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Habitual Traffic Offenders: Doing the Math


Most Colorado residents have heard of the habitual offender law the state enacted in 1994. Simply put, the law mandates that anyone convicted of three felony offenses is subject to a mandatory prison sentence of four times the normal statutory penalty for the third offense. Thus, the law is often called the three-strike law borrowing from the classic baseball cry of three strikes and you’re out.

When it comes to traffic offenses, Colorado statutes have established a similar three-strike law. Under that law, a person is considered a habitual traffic offender if convicted within a seven-year period of three major traffic offenses, such as:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving under a suspended license
  • Reckless driving
  • Vehicular homicide

A driver deemed to be a habitual offender faces a mandatory five-year license revocation.

What many people do not know, however, is that the vehicular version of the habitual offender statute includes not only a three-strike law, but also a 10-strikes law, and even an 18-strikes law.

According to the law, a person who is convicted of a certain number of moving violations within a five-year period is also designated a habitual traffic offender. The number of violations depends on the points assessed against the driver’s license for each offense. The line is ten offenses in five years for violations worth four or more points, and 18 offenses in five years for violations worth three points or less.

If you know you have some points in your past — or already have two strikes — it is vital that you speak to a Colorado habitual traffic offender attorney if you are charged with any further violations.