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Driving On Suspended Or Revoked License

In Colorado, driving a motor vehicle on public roads is a privilege. Satisfying the requirements to obtain a driver’s license and maintaining a clean driving record is mandatory. Indeed, it is against the law for an individual to drive if their license has been suspended or revoked.

Colorado refers to all charges dealing with driving on a suspended or revoked license as “driving under restraint” (DUR). Still, it is essential to understand that the law treats a DUR charge differently depending on the reason for the license suspension or revocation.

Denver Driving on Suspended or Revoked License Attorney

Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. has been defending individuals in Denver charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license for over 20 years. If you have been arrested for operating a vehicle in such a manner, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Matthew Martin. Mr. Martin can utilize this understanding to determine what needs to be done to get the best possible outcome in your driving with a suspended license case.

Set up your first consultation with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. by calling (303) 725-0017 today. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. accepts traffic cases throughout the Denver area and surrounding counties such as Douglas County, Jefferson County, Broomfield County, Boulder County, and Adams County.


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Information Center


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Colorado Driving Under Restraint Law

Colorado’s DUR law says:

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 non-resident, is under restraint for any reason other than conviction of DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, or UDD is guilty of a misdemeanor. 

The knowledge that an individual’s license was under restraint is necessary to be found guilty of a DUR offense. The law defines knowledge as:

The actual knowledge of any restraint from whatever source or knowledge of circumstances sufficient to cause a reasonable person to be aware that such person’s license or privilege to drive was under restraint.

In Colorado, the law considers the term “restraint” to include:

Any denial, revocation, or suspension of a person’s license or privilege to drive a motor vehicle in this state or another state.


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Penalties for Driving On Suspended Or Revoked License in CO

The penalty for violating Colorado’s DUR law will vary depending on the reason for the license suspension or revocation. If the suspension or revocation is due to a DUI, then the DUR charge is graded as a class 2 misdemeanor which can carry a sentence of:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to $1,500 in fines

The law in Colorado imposes an even harsher penalty if an individual is convicted of a subsequent DUR offense, where the suspension was due to a DUI, within five years of the first DUR conviction. The penalties are:

  • Up to 2 years in jail
  • Up to $3,000 in fines

In Colorado, an individual’s driver’s license may be suspended if they have an outstanding judgment. This includes the loss of license due to failure to pay child support or other court-related fees. These offenses are graded as class A traffic infractions. For DUR offenses where the suspension was due to an outstanding judgment, the penalties are:

  • 3 points on the driving record
  • Up to $100 in fines

For any other DUR offense where the reason for the suspension was not a DUI or an outstanding judgment, the penalties are:

  • $15 to $100 fine
  • A 1-year extension is added to the license suspension term.

It is important to note that additional negative consequences regarding a person’s driving record and their ability to get their license reinstated can be levied if they are convicted of a DUR offense.


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Defenses for Driving On Suspended Or Revoked License

While a DUR charge may seem like an open and shut case, there are legal defenses that can be used to challenge these offenses. Like any charge, the prosecutor must prove that the accused violated the law as written. Some possible defenses to a DUR charge are:

The license was not under restraint – To be convicted of a DUR charge, the defendant’s license must have been suspended, revoked, or invalid for some other reason. It is not unheard of for a valid license to be erroneously marked as suspended. An individual who can prove that their license was valid at the time they were driving cannot be convicted of a DUR charge.

Emergency – Although rare, there are circumstances where a person must drive on a suspended or revoked license. This will likely only be when there is a genuine emergency like a significant medical issue or fleeing an area where a natural disaster occurs. If it can be shown that an emergency situation caused an individual to drive on a suspended or revoked license, the charges may be dismissed.

Duress – When an individual is forced to drive on a suspended or revoked license due to an act of violence or the threat of violence, they may argue that they only drove under duress. To use this defense, it will likely need to be shown that there was actual duress and not just the person’s unsupported claim.

Lack of knowledge – the law says that an individual must have knowledge that their license was suspended or revoked to be found guilty of a DUR charge. If, for some reason, the individual driving was unaware and had no reason to know that their license was invalid, they may claim lack of knowledge as a defense to a DUR charge.


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Additional Resources

The Colorado Driver Handbook – Everything a Colorado driver will need to know about the rules of the road, safe driving practices, and the laws that govern license issuance, registration, and renewal. This version is updated for the year 2022.

Colorado DMV Driver’s License Reinstatement Process – Located on the Colorado DMV’s website, this link provides information and the forms needed for an individual with a license under restrain to apply for reinstatement. This process can only be initiated after the suspension or revocation period has expired.


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Colorado Driving On Suspended Or Revoked License Lawyer | Denver, CO

If you have been arrested for driving with a suspended or revoked license in Colorado, the legal team at Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. can defend you against those traffic criminal accusations. Some of the penalties for a driving with a suspended license conviction may include time in jail or prison, probation, and community service. It’s important to fight back as soon as possible.

To have Mr. Martin create a formidable defense for your case, call (303) 725-0017 to schedule a free consultation. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. throughout the greater Denver area and surrounding cities such as Castle Rock, Parker, Lakewood, Golden, Highlands Ranch, Thornton, Centennial, Boulder, and Broomfield.


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