Driving without car insurance is considered a class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado.
If you're convicted, the maximum penalties include a fine of at least $1,000, a driver's license suspension of eight months, one year in jail, 40 hours of community service and four points on your driver’s license.
However, if you act quickly following a no-insurance citation, the court may reduce your fine or even dismiss the charge.
Penalties for driving without insurance
All Colorado drivers must have at least the state-mandated minimum liability car insurance and be able to show proof of coverage when requested. If you can't show proof, 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.
Type of penalty
Third and subsequent offenses
|Fine||At least $500||At least $1,000||At least $1,000|
|Community service||Up to 40 hours||Up to 40 hours||Up to 40 hours|
|Imprisonment||10 days to 1 year in jail||10 days to 1 year in jail||10 days to 1 year in jail|
|Driving privileges||Driver's license, registration and license plates could be suspended until adequate insurance is obtained||Driver's license, registration and license plates suspended for 4 months||Driver's license, registration and license plates suspended for 8 months|
|Reinstatement requirements||$95 fee and file SR-22 certificate for three years||$95 fee and file SR-22 certificate for 3 years||$95 fee and file SR-22 certificate for 3 years|
|Driving record||Up to 4 points||Up to 4 points||Up to 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. Alternatively, the officer may decide to let you keep your license, but they'll still file a citation. You'll receive a notice of suspension in the mail.
You’ll have 20 days to get an insurance policy and provide proof of financial responsibility, also known as an SR-22. When you provide that proof, the court can decide to halve your fine or waive it. If no proof is provided, the state may suspend your driver's license.
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 four points on your license. You could also face a community service requirement or jail time.
To get back on the road, you will need to get coverage from a Colorado auto insurer and have them file an SR-22 form on your behalf. You'll need to maintain the SR-22 for three years. You'll also need to pay a $95 license reinstatement fee.
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. The court may also require up to 40 hours of community service, jail time of 10 days to one year and four points on your license.
To drive again, you'll need to get adequate insurance coverage, pay the $95 reinstatement fee and file an SR-22 certificate for three years.
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 and charge a fine of at least $1,000. They may also require up to 40 hours of community service, sentence you to jail time between 10 days and one year and/or put four points on your license.
To drive legally after your suspension, you'll need to get insurance coverage, pay a $95 reinstatement fee and maintain an SR-22 certificate for three years.
Reducing the fine
The court may dismiss your case if you can prove you had insurance in place at the time of the citation and were just unable to show proof.
If you did not have insurance at the time of the stop but can purchase the appropriate levels of insurance before your hearing, the court may waive or cut in half the $500 fine. This applies to the second and subsequent citations as well.