QUESTION: My driver's license was just suspended and it wasn't even for a driving offense. What different types of offenses can result in license revocation?

James M. Edwards, P.C.
1401 17th Street, Suite 330
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 293-8191
FAX (303) 292-0924

ANSWER:You may be surprised to find out all the different ways your license can be suspended.

First, despite what many have argued (and lost) a driver’s license is not a “right”.  It is a license or a privilege.  The State and Federal Constitutions do not guarantee any right to drive or have a driver’s license. The State determines who may hold that privilege, and the State decides what restrictions may be placed on that privilege.

In Colorado, one can lose their license to operate a motor vehicle even for a variety of non-driving offenses.  For example, your license will be gone for up to one year if convicted of a felony drug offense.  This includes possession, sale, attempt crimes, solicitation and conspiracy convictions as well.  

Not paying child support now subjects one to license revocation.  As does being declared mentally incompetent by a proper court (not just by your friends).  Being convicted of underage drinking or possession of alcohol, or trying to buy alcohol while underage will  result in a loss of driving privileges.  A conviction of first or second degree perjury in making a false affidavit concerning ownership of a motor vehicle will also result in the loss of a license. Certain convictions of criminal mischief and failing to pay for gas will also result in the loss of a driver’s license. 

Then there are all of the ways to lose your license for driving related convictions.  These include the well known point violations (for adult drivers:

12 points or more in any 12 month period,
18 points or more in any 24 month period),
and excessive blood alcohol content (over a .08 for adults, over .02 for minors). 

There are many, many less well known violations that can end up costing you your license to drive.  For example, you will be suspended for two DWAI convictions occurring within five years, even if your blood alcohol was under .08 in each case. 

Also, a hit and run conviction involving death or injury to another.  Wilfully leaving the scene of an accident (even just property damage) if you were driving a commercial vehicle at the time.  Being convicted of any felony involving the use of a motor vehicle (being the getaway driver in an armed robbery, vehicular homicide or assault) will result in the loss of your driving privilege.
There is a little used provision that enables the Department of Motor Vehicles to require a driver to retake a written or driving test upon its receipt of “evidence which indicates that a licensed driver is incompetent or otherwise not qualified to be licensed”.  The Department need only provide ten days notice and if you fail to appear or take whatever test it wishes, then your license may be suspended, revoked or canceled. 

I have seen this section used on drivers who have had several accidents but who have not accumulated enough points to warrant suspension. It can also be used for people deemed “medically unfit” to drive by virtue of advanced age, dementia, uncontrollable seizures or other disorders.

There are probably too many ways to lose your license for even a good lawyer to keep up with.  The best thing to do is to ask your lawyer if whatever jam you’re in can result in the loss of your license.  If he doesn’t know, ask him to find out.  The last thing you need is to think you have something done and over with and then to find out you no longer have a license. 

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 JAMES M. EDWARDS, P.C. is a general practice law office with an emphasis on personal injury matters and motor vehicle claims. The office also handles traffic matters, criminal matters, insurance questions, and consumer issues. The office of JAMES M. EDWARDS, P.C. is located at 1401 17th Street, Suite 330, Denver, CO 80202, (303) 293-8191, Fax 292-0924. Initial consultations are available at no cost.

Copyright 2008, James M. Edwards, P.C. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this article may be reprinted or republished without permission of the author. The article is meant to advise the reader of general legal principles and trends. It is not case specific legal advice. If you would like further information, or would like to see a specific topic addressed in a future article, please contact the author.


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