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Probationary Driver’s License

If your privilege to drive is revoked under the Colorado Express Consent law, you have the right to request a probationary license – also called a “restricted,” “provisional,” or “red” license. However, you can only request such a license if you submitted to a blood test or breath test at the time of your arrest. You are not eligible if you refused to take the blood alcohol test.

Your opportunity to make this request will usually come at the same DMV hearing at which you are revoked. Before granting you probationary driving privileges, the hearing officer will ask you questions essentially based on the larger question “Why should we trust you with a driver’s license?” The officer will likely ask questions about the DUI incident, as well as questions about how much you normally drink, and what you are doing to address the alcohol problem. This is one of the many reasons it is useful to begin your alcohol classes early. Being underway with the classes is an indication to the officer that you are taking steps to ensure that you are safe to drive. If the officer is convinced that you can be trusted to drive, you will be granted the probationary license.

In cases where your blood alcohol level was found to be very high, the hearing officer may be reluctant to grant you the license. In such case, you may be offered the license on condition that you install an Interlock Device in your car. This is a device that measures the blood alcohol content of your breath before allowing you to start the vehicle.

If you are granted a probationary license, your 90 day revocation will be converted to a 180 day suspension. However, you will be held to no driving at all only for the first thirty days. During the remaining five months, you will be allowed limited driving for essential necessities only. Acceptable travel includes to and from work, school, court, as well as other court ordered requirements such as your alcohol classes and public service obligations. You are also permitted to stop for groceries; however, you are expected to shop somewhere close to, if not directly on, your route to and from work or school. Any moving traffic violation at all, no matter how minor, will revoke your probationary license, and the entire six months will be converted to no driving at all.

Your DUI attorney should talk with you ahead of time, both to prepare you for the questions the officer will ask you, as well as to help you create a list of necessary driving destinations. If you do not request permission to drive somewhere, it will not be granted, and there is nothing wrong with asking.

A probationary license is valid only within the State of Colorado, and you are prohibited from driving in other states. If you are pulled over in another state, the officer’s dashboard computer will likely show that your license is under revocation in Colorado, but will not show that you have a probationary license. You could be arrested for Driving Under Revocation, and face additional penalties, including an additional year added to your license revocation.