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Q

In Colorado, where I reside, I recently got pulled over with no insurance, plates expired, and my license under suspension. What are the penalties?


A

While an expired registration/plate may be a somewhat minor offense which you could fix by renewing your registration (and paying any fines due) driving without insurance and with a suspended driver's license are both serious offenses and will come with harsh penalties in Colorado.

It is against the law in Colorado to drive your vehicle without insurance. If you are caught driving without insurance there are severe penalties. It is a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense

A first offense for driving without insurance comes with a $500 minimum fine, license suspension until you can show proof to the Division of Motor Vehicles that you are insured and 4 points being placed onto your Colorado motor vehicle record (MVR). A second is a minimum $1000 fine and a license suspension of 4 months. A third violation comes with penalties which can include a minimum fine of $1000, community service, and an 8 month license suspension (per Colorado Statute 42-4-1409 and 1410). Courts may add up to 40 hours community service to the above penalties as well.

Also if you have been found guilty of driving without insurance the state of Colorado requires that you file future proof of automobile liability insurance in the form of an SR 22 for three years. It appears you failed to do this and continued to drive without insurance so your license was suspended.

A suspended license is discussed under Colorado Statute 42-2-127.7 which gives the state the authority to suspend a driver's license of an uninsured motorist.

Colorado Statute 42-2-138 is titled driving under restraint and penalty. Paragraph 1 subsection (a) notes that any person who drives a motor vehicle or off-highway vehicle upon any highway of this state with knowledge that the person's license or privilege to drive, either as a resident or a nonresident, is under restraint for any reason other than conviction of DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, habitual user, or UDD is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than five days nor more than six months, and, in the discretion of the court, a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than five hundred dollars may be imposed.

Subsection (b) then goes on to say Upon a second or subsequent conviction under paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) within five years after the first conviction there under, in addition to the penalty prescribed in said paragraph (a) of this subsection (1), except as may be permitted by section 42-2-132.5, the defendant shall not be eligible to be issued a driver's or minor driver's license or extended any driving privilege in this state for a period of three years after such second or subsequent conviction.

So it appears you are looking at fines, jail time, possible community service and continued license suspension. When you are able to reinstate your driver's license you will need to show proof of insurance by having your insurer file a SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility. To find out what the court you are going to appear before typically hands down as penalties you can contact the clerk of the court and see if he or she can give you information.


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