The People appeal from that part of a judgment of the Adams County District Court dismissing a charge against Herman Revello, Jr. (defendant), of driving after revocation prohibited in violation of section 42-2-206, 17 C.R.S. (1984). The district court dismissed the charge on the basis that section 42-2-205(1)(b), 17 C.R.S. (1984), which governed the duration of the period of revocation of the defendant's driver's license, is unconstitutionally vague on its face. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.
The Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division (Department), issued an order effective August 15, 1978, revoking the defendant's driving privileges for a period of five years based upon the determination that he was an habitual traffic offender.
The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the charge of driving after revocation prohibited. Following a hearing on the motion, the district court dismissed that charge on the basis that section 42-2-205, 17 C.R.S. (1984), which purports to extend the five year period of revocation of a driver's license until certain requirements are met, is unconstitutionally vague on its face. Specifically, the district court found that the phrase "[u]ntil such time as financial responsibility requirements are met" as used in section 42-2-205(1)(b) is unconstitutionally vague in that a defendant would have to guess as to the nature of those financial responsibility requirements. Therefore, the court ruled, there was "no way for the People to prove that the defendant did not have insurance as is required under the statutory financial responsibility law." The case proceeded to jury trial on the other two charges, and the defendant was convicted of both. The People then brought this appeal from that part of the judgment dismissing the charge of driving after revocation prohibited.
Section 42-2-206(1) provides in relevant part:
Section 42-2-205, 17 C.R.S. (1984), defines the period of revocation of the driving privileges of habitual traffic offenders for purposes of section 42-2-206. See People v. Purvis, 735 P.2d 492 (Colo.1987). Section 42-2-205 provides:
The issue before us is whether the phrase "[u]ntil such time as financial responsibility requirements are met" cannot operate to extend the five year period of revocation because the phrase is unconstitutionally vague. If the extension provision of section 42-2-205(1)(b) is void for vagueness, the period of revocation of the defendant's driver's license ended before the April 5, 1984, driving incident upon which the charge against him was based, thus prohibiting the People from prosecuting the defendant under section 42-2-206.
Statutes are presumed to be constitutional, and the party attacking the constitutionality of a statute has the burden of proving it unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt. People v. Randall, 711 P.2d 689, 691 (Colo.1985); People v. Schoondermark, 699 P.2d 411, 415 (Colo. 1985). In People v. Schoondermark, we set forth the standards applicable to a void for vagueness challenge to a statute:
People v. Schoondermark, 699 P.2d at 415-16 (citations omitted).
"The vagueness test is not an exercise in semantics to emasculate legislation; rather, it is a pragmatic test to ensure fairness." People v. Sequin, 199 Colo. 381, 388, 609 P.2d 622, 627 (1980). Therefore,
Exotic Coins, Inc. v. Beacom, 699 P.2d 930, 943-44 (Colo.) (citations omitted), appeal dismissed, ___ U.S. ___, 106 S.Ct. 214, 88 L.Ed.2d 214 (1985). See People v. Randall, 711 P.2d at 692. In addition to these rules that guide our inquiry into constitutional sufficiency, we also look to the policies underlying the statute in order to resolve any "possible ambiguity in a manner fully consistent with the natural meaning of the language of the statute." People v. Sequin, 199 Colo. at 386, 609 P.2d at 625. With these principles in mind, we turn now to the defendant's argument that section 42-2-205(1)(b) is unconstitutionally vague.
The defendant contends specifically that section 42-2-205(1)(b) is unconstitutionally vague because the term "financial responsibility requirements" is not defined in that part of Title 42 of the Colorado Revised Statutes dealing with habitual traffic offenders, sections 42-2-201 through -208, 17 C.R.S. (1984). Therefore, the defendant argues, a person of common intelligence must necessarily guess as to what those requirements are and how they are to be met.
While the term "financial responsibility requirements" is not defined in that portion of Title 42 dealing with habitual traffic offenders, other portions of Title 42 explain what is meant by those words. In particular, the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act, sections 42-7-101 through -510, 17 C.R.S. (1984 & 1986 Supp.), provides a detailed guide for determining the nature of financial responsibility requirements in various contexts and how those requirements can be satisfied.
The starting point for our analysis is section 42-7-406, 17 C.R.S. (1984). That statute provides:
(Emphasis added.) "Proof of financial responsibility" is defined in section 42-7-408, 17 C.R.S. (1984):
The defendant acknowledges these statutes but argues that they do not apply to habitual traffic offenders because they make no cross-reference to any of the habitual traffic offender statutes. We disagree with the defendant's argument.
Section 42-7-406(1) applies to situations in which an individual's license has been revoked because of the danger or risk that the individual represents as a driver. The license of an habitual traffic offender is revoked for precisely the same policy reasons. See § 42-2-201, 17 C.R.S. (1984). The legislature intended to require individuals who have had their licenses revoked because of the threat they present to the safety of others using our state's roadways to comply with the requirements set forth in section 42-7-408. Our reading of sections 42-2-205 and 42-7-406 convinces us that the legislature therefore had in mind section 42-7-406 and its companion provisions, including section 42-7-408, when it provided in section 42-2-205 that a person whose license was revoked because of his status as an habitual traffic offender should be required to meet "financial responsibility requirements" in order to have his driving privileges reinstated. Only a common sense reading of the statutes is necessary to reach that conclusion.
The defendant contends, however, that section 42-7-406 was not intended to apply to section 42-2-205(1)(b) because section 42-2-205(1)(b) uses the term "financial responsibility requirements" while section 42-7-406 uses the term "proof of financial responsibility." We cannot ascribe such great significance to the lack of perfect congruence in the language employed in the two statutes. The two terms are sufficiently similar that a person of common intelligence would determine that they refer to the same responsibilities.
In light of the policies served by these statutes, the intent reflected by the overall legislative scheme, and the fact that mathematical certainty in the drafting of statutes is not required, we hold that section 42-7-406 and its companion provisions give definition to the financial responsibility requirements applicable to a person whose license has been revoked pursuant to the habitual traffic offender statutes. Such individuals may not be issued a license to drive in this state unless they: (1) provide proof of liability insurance; (2) provide proof that a bond has been executed;
In summary, we believe that the intent of the legislature is sufficiently clear and we are persuaded that persons of common intelligence can discern what the financial responsibility requirements of section 42-2-205(1)(b) are and how they can be satisfied. The defendant thus received fair warning of the proscribed conduct. That part of the judgment of the district court dismissing the charge of driving after revocation prohibited is reversed and the case is remanded to the district court for reinstatement of that charge.