Russell Hebets Oct. 3, 2011

In Colorado today there are an estimated 200,000 people driving without a license or driving with a suspended license according to the Denver Post. In addition, in the relatively quiet Teller County there were 40 arrests made in the month of September and of those 5 or over 12% involved either driving without a license or driving under restraint (DUR), as driving under a suspended license is technically called. All of this means that if you are part of the large portion of the population who is driving without a license in Colorado there is a high likelihood you may have a future encounter with law enforcement. If you have been charged with driving without a license or driving with a suspended license there are a few things that you should know.

According to the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) 42-2-101, which is the law of the land in Colorado, driving without a license is either a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense or a class B traffic infraction. It should be clear that the misdemeanor offense is worse than the traffic infraction so it is important to discuss the difference. If you drive a vehicle without a license in the state of Colorado or if you drive a class for vehicle for which you do not have a license (for instance a motorcycle or commercial vehicle) you have committed the greater misdemeanor offense. If you drive with a license expired less than 1 year or drive without your license present you have committed the lesser traffic offense.

So is it worth the risk of driving without a license? For the traffic offense the penalties range from $15 to $100 and you must also get a valid license. For the misdemeanor offenses penalties range from ten days imprisonment to ninety days imprisonment and $150 to $300 fine. The penalties and consequences for driving with a suspended license can be even greater.

So what can an attorney do for you? Many times people drive without a license because they have had past problems with the DMV. An attorney can navigate the complexities of this system and make sure you can reinstate your license if eligible. This could have the potential to reduce the misdemeanor to the traffic infraction. In most scenarios driving without a license is secondary to another moving violation. An attorney can help make sure that given a whole range of charges you correctly understand the potential criminal consequences and consequences for your ability to drive in the future.