Colorado

Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR)
Motor Vehicle Division
1881 Pierce Street
Lakewood, CO 80214
(303) 205-5600 | www.colorado.gov/revenue

Colorado State Police
Headquarters
700 Kipling Street
Denver, CO 80215
(303) 239-4500 | www.csp.state.co.us

Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT)
4201 E. Arkansas Avenue
Denver, CO 80222
(800) 999-4997 | www.dot.state.co.us

Title Application

Application is made to the Department of Revenue.

All information contained on title application is required to be verified by a physical inspection by an agent of the DOR. Information includes: vehicle identification number; the vehicle’s make, model, type, year of manufacture; type of fuel used; and the odometer reading.

On a form provided by the DOR the applicant must also provide: owner’s name and address, the applicant’s source of title, as well as any mortgages or liens which exist on vehicle.

Application shall be verified by a statement signed by the applicant. The statement shall contain a written declaration that all information in the application is made under the penalties of perjury.


Title Transfer of Ownership

If a person other than a dealer sells or wishes to transfer their vehicle, the individual shall execute a formal transfer of vehicle. This transfer shall be affirmed by a statement signed by the person whose name is currently on the certificate of title of said vehicle.

Within 45 days, the purchaser or transferee shall present certificate with application for a new certificate of title to the DOR.


Titles for Mobile Homes

Certificates of title on mobile homes shall be signed by the director of the DOR. The title shall contain: the manufacturer and model of the mobile home, the date on which the home was first sold to the initial owner, a serial number, and a description of the home for identification purposes.

Registration Application

Every owner of a motor vehicle or trailer shall within 45 days of purchase obtain a registration.

Application shall be in writing and signed by the owner.

The application shall include: applicant’s name, the name and correct address of owner, and a description of the vehicle. The description of the vehicle includes: the vehicle identification number, make, model, type, year of manufacture, body color, type of fuel used, and odometer reading.

There is a 30 day grace period for late registration.


Registration for Non-Residents

Non-resident must register vehicle within 90 days of becoming a resident or becoming gainfully employed in the state. There is a supplemental unregistered vehicle surcharge of $25.00 per month that begins after the initial 90 days.

Non-resident military personnel on duty may retain the current vehicle registration from another state.


Registration Type

Motor vehicles are to be registered periodically. Vehicles may be registered for a 1year interval or a 2-year interval.


Emissions Inspection

Emissions testing of gas- and diesel-powered vehicles is required when registering, re-registering, or selling vehicles in the following counties known as the Enhanced Areas: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, and Jefferson. Testing is also required in Weld, Larimer, and Pitkin counties, known as the Basic Area.

In the enhanced emissions program areas, no motor vehicle that is required to be registered shall be sold or registered for the first time without a certificate of emissions compliance, or registered unless such vehicle passed a clean screen test.

Otherwise, vehicles are currently exempt from the emission inspection for the first 7 model years, after which vehicles are inspected on a biennial basis.

OBD is utilized as part of the state emissions inspection process.

Visit the Colorado Department of Revenue for more information on the Division of Motor Vehicles Emissions Program.


Safety Inspection

No periodic statewide safety inspection requirement. Uniformed police officers at any time, upon reasonable cause, may require the driver of a vehicle to stop and submit vehicle and its equipment to an inspection.


Title and Registration Fees

AUTOMOBILE

Title Fee: $7.20

Registration Fee: Based upon the weight, taxable value, purchase date, and type of plate requested.

MOTORCYCLE

Title Fee: $7.20

Registration Fee: Based upon the weight, taxable value, purchase date, and type of plate requested.

DUPLICATES

Plate Fee: Varies

Registration Fee: $2.20

Driver’s License Fee: $7.50 for the 1st; $14.00 for 2 or more

Title Fee: $8.50

Special Plates: Varies

Plate Disbursement

License plates are distributed with registration of vehicle. Two plates are ordinarily issued. Plates are validated with stickers.

Every license plate shall expire on the last day of the month at the end of each 12-month period.

The color scheme for license plates is white and green or green on white.

Special license plates for disabled drivers are available upon application with medical certificate and Colorado identification on driver’s license to clerk and recorder of county in which the applicant resides, except in Denver where obtained from the Denver Motor Vehicle Department.

Transfer of Plates

If vehicle is bought or sold there is no transfer of plates between the 2 different owners.

Tags may be transferred between vehicles of the same owner, after paying a $1 transfer fee and submitting the appropriate paperwork.

Driver's License Examination

Required for every applicant of a driver’s or a minor’s license. Includes vision (a minimum of 20/40 acuity required), written, and behind-the-wheel tests.


Graduated Driver's Licensing

Colorado has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.

The learner’s permit eligibility is based on age and driver education.

  • At age 15, individuals may drive with a learner’s (instruction) permit if they have completed and passed the classroom portion of a state-approved driver education course within 6 months of applying for their permit and they are accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or driving instructor.
  • Individuals 15 1/2 years of age may drive with a learner’s permit if they are supervised by a parent, legal guardian, or driving instructor and have completed a 4-hour driver awareness course.

At age 16, individuals who choose not to enroll in any formal driver’s education course may drive with a learner’s permit.

Learner’s permit holders must hold the permit for 1 year and log at least 50 hours of supervised driving time (with 10 hours of night driving) before applying for a restricted license.

  • If there is no approved driving school within 30 miles of the permit holder’s residence, a learner’s permit holder between 15 and 15 1/2 years of age may alternatively complete either 6 hours of behind the wheel instruction or 12 hours parental supervised training.
  • During the restricted or intermediate license phase, licensees may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m. for the first year of licensure unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (secondarily enforced). Travel between the individual’s place of employment, education, or residence is exempt with a signed statement.
  • Drivers with intermediate licenses may not have any passengers under 21 years of age for the first 6 months of licensure, and only 1 non-family passenger under 21 during next 6 months of licensure (secondarily enforced).

At age 17, drivers are eligible for an unrestricted license.


Driver's License Issuance/Application

Driver’s license is required before driving a motor vehicle in the state.

Driver shall have his or her license in immediate possession when operating a motor vehicle.

Non-residents are exempt from license requirement if they have in their possession a valid driver’s license from their state of residence.

Licenses shall include the licensee’s photograph, distinguishing number (may be social security number), full name, date of birth, residence, brief description, type or class of vehicles that licensee may drive, any restrictions, expiration date, official seal, and licensee’s signature.

No person under the age of 18 shall operate a motor vehicle used to transport explosives or inflammable material or any motor vehicle used as a school bus for the transportation of pupils to or from school. No person under the age of 18 shall drive a motor vehicle used as a commercial, private, or common carrier of personal property unless such person is certified to drive such vehicle.

Applicants that submit, as proof of age or identity, a driver’s license or identification card issued by a state that issues licenses and identification cards to people not lawfully in the United States must submit additional proof of age and identity.


Driver's License Renewal

Driver’s license expires every 5 years on date of birth.

Eye test required on renewal.

A driver’s license is eligible for renewal by mail or electronically every other renewal period to those drivers at least 21 years and under 66 years of age, if the applicant can attest to having an eye exam within 6 months of the application.

If license has been suspended during the period of that license, written test is also required.

Military personnel and their dependents are entitled to one 3-year extension. This extension is free of charge.


Types of Driver's Licenses

Colorado issues a Driver’s license for operators age 21 and older, M class endorsements for motorcycle operators, and commercial Driver’s licenses.

Distracted Driving

Text messaging is prohibited for all drivers. Persons under 18 are prohibited from using a wireless telephone while driving.


Emergency Radio/Cellular

The citizen band radio channel 9 is monitored for emergency calls in some areas.

Emergency number is 911 or *CSP (*277).


Headsets

Wearing earphones is not permitted while driving. Exempts hearing devices built into protective headgear and headsets covering only one ear and used with a hand-held telephone.


Impaired Driving

All 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). All 50 states and the District of Columbia set the legal drinking age at 21.

Colorado law specifies that drivers with 5 nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their whole blood can be prosecuted for driving under the influence.

Every state’s chemical test law has ‘‘an implied consent’’ provision providing that any person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, who is suspected of driving while intoxicated, consents to a chemical test to determine if he or she is inebriated. Failure to submit or pass such a test may cause the driver’s license to be suspended or revoked regardless of any court action finding the person innocent of the charge.

The most comprehensive resource on U.S. impaired driving laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Digest of Impaired Driving and Selected Beverage Control Laws.  NHTSA’s Digest is updated annually.

Colorado requires the use of ignition interlocks for all impaired driving offenders.


Move Over Law

State law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles that are displaying flashing lights, including tow trucks, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest, if safe and possible to do so, or to reduce to a speed safe for weather, road, and traffic conditions.


Seat Belts

Seats belts are required for the driver and front seat passengers age 16 and older.

Violation of the seat belt law is a secondary offense.

Riding in a pickup truck bed is not permitted unless a person is seated in an enclosed cargo area.


Child Passenger Safety

Children ages 8 until 16 must wear seat belts.

Children under age 8 must use a forward facing car seat or booster seat

Children under age 4 and less than 40 lbs., shall be properly restrained in a child restraint system.

Children under age 1 and under 20 lbs. shall use a rear-facing child restraint system.

Violation of the booster seat and the child restraint law are standard offenses.


Railroad Crossing

Any driver of a motor vehicle approaching a railroad crossing sign shall slow down to a reasonable speed.

If required to stop, driver shall stop at the marked stop line. If there is no line, driver shall stop no less than 15 feet nor more than 50 feet from the railroad crossing.

The driver of a school bus, or the driver of any vehicle carrying hazardous materials, is required to stop vehicle, listen, and look before proceeding across railroad tracks.


School Buses

Upon meeting or overtaking from either direction a school bus that has stopped, a motor vehicle driver must stop at least 20 feet before reaching the bus and not proceed until the visual signal lights are no longer being used.

Bumper Height

Modification of original vehicle bumper height is permitted.


Headlight Use

Headlights are required to be on between sunset and sunrise, and when visibility is less than 1000 feet.


Hazard Light Use

Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except if the vehicle speed is 25 mph or less.


Tire Chains

Tire chain usage is permitted for hazardous weather or other related incidents only, but may not damage the highway surface.


Studded Tires

Studded tires are permitted.


Glass/Window Tinting

The windshield shall allow no less than 70% light transmission.

The windows to the side of the driver may be tinted to allow a minimum of 27% light transmittance.

The windows to the rear of the driver, including the rear window, may be tinted less than 27% if the front side windows and the windshield shall allow 70% light transmittance.


Telematics

Prohibits driving a vehicle equipped with a video display visible to the driver while the motor vehicle is in motion. Computer, data terminal, safety equipment is exempt as long as they are not used to display visual entertainment, including internet browsing, social media, and e-mail, to the driver while the motor vehicle is in motion.


Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are permitted for passenger vehicles but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles.


Windshield Stickers

Stickers may be affixed to the top most portion of the windshield if the bottom edge of the material extends no more than 4 inches from the top of the windshield down, the material is not red or amber in color, the material does not reflect sunlight or headlight glare into the eyes of any other drivers and the material is not metallic or mirrored in appearance.


Other Equipment Rules

N/A.

Motorcycle Equipment

Every motorized bicycle shall be equipped with a lamp on the front, which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet from the front, and a red reflector in the rear.

Riders under 18 and passengers under 18 must wear safety helmets.

Any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, shall be equipped with footrests for such passengers.

Any driver or passenger on a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle on any public highway shall wear goggles or eyeglasses with lenses made of safety glass or plastic.


Motorcycle Licenses

Motorcycle operators must have a driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement. In order to obtain a motorcycle endorsement, a driver must have a valid driver’s license and either 1) pass the motorcycle written exam, purchase a motorcycle instruction permit, and schedule and pass a motorcycle drive skills test, or 2) complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course.

Any operator of a motorized bicycle shall possess a valid Driver’s license.


Motorcycle Noise Limits

Motorcycles manufactured on or after July 1, 1971 and before January 1, 1973 may not exceed a noise level of 88 decibels measured at a distance of 50 feet from the center of the lane of travel.

Motorcycles manufactured on or after January 1, 1973 may not exceed a noise level of 86 decibels measured at a distance of 50 feet from the center of the lane of travel.

These noise restrictions are not applicable for vehicles designed exclusively for racing purposes.


Mopeds & Other

Registration is required.

Minimum age is 16.

The following safety equipment is required: headlight, horn, brakes, red rear reflector, and rear-view mirror.

Trailer Dimensions

Total length: 75 feet (excluding safety equipment and extension devices used for loading beyond the front or rear ends, used in combination for transporting automobiles and boats); trailer length: 45 feet; motor home length: 45 feet; width: 8 feet 6 inches (excluding RV appurtenances up to 6 inches); height: 13 feet (14 feet 6 inches on designated roads)(14 feet 6 inches on all roads effective August 10, 2016).


Trailer Brakes

Every trailer or semitrailer of a gross weight of 3,000 lbs. or more shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold such vehicle. Brakes shall also be designed and connected that in case of an accidental breakaway of the towed vehicle, the brakes shall automatically apply.


Trailer Hitch/Signals

Safety chain required. No limitations on hitch except the connections between vehicles must be of sufficient strength to pull all weight being towed.


Trailer Lighting

Every trailer shall be equipped with at least 1 tail lamp mounted in the rear. Lamp shall emit red light plainly visible from a distance of 500 feet from the rear. Tail lamps shall be located at a height of not more than 72 inches nor less than 20 inches.


Trailer Mirrors

Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a mirror or mirrors so located as to reflect to the driver a free and unobstructed view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet.


Trailer Speed Limits

Same as passenger cars.


Trailer Towing

N/A.


Trailer Other Provisions

Riding in trailers is prohibited.

Accident Reporting

An accident report is required in any crash resulting in death, injury, or any property damage.

The report must be filed within 10 days.


Bail Bonds

County sheriff policy determines recognition of AAA arrest bond certificates up to $200, with specified exceptions.


Liability Laws

Colorado has a fault-based or tort system of insurance. Sale and purchase mandatory. Motorists required to carry evidence of insurance at all times. Minimum amount of coverage required: $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury and $15,000 per accident for property.


Weigh Stations

Every owner or operator of a motor vehicle having a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of over 26,000 lbs. shall secure a valid clearance from an office of the DOR, from an officer of the Colorado State Patrol, or from a port of entry weigh station before operating such vehicle or combination of vehicles in the state.


Bicycles

Bicycle helmets are not required.

Drivers passing a bicycle must pass with a space of 3 feet between the motor vehicle and the bicycle.


Other

Colorado is party to the Non-Resident Violator Compact.