Driving without car insurance is considered a class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado. If convicted, you might have to pay a fine of $1,000 or more, surrender your driver's license for up to eight months, spend up to a year in jail, and perform up to 40 hours of community service.
However, depending on the circumstances, the court may reduce your fine or even dismiss the charge altogether.
Penalties for driving without insurance
All drivers must show proof of insurance when requested — and if you can't show proof, then you could face a fine of up to $1,000, jail time, a driver's license suspension and more. The penalties depend on whether you've been caught driving without insurance in the past. Here's what you can expect:
Types of penalties
Third and subsequent offense
|Fine||At least $500||At least $1,000||At least $1,000|
|Community service||Possible 40 hours||Up to 40 hours||Up to 40 hours|
|Imprisonment||N/A||10 days to 1 year in jail||10 days to 1 year in jail|
|Driving privilege||Driver's license, registration and license plates suspended until adequate insurance is obtained||Driver's license, registration and license plates suspended for four months||Driver's license, registration and license plates suspended for eight months|
|Reinstatement requirements||$40 fee and file SR-22 certificate for three years||$40 fee and file SR-22 certificate for three years||$40 fee and file SR-22 certificate for three years|
|Driving record||4 points||4 points||4 points|
Penalties for first offense
Law enforcement officers can ask for proof of insurance during routine traffic stops, and they may check that proof against the state's motorist insurance identification database. If the officer finds out you're driving without insurance, they can issue you a notice of suspension and confiscate your driver's license on the spot. Drivers should be entitled to a temporary permit that is valid for seven days.
The officer may decide to let you keep your license for the time being, but they'll still file a citation. You'll receive a notice of suspension in the mail, but you can avoid the penalty by providing proof of financial responsibility — also known as an SR-22 — within 20 days of receiving the notice. If no proof is provided, the state may suspend your driver's license.
It's important to act quickly. If you don't get a car insurance policy, you could be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction comes with a fine of at least $500, suspended driving privileges and a $40 reinstatement fee. Your Colorado auto insurer will also need to file an SR-22 form on your behalf for three years. The court may also require you to perform at least 40 hours of community service.
Penalties for second offense
If the second offense occurs within five years of a previous violation, the fine increases to at least $1,000, and your driving privileges will be suspended for four months. You'll pay the $40 reinstatement fee and file a SR-22 certificate for three years. The court may also require up to 40 hours of community service and jail time between 10 days and one year.
Penalties for third and subsequent offenses
The penalties climb if you're caught driving without insurance for a third time (or more) within five years of a previous violation. The state will suspend your driving privileges for eight months, charge a $1,000 fine plus a $40 reinstatement fee, and require an SR-22 certificate for three years. The court may also require up to 40 hours of community service and jail time between 10 days and one year.
Reducing the fine
The court may dismiss your case if you can prove you had insurance in place at the time of the citation. If you purchase the appropriate levels of insurance before your hearing, the court may suspend half of the mandatory $500 fine. This applies to second and subsequent citations as well.