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CHAPTER 5: SUBSTANTIVE CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Table of Contents

5.1 - Sources of Criminal Law and Procedure5.2 - Criminal Law - Title 185.3 - Criminal Procedure - Statutes and Rules5.4 - Juvenile Proceedings5.5 - Traffic Offenses - Title 425.6 - Municipal Ordinance Violations5.7 - Penalties5.8 - Federal Criminal Law5.9 - Defenses in Criminal Cases

5.5 TRAFFIC OFFENSES - TITLE 42

Traffic offenses are generally found in Title 42 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. Part 2 of Title 42 sets out the regulations relating to driver’s licenses, Part 4 contains most of the actual traffic offenses, and Part 7 sets out the insurance and financial responsibility requirements. It is important to remember that the point system governing driver's licenses is administered by the Motor Vehicle Division (DMV), not by the courts. Many minor traffic violations are handled in a relatively informal fashion by a county court magistrate. Chapter 6.16 contains a discussion of alcohol related traffic offenses.

Colorado law requires that anyone who drives a motor vehicle on a Colorado highway have a license to drive. A person who lives in another state may drive in Colorado using that out-of-state license, but must follow all Colorado laws and is presumed to know Colorado law relating to traffic just as is a Colorado resident. Anyone who drives without a license is guilty of the crime of no operator's license (N.O.L.) C.R.S. 42-2-101. A person will lose his or her license if the person receives too many points, or violates the express consent laws relating to alcohol, drugs and driving, or violates various other restrictions. The express consent law is discussed in Chapter 6.16. The points applicable to various traffic offenses are set out in C.R.S. 42-2-127, and the penalties for various traffic offenses are set out in C.R.S. 42-4-1701. A person who drives after his or her license is revoked is guilty of the crime of driving under restraint (D.U.R.), C.R.S. 42-2-138. The crime of driving under restraint carries more serious penalties for repeat offenders and for those whose licenses were revoked due, in whole or in part, to alcohol related offenses. Persons with out of state licenses can lose their privilege to drive in Colorado in the same fashion as those with Colorado licenses.

The substantive traffic offenses are set out in Part 4 of Title 42. These range from requirements that motor vehicles meet certain standards, emissions standards, obedience to various traffic control devices and a wide variety of moving violations.

Part 7 of Title 42 sets out the requirements concerning car insurance. Everyone in Colorado is required to have car insurance. Failing to keep such insurance, or driving without proof of insurance (N.P.O.I), is barred by C.R.S. 42-4-1409. A violation of this statute is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A person who drives after his or her license was suspended due to a lack of insurance violates C.R.S. 42-7-422, and such conduct is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

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