Drivers unknowingly have their licenses canceled due to unpaid or late-paid speeding tickets

DENVER - Drivers in Colorado may have their license suspended or canceled and never be notified.

In 2012, the Colorado Department of Revenue called for revocation of licenses 215,000 times. Reasons include excessive violation points, drunken driving violations, driving without insurance and unpaid speeding tickets. The Department of Revenue tells 7NEWS that does not necessarily mean 215,000 drivers because the same driver may have faced multiple revocations in one year.

Last year, the agency also called for the cancelation of licenses 81,000 times for unpaid speeding tickets or failure to appear in court for those tickets. Again, the department said the same driver could have gone through the process multiple times, but could not provide an exact number of drivers impacted.

"If you don't show up for court, then that's when the process starts. A letter then will go out to you that you have 45 days to take care of this," said Department of Revenue spokeswoman Daria Serna. "After 45 days, your license will be revoked."

Serna also said that in some of those 81,000 cases, the tickets may have been paid before the 45 days, thus avoiding cancelation.

7NEWS heard from multiple viewers who paid their speeding tickets after 45 days went by. Another person was late registering his vehicle. In those cases, they found out years later that their license had been canceled, but only after they were pulled over and an officer ran their driver's license.

"If people don't follow the process after receiving the ticket, then possibly yes, they could eventually not know," said Serna.

The Colorado Driver Handbook, which helps drivers pass their driver's test, lists reasons why a driver's license can be suspended, revoked or canceled. Those reasons include failing to pay a fine for a traffic violation.

We found out not all counties will notify a driver once they've paid a late ticket, that their license has been suspended.

"They may tell them that they have to go reinstate their license and there's a possibility they may not," said Serna.

Drivers who are told their license is suspended must provide the DMV proof that they paid their ticket and then fill out a license reinstatement form and pay a $95 fee.

If more than a year goes by while your license is canceled, you'll have to retake a driver's test, including getting a learner's permit.

Since drivers renew their license every five years, anyone who moves needs to register their new address with the Department of Motor Vehicles, it's not automatic.

"It's your responsibility to update your address," said Serna.

If drivers fail to update their address, they may never get the letter in the mail notifying them that their license is canceled.

"It's really the only way we that we have to communicate with you, so if something like this would happen, we want to make sure you get the information that you need," said Serna. "Staff at the Division of Motor Vehicles will make every effort to try to find that person, to make sure that we get them that notification."

To update your license address online, click this link: https://www.colorado.gov/apps/dor/addressChange/welcome.jsf

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