Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado

Colorado reached an agreement with the tribe that will allow the state to suspend the driver’s licenses of tribal members caught drinking and driving on the reservation. Any tribal member who violates DUI laws anywhere on the reservation will have reservation driving privileges revoked, a release from Gov. Bill Owens’ office. The tribe will report the violation to the State Department of Revenue, which will revoke the Colorado license The release said the agreement resolves a dispute as to whether the state can revoke the Colorado license of a tribal member for a DUI in Ignacio, which is a political subdivision of the state but is surrounded by the reservation, which is a sovereign nation. However, a bill which would clarify the state’s authority to do that is making its way through the Legislature. It was drafted to solve a loophole in tribal law that allowed numerous American Indians to successfully challenge revocation of their licenses after they were arrested for driving under the influence on the reservation. “The agreement represents a cooperative solution to a potentially divisive and costly problem,” Tribal Chairman Leonard Burch wrote in a letter read to the House Transportation and Energy Committee March 1.


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Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado