive. If you lose your privilege to drive in Colorado, Colorado may report it to your home state and it may result in revocation of your home state license.

When you request the hearing, you will be asked whether you want the police officer to be present for the hearing. Whether you want the officer to be present will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of your case.

At the hearing, a hearing officer will decide whether to revoke your driving privilege. There are certain legal questions that must be addressed at the hearing before your privilege can be revoked. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can evaluate your case to assess whether there are any issues that should be argued at the hearing. Identifying and persuasively arguing those issues may be the difference between keeping and losing your privilege to drive.

If your driving privilege is revoked, it will be revoked for a specific period of time. Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for early reinstatement. If you are eligible to reinstate, DMV has requirements that must be met before it will issue you a new license.

Interlock Violation Hearings

An interlock restricted license is a special license that allows a person to drive, but only when driving a vehicle equipped with an interlock device. This type of restricted license can be easily revoked by DMV if you are not fully compliant with their expectations. If DMV believes you are not compliant, you will receive notice and be required to request a hearing if you believe DMV is mistaken.

In order to have an interlock restricted license, you must have a lease agreement with an interlock provider. You are required to have information downloaded from your interlock device at regular intervals and the provider sends that information to DMV. If the records are not provided to DMV as required and/or if the information shows positive results, DMV will revoke your license.

Even if you are compliant with the interlock requirements, if you are convicted of any traffic violations while on a restricted license, DMV will revoke your license. If you are cited with the traffic violation while on a restricted license, you may want to legal representation for the traffic ticket as well as for any subsequent DMV hearing.

Excessive Points Suspension

Traffic violations are assigned a certain number of points. Upon conviction, those points are assessed against your driving privilege. If you accumulate too many points in too short a period of time, then your driving privilege may be suspended for a period of time. Your age determines the number of points you are allowed to accrue.

Adult drivers (age 21 and over):

  • 12 points in 12 consecutive months
  • 18 points in 24 consecutive months

Minor drivers (age 18 to 21):

  • 9 points in 12 consecutive months
  • 12 points in 24 consecutive months
  • 14 points between the ages of 18 and 21

Minor drivers (age 16 to 18):

  • 6 points in 12 consecutive months
  • 7 points before turning 18

Points are assessed based on the date of offense, not the date of conviction. If you accumulate too many points, DMV will send you a notice of its intent to suspend your driving privilege and will give you an opportunity to request a hearing. A hearing allows you to contest whether you have accumulated too many points. Even if you believe you have accumulated too many points, a hearing will also give you the opportunity to negotiate the length of the suspension and to request a probationary license (red license). A red license limits when and where you are allowed to drive.

The length of the suspension and whether you receive a red license are based on various factors. DMV has discretion in determining how to handle your particular situation. Because DMV has a lot of options, having an attorney to advocate for you is helpful in these situations.

Habitual Traffic Offender

In Colorado, there are certain traffic violations that are deemed major traffic offenses. If you accumulate too many of these major traffic offenses in too short a period of time, DMV may label you a habitual traffic offender and revoke your driving privilege. Major traffic offenses include:

If you are convicted of three or more major offenses in a seven year period of time, then your privilege to drive will be revoked for a period of five years. For purposes of calculating the seven year period, DMV uses the date of violation, not the date of conviction.

If your privilege to drive is revoked for being a habitual traffic offender, you will receive notice from DMV regarding the designation. You will not be eligible for any type of probationary license. You are simply not allowed to drive for an extended period of time. If you believe you have been wrongly designated a habitual traffic offender, it is important to contact DMV.

Financial Responsibility

If you fail to meet certain financial obligations, DMV may cancel your driving privilege until the obligation is met. Examples of such financial obligations include:

  • Failure to pay child support
  • Failure to pay court fines and costs
  • Failure to appear for court

Unlike other types of cancellations, DMV does not cancel your driving privilege for a set period of time. You are eligible to reinstate your privilege as soon as you meet the financial obligation. Payment of the financial obligation does not automatically reinstate your privilege, but once the payment is made, you may apply for reinstatement.

If DMV believes your driving privilege should be cancelled for a financial issue you will receive notice. If you believe DMV has mistakenly cancelled your privilege, it is important to contact DMV to discuss the issue.