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There are a number of ways your license can be revoked. Get caught driving under the influence or without insurance or commit certain other infractions, and it’s gone (temporarily at least).


In fact, this is often one of the most detrimental consequences of a brush with the law. How do you keep your job if you can’t get to work? How will your children get school?


The revocation of your driver’s license is decided by a DMV hearing, which is generally much less formal than a court case. Unfortunately, the outcome of the hearing is just as important as many criminal proceedings.


The silver lining is, also like criminal proceedings, you also have the option of filing an appeal if you do not agree with the outcome of the hearing.


Learn how DMV hearings and the appeals process works here in Colorado, and maximize your chance of keeping your driver’s license. We’ll start with situations where you might need a DMV hearing in the first place.


Reasons for a Colorado DMV Hearing


There are essentially three reasons for DMV hearings:


  • Alcohol and drug-related offenses: If you are caught driving under the influence (DUI or DWAI), or providing drugs or alcohol to a minor, the DMV can revoke your driver’s license.
  • Auto insurance: If you are caught driving uninsured, your license will be automatically revoked for three years. In some cases you can still request a DMV hearing.
  • Loss of driving privileges: Your license can be suspended or revoked for a host of other reasons, including aggravated motor vehicle theft, cancellation due to physical or mental ability, driving with a revoked or suspended license, failure to appear in court or pay citations, a hit-and-run accident, accumulated points on your license or vehicular assault. Depending on the circumstances under which you lost your driving privileges, you might be able to request a DMV hearing to determine if the DMV will grant you conditional driving privileges.


How a DMV Hearing Works in CO


DMV hearings are administrative, and are more informal than a hearing in court. Your hearing can be held in person or over the phone.


A Hearing Officer will meet with you, and explain the purpose and nature of the hearing. You have the opportunity to ask questions, but the Officer is unable to provide legal advice.


If your driver’s license is being revoked because you refused to comply with drug or alcohol testing, and you have requested that the arresting officer be present, he or she will testify, and you will have the opportunity to question, or cross-examine, the police officer.


You will also have the opportunity to present evidence such as witnesses, or to testify yourself, although you are not required to testify.


You are allowed to have an attorney represent you at a DMV hearing. However, you are not legally entitled to an attorney, so you must retain your own defense attorney. An attorney can cast doubt on certain elements of the alleged infraction, and ask for measures such as a conditional restoration of your driver’s privileges.


Whatever the case, you must request your hearing within 7 days of being issued notice by the DMV, so it is imperative to take action as soon as possible to gather evidence and, if you so choose, find an attorney to represent you.


Filing a Colorado DMV Appeal


If the DMV does not rule in your favor and you disagree with this decision, you have the right to file an appeal. The appeal will be filed with the district court of the county in which you reside, and must be filed within 35 days of your DMV hearing.


In the appeal, a Judge will review the transcript of your DMV hearing, and determine whether the Hearing Officer correctly applied this law. This is not a second hearing — if the Judge finds that the DMV Hearing Officer applied the law correctly, the Judge cannot overrule the decision.



The outcome of a DMV hearing can determine your ability to drive for the foreseeable future. However, due to the limited time you’ll have to prepare for your DMV hearing, time is of the essence, and it is imperative to begin preparing immediately.



About the Author:


Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state.  She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.

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