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When An Out Of State Resident Is Convicted Of A DUI In Colorado – What Happens Now?

DUI In Colorado - Out of State Resident

DUI In Colorado – Out of State Resident

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer for DUI – DWAI – and DUID Cases

When An Out Of State Resident Is Convicted Of A DUI In Colorado – What Happens Now? – What happens is complex and depends on your home or resident state.

Out of State Residents Coming To Colorado – Arrested For DUI – DWAI – or DUID (Drugs)

The scenario plays out on the slopes of Colorado’s ski resorts – at Broncos Games – at Conventions held here in the Denver area – this list is endless. The out of state resident is charged with DUI and they leave the state after their visit is over. They know they must return to Colorado but they are unclear as to what impact a conviction will have on their right to drive in their home state and in the other 49 states – including Colorado.

The Driver’s License Compact (Interstate Compact) – Two Levels of Prosecution

Many believe that the Judge in a DUI case decides what will happen as to a person’s right to drive. In some states that is true – but not in Colorado. In Colorado the right to drive and the conditions of obtaining a drivers license are controlled by the Department of Revenue’s DMV Division. The processes that apply to obtain a driver’s license or the circumstances under which a resident or non-resident can lose his or her right to drive are outlined in the statutes and regulations which are administered by the DMV.

Out of State Drivers Face The Same Requirements As Colorado Residents For DUI Convictions

If you commit and are convicted of a DUI – DWAI – or DUID in Colorado it does not matter that you are an out-of-state driver (non-resident). The same statutory penalties are applied to both in and out of state drivers. The issue is where – and under what circumstances the out of state resident is permitted to perform the conditions of DUI probation.

Conditions Of DUI – DWAI – DUID Probation For Out Of State Resident Drivers

It is a common belief by those visiting Colorado that a DUI conviction cannot “follow you home.” The truth is that if you are arrested and convicted of a DUI while visiting another states – it probably will ultimately impact your right to drive when you return to your home state.

If you are prosecuted for DUI in Colorado – probation is mandatory. Colorado DUI sentencing laws require some period of probation that includes an alcohol and or drug evaluation and treatment, useful public service hours and other similar conditions. The complexity enters these cases when – for out of state residents – decisions are made as to – where – when – and under what circumstances the out of state resident is allowed to comply with the Court’s orders.

Many Colorado counties will permit the out of state resident to comply with a kind of informal probation in the driver’s home state. First and foremost – the prosecuting county’s probation department will require proof of the completion of a DUI treatment program that is a rough equivalent of the treatment programs in Colorado.

Other requirements – such as community service, monitoring of abstinence and other classes such as MADD classes are handled according to the idiosyncrasies of the county one is prosecuted in. In the last few years Colorado probation offices are resorting to transferring DUI probation under the difficult and complex ICAOS Act (The Interstate Commission for Adult Supervision Act.)

ICAOS – as a means to successfully complete probation is the much more difficult path and – if it can be avoided by the parties – it should be so avoided.

Reinstatement Of The Right To Drive – Out Of State and In State Drivers

This year – 2014 – Colorado radically changed – in a positive way – the method of reinstatement of a Colorado driver’s license.. Unfortunately – non-resident drivers are not eligible for the same early reinstatement …

If you lose the right to drive in Colorado – that is – your right to drive is revoked, Colorado will report this to your home-state. As noted above – Colorado is one of 45 states that use this system (the Interstate Driver’s License Compact – as of this writing – only Georgia, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Tennessee are not members ).

All points you receive from your DUI and any suspensions or revocations of your driver’s license are reported to the member states DMV divisions.

The problem is this – if your home state is a member of the Compact – the penalties are treated as if they occurred in the your home state and you are then subject to YOUR state’s “equivalent” laws. While the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does not have authority over you in your home state – (because you are a non-resident) – your home state does and your that state determines whether you will be permitted a restricted or probationary driver’s license.

Understanding The National Driver Registry

The relatively new “National Driver Registry” uses a nationwide reporting system that shares the same body of information on resident drivers of member states.

If you have been suspended, revoked, because of a conviction for a Colorado DUI – DWAI – DUID – your home state will access this database and – if you have been revoked – under the Interstate Driver’s License you may therefore be denied the right to drive.

Once revoked, non-residents must follow Colorado’s requirements for reinstatement. If a non-resident fails to comply with the reinstatement requirements, the Colorado DMV will not lift the driver’s license hold in the National Register and the driver will be unable to reinstate their license in the home state.

The Driver’s License Compact (Interstate Compact) And Your Driver’s License After A DUI Conviction – A Closer Look

You must look to the laws of your HOME STATE and the state where you were convicted to determine the extent of your driver’s license suspension. At times, depending on the laws of your HOME STATE, the penalties might be more severe or less severe than Colorado’s.

Colorado, for example, allows for reinstatement of a driver’s license after 30 days WITH an Interlock Device. Your home state – may have a similar program or it may not. Under the Interstate Compact, the idea is to “equalize” the differences between the states.

The way the Compact works is that if you are convicted of a DUI in Colorado, Colorado sends notice to your HOME STATE requesting that your driver’s license be suspended. In your HOME STATE – the agency responsible for driver’s licenses will send you a NOTICE LETTER which will state that a decision has been made to suspend your license. This letter will then outline your appeal rights under your State’s version of the Compact.

The “silver lining” is this. Colorado is a “two tier” DUI state. A conviction for DWAI in Colorado may have no equivalent conviction in your home state. That means that the Colorado DWAI conviction is invalid in your home state – as there may be no crime that is “substantially similar” to DWAI in your home state. Most states have DUI crimes that start at an .08 BAC.

Finally – appealing the decision to try to suspend your driver’s is NOT governed by the Interstate Compact. Those rights are set by the administrative procedures of your home state.

How Can You Find Out What The Requirements Are For You To Reinstate In Colorado?

In Colorado you can submit an online form to have an individualized review by the Colorado DMV of your reinstatement requirements. Here is a LINK to that online form. Here is the Colorado DMV online instruction

If you are an out of state driver and need to reinstate with the State of Colorado and have a requirement for Level II Drug/Alcohol Education/Therapy you must have an evaluation done by an alcohol treatment center or alcohol therapist in the state where you reside. You cannot reinstate with the State of Colorado until you can provide documentation that you have met the requirements of the center or therapist.

A summary of the evaluation should be submitted on letterhead from the alcohol treatment center or therapist and must specify the beginning and ending dates as well as the hours required to fulfill their requirements.

If the ICAOS System Applies In My Colorado County Case – How Do I Transfer My Colorado DUI Probation Under The ICAOS System To My Home State?

I have already written several articles about this process in the past – here is a LINK to one of them.

Essentially the transfer of DUI probation requires that:

The receiving state– YOUR home state – must accept a transfer of probation for a DUI AND :

1) This is a second or subsequent conviction for DUI or DWAI,

2) Your sentence to DUI probation is more than 90 days in length,

3) Your have been in full compliance with probation in the Colorado case prior to transfer of the case,

4) There is a plan of supervision for the receiving state, and

5) Of course – you are a legal resident of the receiving state.

If you meet ALL of these requirements – the ICAOS Member state must accept you. However – if one or more of these conditions is not met, the receiving state can reject the transfer. It is discretionary with the receiving state if the conditions are not all met. It still may happen – but the receiving state can reject the application for transfer.

A Key Question – Do I Have to Return to the State of Colorado To Resolve The Offense?

In a one word answer – yes. Even if you were only visiting Colorado and never plan to return – you must return to Colorado at least one time to resolve the case by plea. If you don’t – a warrant will issue for your arrest and – eventually – you will lose your “legal ability” to drive.

DUI – DWAI – DUID charges are serious in all states. You should retain a Denver, Colorado criminal lawyer who can assist you with the defense of your case and who well understands the laws of the state in which you were arrested.

Since your lawyer is a experienced in the state where you are charged – he – or she – will best be able to represent your interests in court, thoroughly investigate your charges, and achieve the best result in your case.

Non-residents DUI cases may actually face a harsher penalty then Colorado residents if their case is not handled properly.

When An Out Of State Resident Is Convicted Of A DUI In Colorado – What Happens Now?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at [email protected] – A Denver Colorado DUI – DWAI – DUDI Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.

If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about the topic of this article – When An Out Of State Resident Is Convicted Of A DUI In Colorado – What Happens Now?, please call our office. The Law Offices of H

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and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving the subject of this article – When An Out Of State Resident Is Convicted Of A DUI In Colorado – What Happens Now?

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H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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