One in Four Arrested for DUI in Colorado Didn’t Have Valid Driver’s License

One of every four motorists cited for drinking and driving in Colorado over the past two years was driving at the time without a valid license because it had been revoked, suspended or never issued.

And more than one-fifth of that number without licenses had lost their driving privileges for a prior drunken driving conviction.

In one notorious Aurora case, Ever Olivos-Gutierrez, 40, allegedly driving drunk, ran a red light and smashed into a car being driven by Juan Carlos Dominquez-Palomino, 17, killing him two months before he was to graduate from high school.

Olivos-Gutierrez had never had a Colorado driver’s license and had been cited for two previous DUIs when he was involved in the deadly March 24 crash.

That same day, 10 other drivers across Colorado were cited for drinking while driving without a valid license. Five of them – from Pueblo to Colorado Springs to Mesa County – had lost their licenses for prior DUIs.

Family members and friends, including Luzelena Sanchez, right, cousin of Juan Carlos Dominguez-Palomino, hold photos of Dominguez-Palomino during an advisement hearing for Ever Olivos-Gutierrez at the Arapahoe County Courthouse in Centennial, Colo., on Monday, March 31, 2014. Olivos-Gutierrez is accused of driving drunk and killing 17-year-old Dominguez-Palomino.(Kathryn Scott Osler The Denver Post)
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Rocky Mountain PBS I-News analyzed electronic court records of 45,637 DUIs issued in Colorado from April 2012 through April 2014.

The analysis did not include Denver County Court, where court officials said they could not determine how many of the 13,200 motorists charged with drinking and driving over the two years had no valid driver’s license at the time.

The analysis found:

  • One-fourth or 10,978 of the 45,637 driving while intoxicated or impaired citations were issued to drivers who had previously had their licenses suspended, restrained or did not have a license. That’s an average of 15 a day, without including Denver.
  • At least 2,294 of those drivers, or three a day, had lost their driving privileges for a prior driving and drinking arrest.
  • More than 250 separate law enforcement agencies in the state had stopped at least one driver for drinking and driving without a license.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck said the number of motorists driving without licenses is so pervasive that it overwhelms the justice system.

“The court takes it seriously, the prosecutors take it seriously, the police take it seriously, but we don’t have enough resources to be able to punish somebody appropriately when they’re driving without a license,” Buck told 9News.

In the March 24 fatality, Aurora police arrived on the scene at East Colfax Avenue and Dayton Street and found the alleged assailant, Olivos-Gutierrez, in his car without a driver’s license.
The driving drunk without a license scenario was repeated more than once a day over the past two years for a total of 1,141 times in Colorado’s third largest city.

Portrait of Juan Carlos Dominguez-Palomino near amid candles and flowers at the scene of his death.

Whitney Wild / 9News, KUSA-TV

Portrait of Juan Carlos Dominguez-Palomino near amid candles and flowers at the scene of his death. KUSA-TV

When police looked up Olivos-Gutierrez’s record, they found he had been cited for two prior DUIs. It happened that 211 other drivers arrested for DUI in Aurora during the two years had at least one prior DUI conviction. Olivos-Gutierrez now faces first degree murder charges in connection with the fatal crash.

Aurora is not unique in dealing with the problem.

Thirty law enforcement agencies in Colorado have issued at least 100 DUI citations each to motorists with no license over the past two years.

Fran Lanzer, executive director of the Colorado MADD office, said part of the problem is that cars are such an integral part of people’s lives.

“We live in a society where people need to drive regardless of whether they are on a suspended license,” Lanzer said. “You still have to go to work. You have to pick up the kids.”

Buck said the justice system is also hamstrung because both DUI charges and driving without a valid license are misdemeanors.

“I think the most important thing from a story like this is that there are people that flagrantly abuse our laws and we need a stiff remedy for these people – a harsher sanction against them,” he said.

The legislature turned down a proposed bill earlier this year to make a third DUI a felony, a reform that Buck and Lanzer said would help combat the problem.

Lanzer said officials hope a new state law passed last year that went into effect in January will cut down on DUI driving, especially for motorists who lost their licenses for a prior drinking and driving offense.

The law allows first-time offenders to regain their licenses after 30 days if they use an ignition interlock device to prevent them from starting their cars if they have been drinking.

Previously, DUI offenders had to wait a year without a license before they could use the device.

“We know people continue to drive anyway, so we prefer them to drive with an ignition interlock in their car,” Lanzer said.

The analysis also showed the percentage of DUIs given to motorists with no valid license varied by jurisdiction.

Among large jurisdictions, 36 percent of DUIs issued by Pueblo, 34 percent by the Adams County sheriff, and 32 percent by Greeley police went to drivers without licenses. The lowest rates were 13 percent by Boulder police, 14 percent by the Boulder County sheriff, 15 percent by Durango police and 17 percent by Fort Collins police.

Whitney Wild of 9News contributed to this report.

Police agencyNumber of DUIsNumber with no valid licensePercent of motorists with no valid license issued DUIDUIS with no valid license because of prior DUI
Aurora Police Dept3626114131.50%211
CO Springs Police Dept281884129.80%206
Adams County Sheriff Dept134946434.40%105
Larimer County Sheriff Dept131322617.20%26
Boulder Police Dept108913812.70%25
CSP Troop 2B Colorado Springs104224223.20%80
CSP Troop 1C Castle Rock96617017.60%35
Lakewood Police Dept96525526.40%62
Thornton Police Dept87622225.30%46
Ft Collins Police Dept84314317.00%15
CSP Troop 1D Commerce City79126333.20%63
Westminster Police Dept78520926.60%61
CSP Dist Six Golden Troop 6A75813117.30%31
Greeley Police Dept72623332.10%82
Pueblo Police Dept71025736.20%80
Grand Junction Police Dept67414020.80%43
Douglas County Sheriff Dept6529915.20%14
Loveland Police Dept64712519.30%16
Boulder County Sheriff Dept6018213.60%18
Jefferson Cnty Sheriff Dept59810517.60%24
Arvada Police Dept57511019.10%15
Englewood Police Dept56612622.30%8
CSP Troop 4C Glenwood Springs56011420.40%18
Northglenn Police Dept51613225.60%7
Longmont Police Dept50316132.00%24
El Paso County Sheriff Dept4809820.40%37
Durango Police Dept4797215.00%15
CSP Troop 3A Greeley46811725.00%17
Broomfield County Sheriff Dept4508619.10%28
CSP for 7th Jud District44511926.70%38
CSP Grand Junction Troop 4A43310123.30%27
Weld County Sheriff Dept42315235.90%30
Commerce City Police Dept41713933.30%42
CSP Troop 2D41111728.50%27
CO State University PD3864511.70%5
CSP Craig Troop 4B3406820.00%10
Centennial Police Dept3405616.50%5
Brighton Police Dept33711835.00%34
CSP Troop 3C Loveland3357522.40%16
Arapahoe County Sheriff Dept3307723.30%7
Glenwood Springs Police Dept3297823.70%10
Wheat Ridge Police Dept3196420.10%8
Littleton Police Dept3186319.80%12
Greenwood Village Police Dept3154714.90%9
CSP for 6th and 22nd Jud Dist3077624.80%19
Pueblo County Sheriff Dept2876121.30%12
Parker Police Dept2864816.80%4
CSP for 12th Jud District2858028.10%26
Mesa County Sheriff Dept2838329.30%24
Castle Rock Police Dept2694516.70%6
CSP Troop 2C Lamar2626826.00%14
LoneTree Police Department2572810.90%3
CSP District 6 Broomfield2443213.10%5
Lafayette Police Dept2365623.70%11
CSP Troop 2A Pueblo2314921.20%15
CSP Dist 6 Idaho Springs2202310.50%4
Montrose Police Dept2195525.10%18
Steamboat Springs Police Dept2133215.00%1
Golden Police Dept2063014.60%7
Eagle Sheriff Dept2034924.10%11
Evans Police Dept2016331.30%15
Fountain Police Dept2004120.50%22
Cherryhills Police Dept1954020.50%0
Univ of CO Police1932714.00%1
Windsor Police Dept1813318.20%6
Alamosa Police Dept1804927.20%5
CSP Troop 3B Sterling1755129.10%12
Montezuma County Sheriff Dept1746336.20%21
Garfield County Sheriff Dept1676337.70%13
Avon Police Dept1644024.40%1
Estes Park Police Dept1602515.60%0
Teller County Sheriff Dept1572817.80%1
Frisco Police Dept1502013.30%4
Fort Morgan Police Dept1474832.70%7
Logan County Sheriff Dept1383021.70%6
Canon City Police Dept1372115.30%5
Sheridan Police Dept1324030.30%5
Park County Sheriffs Office1292116.30%5
Craig Police Dept1283124.20%13
Summit County Sheriff Dept1281713.30%2
Cortez Police Dept1225343.40%14
Sterling Police Dept1222318.90%6
Trinidad Police Dept1212823.10%5
Erie Police Dept1202823.30%7
Vail Police Dept1171613.70%3
Louisville Police Dept1161311.20%0
Fort Lupton Police Dept1114036.00%7
Rifle Police Dept1074037.40%13
Federal Heights Police Dept1003939.00%9
Delta Police Dept992222.20%7
Aspen Police Dept981111.20%3
La Plata County Sheriff Dept921718.50%2
Chaffee County Sheriff Dept891820.20%1
Delta County Sheriff Dept862023.30%4
Berthoud Police Dept851922.40%1
Carbondale Police Dept841922.60%3
Lake County Sheriff Dept812328.40%7
Woodland Park Police Dept8189.90%1
Winter Park/Fraser Police Dept801113.80%2
Elbert County Sheriff Dept792227.80%4
Fruita Police Dept772228.60%13
Frederick Police Dept771316.90%0
Edgewater Police Dept762330.30%2
Morgan County Sheriff Dept752634.70%5
Pagosa Springs Police Dept75912.00%1
Breckenridge Police Dept741520.30%1
Prowers County Sheriff Dept732432.90%5
Gilpin County Sheriff Dept73811.00%2
Pitkin County Sheriff7379.60%1
Clear Creek Sheriff Dept721419.40%0
Black Hawk Police Dept711014.10%2
Lamar Police Department702028.60%5
Monte Vista Police Dept691724.60%4
Firestone Police Dept691623.20%1
Brush Police Dept681014.70%2
Montrose County Sheriff Dept672131.30%3
Kit Carson Cnty Sheriff Dept631117.50%2
Manitou Springs Police Dept621117.70%1
Dacono Police Dept601118.30%1
Silverthorne Police Dept.601016.70%0
Salida Police Dept591728.80%1
Grand County Sheriff Dept581017.20%1
Gunnison Police Dept5758.80%0
La Junta Police Dept562544.60%5
Platteville Police Dept561730.40%0
Idaho Springs Police Dept561628.60%3
Alamosa Sheriff Dept551527.30%0
Monument Police Dept541018.50%2
Telluride Marshal5323.80%0
Fremont County Sheriff Dept521426.90%2
Rangely Police Dept511325.50%0
Routt County Sheriff Dept481735.40%2
Buena Vista Police Dept471327.70%2
LaSalle Police Dept47919.10%4
Columbine Valley Police Dept461021.70%2
Leadville Police Dept441738.60%4
CSP Troop 1A Limon44715.90%1
Morrison Police Dept4436.80%1
Johnstown Police Dept43818.60%1
Las Animas County Sheriff Dept421228.60%2
Otero County Sheriff Dept421126.20%6
Basalt Police Dept401640.00%3
San Miguel County Sheriff Dept39615.40%1
Mountain View Police Dept381744.70%6
Costilla County Sheriff Dept381231.60%0
Cripple Creek Police Dept37513.50%1
Rio Blanco County Sheriff Dept36925.00%2
Palmer Lake Police Department36719.40%2
Eagle Police Dept341029.40%2
Snowmass Village Police Dept34926.50%1
Bent County Sheriff Dept34823.50%1
Central City Police Dept33618.20%1
Archuleta County Sheriff Dept33412.10%0
Crested Butte Marshal3313.00%0
Florence Police Dept321340.60%2
Center Police Dept321237.50%2
Dillon Police Dept32825.00%2
Glendale Police Dept32515.60%0
Burlington Police Dept311238.70%0
Moffat County Sheriff Dept31825.80%2
Walsenburg Police Dept28932.10%0
Rio Grande County Sheriff Dept26934.60%1
Del Norte Police Dept26623.10%0
Yuma Police Dept25936.00%0
Milliken Police Dept25624.00%1
Ault Police Dept25520.00%0
Eaton Police Dept24833.30%1
Washington County Sheriff Dept24416.70%1
Palisade Police Dept24416.70%0
Sagauche County Sheriff Dept23834.80%1
Gunnison County Sheriff Dept23730.40%0
Univ CO at CO Springs2328.70%2
Mt. Crested Butte Police Dept2314.30%0
Custer County Sheriff Dept22940.90%2
Elizabeth Police Dept22418.20%1
Limon Police Dept21628.60%1
Lochbuie Police Dept19421.10%0
Sedgwick County Sheriff Dept1915.30%0
Rocky Ford Police Dept17847.10%1
Baca County Sheriff Dept1715.90%0
Paonia Police Dept16743.80%2
Kremmling Police Dept16743.80%1
Granby Police Department16743.80%3
Parachute Police Dept16425.00%2
Ouray Sheriff Dept16425.00%0
Huerfano County Sheriff Dept15746.70%0
New Castle Police Dept15426.70%1
Kersey Police Dept1516.70%0
Jackson Cnty Sheriff Dept1516.70%0
Ft Lewis St College Security1516.70%0
Kiowa County Sheriff Dept14428.60%0
Univ of Northern CO PD14214.30%0
Yuma County Sheriff Dept13646.20%0
Fowler Police Dept13323.10%0
Dolores County Sheriff Dept13323.10%1
Fairplay Police Dept13215.40%1
Montrose County sheriff-Nucla12541.70%1
Cheyenne Cnty Sheriff11218.20%0
Campo Police Department10330.00%1
Bayfield Police Dept10330.00%0
Wray Police Dept10220.00%0
Phillips County Sheriff Dept10220.00%1
Springfield Police Dept9555.60%0
Lincoln County Sheriff Dept9333.30%0
Ridgway Marshall's Office9222.20%1
Olathe Police Dept8562.50%0
Lakeside Police Dept8337.50%1
Holyoke Police Dept7342.90%1
Georgetown Police Dept7342.90%0
Silt Police Dept7228.60%1
Hotchkiss Police Dept7114.30%1
Calhan Town Marshal6233.30%1
San Juan County Sheriff Dept6116.70%1
Ouray Police Dept4125.00%0

2 thoughts on “One in Four Arrested for DUI in Colorado Didn’t Have Valid Driver’s License

  1. I would like to see thevehicals impounded for 30 days on first offence with them paying impound and tow fees. Second offence same as first but impound car till they can legally obtain a drivers license and paybthe impound fees. Third offence car is siezed and sold to help recover the costof there jail term for there 3rd DUI. Ifthey continue thispattern they should be subject to extended prision terms and be put on an anabuse medication.

  2. Denver “doesn’t know” how many DUI-charged were driving without a valid license.
    I believe they do know that number is horrifyingly high.

    Driving without license, driving without insurance, DUI’s, Hit-and-Runs…. All are increasingly problematic.The law-abiding pay for the lapses of law.

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