Penalties for Driving without Insurance in Colorado

Driving without the required amount of auto insurance coverage is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor and could incur serious penalties in Colorado. You could be hit with more than $1,000 of fine, have your driver’s license suspended for up to eight months, spend a year in jail and/or be required to perform up to 40 hours of community service. However, depending on the circumstance, you may be able to get away with reduced fine or even dismissal of charge altogether. 

Types of PenaltiesFirst OffenseSecond OffenseThird & 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 Driving Without Insurance

As with most states, the Colorado Motor Vehicle Division requires all drivers to show proof of insurance when requested. If no proof is provided, you face driver’s license suspension. Depending on the number of previous offense you have incurred, higher penalties can include losing driving privileges for up to eight months, a fine of at least $1,000, a jail sentence of between 10 days to one year and four points assessed against your driver’s license. 

Penalties for 1st Offense

Not providing proof when a law enforcement officer asks may result in a check of the motorist insurance identification database. If a check of the database reveals you’re driving without insurance, the officer 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. On the condition the officer does not issue a suspension on the spot, a citation will be filed with the department, which then in turn sends a notice of suspension to the driver. You can avoid the suspension by filing proof of financial responsibility – also known as SR-22 – within 20 days of receiving the notice. If no proof is provided, you face suspension of your license. 

If you fail to present valid proof of active insurance when requested by law enforcements, such as at traffic stops or at the scene of an accident, you’re charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. For the 1st offense, you are hit with a mandatory fine of at least $500 and your driving privileges are suspended just until you prove you’ve obtained insurance. You will pay a $40 reinstatement fee and must have your Colorado auto insurer file a SR-22 in order to get your driver’s license returned, and for three years in order to keep it. You may also be required to perform no less than 40 hours of community service, which is at the discretion of the court. 

Penalties for 2nd Offense

If the 2nd offense occurs within five years of a previous violation, the fine increases to at least $1,000 and your driving privileges are suspended for four months. You’ll pay the $40 reinstatement fee and file a SR-22 certificate for three years. As with the first offense, you may also be required to perform up to 40 hours of community service. You could also have to serve a jail time of 10 days or up to one year. Both community service and potential imprisonment are at the discretion of the court.

Penalties for 3rd and Subsequent Offenses

If the 3rd offense occurs within five years of a previous violation, your driving privileges are suspended for eight months. As with the second offense, you’ll pay the $40 reinstatement fee, file a SR-22 certificate for three years, and pay up at least $1,000 in fine to get your driver’s license back. Aside from the fees and fines, the court may decide to make you perform up to 40 hours of community service and serve jail time for anywhere from 10 days up to one year.

Reducing the Fine

You may be able to have your conviction dismissed if you had insurance in place at the time of the citation. Provide the court with a complying policy or certificate of insurance that was in full force as required by the law at the time of the citation, and the court clerk’s office may dismiss your charge. If you're charged with uninsured driving and hit with the $500 fine, your ticket could be reduced to a lesser charge. Purchase the appropriate levels of insurance between the time of the citation and your court date, and the court may suspend half of the mandatory fine. Note: this applies to second and subsequent convictions as well. 

Sources:
Colorado Deparment of Revenue: requirements for vehicle registration
Colorado Revised Statute: failure to maintain or show proof of insurance

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