Habitual Traffic Offenders in Colorado
The term ‘Habitual Traffic Offender’ refers to a Colorado driver who has been convicted of three (3) major traffic offenses during any given seven (7) year period. Each major traffic offense can be thought of as a ‘strike’ – three strikes and your license can be suspended. A license suspended due to being deemed a HTO will be suspended for at least five (5) years.
Major Traffic Offense that can give rise to a HTO strike include:
- DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, DUI – Drugs
- Reckless Driving
- Driving Under Suspension
- Driving Under Revocation
- Vehicular Assault, Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Manslaughter
- Criminally Negligent Homicide which results from the operation of motor vehicles
- Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft
- Hit and Run Involving death or injury
- Providing False Information to DMV
Other than acquiring 3 HTO ‘strikes,’ a person may be deemed a HTO if he or she acquires too many convictions (of any general traffic offense) over any five-year period. Specifically, a person will be deemed HTO if they are convicted or 10 or more infractions that add 4 or more points each, or alternatively, 18 or more infractions that add 3 or fewer points each.
Regardless of the manner in which an individual is deemed a Habitual Traffic Offender, a conviction under the HTO statute, C.R.S. 42-2-206, is a Class 1 misdemeanor. That is the highest-level misdemeanor that we have in Colorado. As such, a sentence under this charge can include up to 18 months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
What makes this HTO charge unique is the fact that the statute tells the Court that there is a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment required in these cases. The statute requires that the individual serve 30 days unless the individual completes community service. That community service can have the effect of reducing or eliminating the amount of time served.
Although all driving infractions can be detrimental, those infractions that act as HTO ‘strikes’ are particularly important charges and should be addressed head-on at the time they arise instead of waiting for your license to be in jeopardy of being suspended for up to five years. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez have significant experience in defending individuals facing these charges and look forward to speaking with you about how we can help preserve your driving privileges.