(1) (a) Within sixty days after purchase, every owner of a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or vehicle that is primarily designed to be operated or drawn upon any highway of this state or any owner of a trailer coach or of special mobile machinery whether or not it is operated on the highways, shall register such vehicle with the department. A person who violates this subsection (1) commits a class B traffic infraction.
(b) This subsection (1) does not apply to the following:
(I) A bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or other human-powered vehicle;
(II) Vehicles specifically exempted by section 42-3-104; and
(III) Any vehicle whose owner is permitted to operate it under provisions of this article concerning lienholders, manufacturers, dealers, nonresidents, and fleet owners.
(c) A person who violates this subsection (1) two or more times in five years commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.
(2) An owner of a foreign vehicle operated within this state for the transportation of persons or property for compensation or for the transportation of merchandise shall register such vehicle and pay the same fees and tax required by this article with reference to like vehicles. This provision shall not be construed to require registration or reregistration in this state of any motor vehicle, truck, bus, trailer, semitrailer, or trailer coach that is used in interstate commerce, but registration or reregistration shall be required in accordance with or to the extent that reciprocity exists between the state of Colorado and a foreign country or another state, territory, or possession of the United States.
(3) Every nonresident person who operates a business within this state and owns and operates in such business any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or trailer coach within this state shall be required to register each such vehicle and pay the same fees and tax therefor as are required with reference to like vehicles owned by residents of this state. This provision shall not be construed to require registration or reregistration in this state of any motor vehicle, trailer, or trailer coach that is used in interstate commerce, but registration or reregistration shall be required in accordance with or to the extent that reciprocity exists between the state of Colorado and a foreign country or another state, territory, or possession of the United States.
(4) (a) Within ninety days after becoming a resident of Colorado, an owner of a motor vehicle required to be registered by subsection (1) of this section shall register such vehicle with the department, irrespective of such vehicle being registered within another state or country. A person who violates this paragraph (a) is subject to the penalties provided in sections 42-6-139 and 43-4-804 (1)(d), C.R.S.
(b) Within forty-five days after the owner has returned to the United States, the provisions of this title relative to the registration of motor vehicles and the display of number plates shall not apply to motor vehicles registered with and displaying plates issued by the armed forces of the United States in foreign countries for vehicles owned by military personnel.
(c) (I) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this subsection (4) and section 42-1-102 (62) and (81), a nonresident shall be exempt from registering a motor vehicle owned by such person if the motor vehicle is a private passenger vehicle weighing less than sixty-five hundred pounds and the person is:
(A) A nonresident, gainfully employed within the boundaries of this state, who uses a motor vehicle in commuting daily from such person's home in another state to and from such person's place of employment within this state; or
(B) A nonresident student who is enrolled in a full-time course of study at an institution of higher education located within this state, if the motor vehicle owned by such person displays a valid nonresident student identification tag issued by the institution where the student is enrolled.
(II) Any person who is exempt from the provisions of this title concerning the registration of a motor vehicle pursuant to this paragraph (c) shall comply with the applicable provisions of the motor vehicle registration laws of such person's state of residence.
(III) This paragraph (c) shall apply only if the state in which the owner resides extends the same privileges to Colorado residents gainfully employed or enrolled in an institution of higher education within the boundaries of that state.
(5) The provisions of this title concerning the registration of motor vehicles and the display of number plates or of other identification shall not apply to manufactured homes.
Source: L. 2005: Entire article amended with relocations, p. 1073, 2, effective August 8. L. 2007: (1)(c) added, p. 1597, 1, effective July 1. L. 2009: (4)(a) amended, (SB 09-108), ch. 5, p. 50, 6, effective March 2; (1)(b)(I) amended, (HB 09-1026), ch. 281, p. 1266, 26, effective October 1. L. 2010: (1)(a) amended, (HB 10-1172), ch. 320, p. 1487, 3, effective October 1. L. 2017: IP(1)(b) and (1)(b)(I) amended, (HB 17-1151), ch. 98, p. 296, 2, effective August 9.
Editor's note: Section 137 of Senate Bill 09-292 changed the effective date of subsection (1)(b)(I) from July 1, 2010, to October 1, 2009.
Cross references: For the penalty for a class B traffic infraction, see 42-4-1701 (3)(a)(I).
Annotator's note. Since 42-3-103 is similar to 42-3-103 as it existed prior to the 2005 amendment to article 3 of title 42, which resulted in the relocation of provisions, relevant cases construing that provision and its predecessors have been included in the annotations to this section.
The requirements of this section relate to revenue rather than safety, and a violation of its terms by failing to register the motor vehicle does not confer any additional rights upon one who is damaged by its operation unless there is some causal connection between the law violation and the injury of which complaint is made. Carlson v. District Court, 116 Colo. 330, 180 P.2d 525 (1947).
One riding in unregistered automobile is a trespasser. Under this section one riding in an automobile which has not been registered is a trespasser on the streets, and a city owes such a person no duty to keep the streets in a reasonable safe condition. City of La Junta v. Dudley, 82 Colo. 354, 260 P. 96 (1927).
This article requires that trailer coaches and mobile homes be registered, taxed, and licensed in the same manner as automobiles. State ex rel. Dept. of Rev. v. Modern Trailer Sales, Inc., 175 Colo. 296, 486 P.2d 1064 (1971) (decided prior to 1977 addition of subsection (5)).
Effect of failure of former nonresident to register. A former nonresident who has failed to register as required by this section does not for that reason remain a nonresident for the purpose of service of process. Carlson v. District Court, 116 Colo. 330, 180 P.2d 525 (1947).
Trucking company was an interstate carrier and was legally accountable for the fees and taxes incurred by such vehicles in Colorado, for purposes of determining whether it could challenge the constitutionality of a statute that increased motor vehicle carrier registration fees, because it was the owner of motor vehicles operated in interstate commerce during the relevant time period, even though it was a lessor and not the actual operator of the trucks in question. Riverton Produce Co. v. State, 871 P.2d 1213 (Colo. 1994).