December 9, 2023
Colorado is a very popular state to visit, so it’s common for people to drive on Colorado roads with an out-of-state license. But what happens when you commit a crime with that out-of-state license – like a DUI?
Colorado state laws apply to everyone, not just those who reside there. That’s why if you get a DUI in Colorado while visiting, it’s essential to understand what is in store for you. Here is what you need to know.
DUI for an Out of State Driver
Visitors with a license from another state are still subject to the same Colorado penalties as a state resident if arrested for a DUI. That means they face having their driver’s license revoked, orders to complete community service hours, pay fines, take classes, and possibly go to jail.
Returning to Colorado for Court
If you are out of state and get a DUI in Colorado, do you have to return to Colorado for your court dates? Typically, as long as you have hired a defense lawyer in Colorado to handle your case, you will not be required to return for your hearing unless you go to trial. Your attorney can take care of the back-and-forth with the prosecutors in your case and keep you updated.
DUI cases can last for several months, even relatively simple ones, so it’s in your best interest to have a Colorado attorney represent you in these court hearings. That way, you can continue your life in your home state while your lawyer deals with the case locally.
Will Your Driver’s License Be Suspended?
Technically, whether or not you lose your license in your home state depends on the rules of that state. In most cases, the Department of Motor Vehicles from state to state will have similar regulations for license suspension in DUI cases.
The suspension that can be faced in Colorado and also enforced by your home state include:
- First-time offenders – Nine months of license suspension
- Second-time offenders – One year of license suspension
- Third-time and subsequent offenders – Two years of license suspension
Some states may even enact stricter penalties on your license than Colorado, while others may impose less.
The Interstate Compact
One crucial thing to understand in this matter is the Interstate Compact. Colorado and 44 other states follow the Interstate Driver’s License Compact. When you visit Colorado from another state in the compact and get a DUI, Colorado will put a hold on your license through the National Driver’s Register, which will then report this to the DMV in your home state.
It’s also vital to understand that non-residents who get a DUI in Colorado are not eligible to have their license restored early, mainly because Colorado cannot grant an early reinstatement on permits from other states. You will be required to complete the full terms of any license suspension you incur.
A DUI in Colorado has many implications when it involves an out-of-state driver’s license. For those going through the process, it can be a frustrating and confusing experience since you’re dealing with the laws in Colorado and your home state. That’s why hiring an attorney is the first thing you should do.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Countless legal organizations have recognized Mr. Martinez for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020 and is Lead Counsel rated.