A driver displaying Lyft and Uber stickers on his front windshield
Richard Vogel, The Associated Press
In this Jan. 12, 2016, file photo, a driver displaying Lyft and Uber stickers on his front windshield drops off a customer in downtown Los Angeles.

Uber wants its day in court to fight an $8.9 million civil penalty that Colorado regulators fined the ride sharing service for allegedly violating local laws and allowing people with past criminal offenses to drive for the company.

The company, also known as Raiser, filed its request Thursday afternoon with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission asking for a hearing to contest the violations. Uber had until Thursday to request a hearing or pay half of the $8.9 million fine.

The case is now being referred to an administrative law judge to set a hearing date, said Terry Bote, the PUC’s spokesman.

An Uber spokesperson responded saying, “We will continue to work closely with the CPUC on a resolution through the administrative process.”

The PUC fined Uber on Nov. 20, saying it had discovered at least 57 people with past criminal or motor vehicle offenses that were driving for the company. The issues ranged from felony convictions to driving under the influence and reckless driving. Others were driving even though their licenses were revoked, suspended or canceled, the PUC said. The drivers should have been disqualified, according to state law.

According to PUC rules that went into effect in January 2016, drivers are disqualified if they’ve been convicted of a felony in the past five years. They can never drive if they’ve been convicted of serious felonies including assault, fraud, unlawful sexual behavior and violent crimes, according to the statute.

But as part of the PUC rules, it’s up to Uber to do background checks. PUC director Doug Dean, who previously pushed for FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation background checks, said his team cross-checked 107 Uber drivers and found the multiple violations.

Among the findings, the state said 12 drivers had felony convictions, 17 had major moving violations, 63 had driver’s license issues and three had interlock driver’s licenses, which is required after a recent drunken driving conviction

A similar investigation of smaller competitor Lyft found no violations.

“These actions put the safety of passengers in extreme jeopardy,” Dean said at the time.

Updated at 7:31 a.m. Dec. 1 with a response from Uber.

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