If you’re facing a habitual traffic offender (HTO) designation in Colorado, you’re also facing the possibility of losing your driver’s license for at least five years.
The Denver criminal defense attorneys at Wolf Law have helped many clients who were declared habitual traffic offenders or who were at risk for the HTO designation. Our lawyers understand the complex rules regarding HTO status, and we can help you determine the best solution for your unique circumstances.
How Does a Driver Become a Habitual Traffic Offender?
There are multiple situations that may lead a Colorado driver to be considered a habitual traffic offender:
- A driver is convicted of at least three major traffic violations within a seven-year period.
- A driver accumulates 10 or more traffic violation convictions within a five-year period, with each violation resulting in a DMV point assessment of four or more points.
- A driver is convicted of at least 18 traffic convictions within a five-year period, with each violation resulting in a DMV point assessment of three or fewer points.
When it comes to the HTO designation in Colorado, traffic convictions are specific to major offenses, which include but are not limited to:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (DUI)
- DUI per se, which applies when the driver didn’t commit a traffic violation but had a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher
- Driving while ability impaired (DWAI)
- Reckless driving
- Driving with a denied, suspended or revoked license
- Vehicular assault, manslaughter or homicide
- Failure to perform duties required by law following a traffic accident that involves injuries or death, such as not reporting the crash to law enforcement or fleeing the scene of the crash
In some cases, traffic violations acquired in other states may apply to a Colorado driver’s total traffic convictions.
HTO Penalties in Colorado
A driver designated as a habitual traffic offender in Colorado will lose his or her license for a minimum of five years. Depending on the traffic violations in question, additional criminal penalties including fines and jail time may also apply.
A habitual traffic offender who is convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license can face up to 18 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition to the corresponding penalties, an HTO designation and the loss of your driver’s license can have significant impacts on your daily routine. A revoked driver’s license can affect your ability to travel for work, or take your kids to school or extracurricular activities; it can make grocery shopping a challenge and limit your ability to respond to emergency situations.
Unfortunately, many people don’t have a detailed understanding of their traffic record and license points status, or of Colorado’s HTO rules. This leads to many drivers unknowingly becoming habitual traffic offenders.
What is Driving After Revocation Prohibited (DARP)?
An HTO designation can lead to further and more severe penalties for future violations, such as driving after revocation prohibited (DARP).
DARP is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by mandatory jail time ranging from six to 18 months in jail and fines up to $5,000. A DARP conviction may also be accompanied by community service and an additional driver’s license restraint of five years or longer.
A DARP violation occurs when a driver who has already been deemed a habitual traffic offender commits subsequent offenses such as:
- DUI per se
- Reckless driving
- Fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement
Probation is not available to individuals facing a DARP violation, though in some cases community service may be assigned to suspend all or a portion of the jail sentence and/or fine. In the case of aggravating factors, a DARP offense may increase to a Class 6 felony, the penalties for which include a mandatory jail sentence of at least 60 days.
Get the HTO Defense You Need and Deserve
If you’re facing an HTO designation or DARP charges in Colorado, one of the most important steps you can take to protect your rights and your driving privileges is to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.
The Denver criminal defense attorneys at Wolf Law have extensive experience in traffic cases, including those related to DUI/DWAI, driving with a suspended license, HTO status, and DARP violations. Our lawyers offer free, no-obligation consultations to help you understand your options, and we fight hard to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
If you are confronted with possible HTO status or you were recently designated a habitual traffic offender, please call Wolf Law today at 720-479-8574 or contact us online to arrange your complimentary consultation.