DUI In Colorado With Out Of State License

Colorado is among the most toured United States destinations, so you are bound to see tourists all over. Tourists may prefer to rent cars or take their vehicles so they can easily move around the state. In the same manner, traffic rules apply to residents of Colorado, so it does to tourists, as they are barred from driving under the influence (DUI) of either alcohol or drugs.

It will be unfortunate for you as a visitor or tourist to think that Colorado State laws for traffic won’t apply to you because you are away from your home state.

What will happen if an out-of-state resident gets convicted for DUI in Colorado?

Here’s what you ought to know:

An out-of-state driver detained in Colorado for DUI typically faces the same penalties as a Colorado resident. A verdict will possibly end in license revocation, community service, fines and fees, online classes, and possible jail time. (Though imprisonment is unusual for a first-time violation offense.)

Filling against DUI charges necessitates serious commitments, comprising days off from work or schooling to show up for court hearings. However, as an out-of-state DUI violator in Colorado, you don’t have to go back to Colorado State if you choose a local attorney to take up your case.

The Colorado defense attorney will address the following questions for you:

  • Will I have to return to Colorado for my DUI court hearing?
  • Do I need to hire specialized defense attorney / Colorado DUI lawyer?
  • Will my driver’s license be suspended?
  • Can I do community service and DUI classes in my home state?
  • Will I get extradited if I ignore the court date?
  • What if I am on probation in my home state? 

Will I Have To Return to Colorado for My DUI Court Hearing?

Customarily it’s not compulsory as long as the out-of-state respondent hires a Colorado criminal defense lawyer to represent him/her in court. An exception is if the case advances to trial, which is a rare occasion. The majority of driving-under-the-influence cases are decided through dialogues with the prosecuting attorney.

Note that DUI cases every so often drag on for several months, so it pays to have a local counsel show up for all your court appearances, including communication with the public prosecutor. In this manner, an out-of-state defendant can peacefully continue his/her life at home in their state uninterrupted.

Is It a Must to Hire a Colorado DUI Attorney?

No, it is not a must. Nevertheless, all out-of-state residents are encouraged to appoint a Colorado criminal defense lawyer (DUI Attorney) to help in their DUI case. An experienced lawyer is acquainted with the courts and district attorneys, hence they understand how best to probe, discuss, and contest your case.

If an out-of-state resident decides not to engage a local lawyer, he or she is at liberty to represent himself/herself. But this will come at the price of having to travel back to Colorado every time you have a court date. And you would most probably lack the lawful capability essential to contest for the best resolution possible.

Courts allocate a public defender to any non-resident DUI defendant without financial resources. But the defendant will still need to show up physically for all the court hearings.

Can My Driver’s License Be Suspended?

This is governed mostly by the state that supplied the respondent’s license. As a general rule, other states’ Department of Motor vehicles (DMVs) are mutual and will serve similar license suspensions as the Colorado DMV.

The driver’s license suspension by the Colorado DMV is as follows:

  • Nine months for a first-time offender
  • One year for a second-time offender
  • Two years for a third and subsequent offender

Some states will enact more punitive suspension periods than the Colorado DMV, while other states impose less strict measures. A home state can hold back suspending only until the perpetrator loses the Colorado felonious case — which is completely isolated from a DMV administrative case requiring a sophisticated burden of proof.

Nevertheless, non-Colorado citizens are urged to employ the professional services of a local prosecutor to contest their license from getting suspended at any cost. Take note that non-residents who keep driving in Colorado while their driver's license is suspended endanger themselves of being prosecuted for driving under restraint (CRS 42-2-138), which will lead to losing further driving privileges.

The Interstate Compact

Colorado is among the 45 states that adhere to the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC). So, when a non-Colorado resident picks up a DUI, Colorado’s DMV will place a hold on his/her license on the National Driver's Register (NDR) and will report the offender to their home state DMV.

However, this may not happen — as clarified above, diverse states have unique suspension rules for the licensees that get out-of-state DUIs. Examples of such states include Massachusetts, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, which aren’t part of the interstate compact.

It is important you know that, unlike Colorado inhabitants, non-residents charged with a DUI in Colorado may not apply for early restoration of their driving license or their provisional (“red”) license mainly for the reason that Colorado’s DMV does not have the authority to grant early reinstatement of restricted licenses in another state.

In a nutshell, out-of-state drivers will find it tougher than in-state citizens since they need to complete a full license suspension term.

Requirements for Reinstating Out-Of-State Drivers’ Licenses

When an out-of-state perpetrator loses a DMV administrative case, the Colorado DMV will put his/her license on hold. The DMV cannot lift this hold till the respondent finishes the suspension period, meets the listed requirements, and pays the related fees:

DUI with a BAC of 0.08% to .149%

  • Application for Reinstatement (DR 2870)
  • Alcohol Certification form (DR 2598)
  • Out-of-State Residency Sworn statement (to move around Colorado’s SR-22 requirement)

DUI with BAC of 0.15% or higher and Application for Reinstatement (DR 2870)

  • Out-of-State Residency Official declaration to move around (Colorado’s SR-22 requirement)
  • Non-Ownership Document (to get around Colorado’s two-year ignition interlock requirement)
  • Level II Alcohol Education and Therapy class

DUI with chemical test refusal and Application for Reinstatement (DR 2870)

  • Out-of-State Residency Sworn declaration (to move around Colorado’s SR-22 obligation)
  • Non-Ownership Affirmation (to get around Colorado’s two-year ignition interlock obligation)
  • Level II Alcohol Education and Therapy class

Applicable forms and fees are to be directed to the address on the Application for Reinstatement.

All respondents must meet with a state-certified provider in their home state, get a personalized evaluation, and complete the acclaimed application for reinstatement. The provider must give the Colorado DMV an official letter comprising the following information:

  • The evaluation date
  • The advised treatment level, including hours
  • The dates from start to completion
  • The number of hours the respondent completed; and
  • If the defendant completes the program successfully

Out-of-state offenders should obtain a Letter of Clearance from Colorado’s DMV approximately three weeks after providing the essential documentation and payment. Henceforth, the defendants may choose to apply for the driver’s license in their state.

Can I Complete DUI Classes And Community Service In My Home State?

Typically, yes. Terms of the Colorado DUI sentence comprise several hours in public service and probably alcohol education classes. Courts normally permit out-of-state offenders to complete community service in their state and also take their classes online.

The respondent just needs to confirm in time that the court will agree on the specific online course and community service program. It is easier if the respondent submits proof of compliance.

Can I Get Extradited When I Ignore the Court Date?

Individuals that miss a DUI court date will receive a bench warrant for their arrest. For a misdemeanor-level DUI case, the Colorado police force may not make an effort to find the out-of-state defendant. On the other hand, for a felony-level DUI case, Colorado police may put some effort into finding and extraditing the perpetrator to Colorado.

What If I am on Probation in My Home State?

A non-resident under arrest for DUI in Colorado while on probation in his/her home state must contact the local defense attorney instantly. Should the prosecuting lawyer in the home state learn about the DUI, the court can revoke the probation and perhaps remand the respondent to jail (subject to the terms of the specific probation).

There are several implications involved with DUI in Colorado with out-of-state licenses. It can be so frustrating if you don’t have the right information to refer to. If you are caught up in such a situation, it is best to deal with a Colorado law firm to assist you to get acquitted and retain your license back.


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