Going from one place to another in Texas is no easy task without a driver’s license—especially in areas like Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston and Montgomery Counties. Drivers in Texas can have their license suspended for many different reasons. The most common reasons that licenses get suspended are for traffic violations and getting arrest for driving while intoxicated (DWI) because of alcohol or drugs. The Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas courts have the authority to suspend or cancel a driver license based on convictions for these offense and others—including possession of drugs, vandalism and failing to pay for traffic tickets.
REASONS FOR A TEXAS DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION
Having your driver’s license suspended, canceled or revoked means that you can no longer legally drive a motor vehicle. The privilege can be discontinued for a specific period of time, or worse, indefinitely. Your Texas driver’s license can be suspended if you have accumulated a
specific number of moving violations within a 12-to-24-month period (i.e., habitual offender), if you have a DWI conviction, if you cause a traffic accident while uninsured, or if you are
responsible for any traffic accident that causes bodily injury or death. Further, your license can be suspended for certain other reasons such as having past due child support payments, refused or failed a breath/blood alcohol concentration test, or if you are under the age of 21 and
are caught buying, consuming, or in possession of alcohol.
The Texas Medical Advisory Board (MAB) can also revoke your license for medical reasons. This type of revocation can occur because of conditions like epilepsy, but can also be as a result of multiple DWI arrests. Law enforcement officers have been trained to report to the MAB cases of alcohol addiction or dependency after arresting someone for DWI 2 nd or felony DWIs. Losing your privilege to drive for these reasons can last for your lifetime if you do not go through
the necessary steps to get it reinstated.
A driver’s license suspension can negatively impact your life in numerous ways. Aside from limiting your overall freedom, losing the privilege to drive can make finding and maintaining employment difficult, as well as strain relationships when you have to become dependent upon
others for your transportation needs. If you choose to drive while your license is suspended or revoked to avoid those issues, you only will make things worse. Why? Because being caught driving with a suspended or revoked license in Texas results in additional penalties, above and beyond those imposed for the original charges.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DRIVE WITH A SUSPENDED LICENSE IN TEXAS?
As previously noted, your driver’s license can be suspended in the state of Texas for a variety of offenses. The state can charge you with a separate crime if you are caught operating a motor vehicle while your driver’s license is suspended. The charge for driving with a license that is invalid (DWLI) is a Class C Misdemeanor for first-time offenders under Texas state law, but it can be categorized as a Class A or B Misdemeanor in other cases. The penalties applied depending on the circumstances of the case. For instance, the penalties for an adult differ from those for a minor under the age of 21 years. Age and other factors can play into which penalties get applied by the court.
THE 4 WAYS TO COMMIT DWLI
Texas Transportation Code § 521.457 defines DWLI offenses as operating a motor
vehicle in any of the following situations:
(1) after the person’s driver’s license has been canceled under this chapter if the
person does not have a license that was subsequently issued under this chapter;
(2) during a period that the person’s driver’s license or privilege is suspended or
revoked under any law of this state;
(3) while the person’s driver’s license is expired if the license expired during a period
of suspension; or
(4) after renewal of the person’s driver’s license has been denied under any law of
this state, if the person does not have a driver’s license subsequently issued under
If your DWLI is designated as a Class C misdemeanor, it carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine. If you are charged with DWLI because you have been convicted previously of DWLI, you do not have motor vehicle insurance at the time of the offense, or you were operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, the penalty can be a fine of up to $2,000 and jail time of up to 180 days. You also could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor in certain circumstances, such as
causing an accident while driving without insurance and having a prior misdemeanor conviction. The punishment for this level of DWLI offense could include a fine of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to one year (see Texas Penal Code § 12.21-23). Additionally, a conviction for DWLI
means you could end up with a new driver’s license suspension that lasts longer than the first suspension.
HOW DO I GET MY LICENSE REINSTATED?
Driving with a suspended or revoked license in Texas can result in serious consequences for you. If you drive while your license is invalid and are charged with DWLI, the penalties will vary depending on the specific details of the case. DPS can also suspend your license through an
administrative process if you are convicted of a moving violation (i.e., pay the ticket) while your license is suspended. You can be subject to greater penalties than those you received for your original license suspension. The best thing for you to do is to speak with a lawyer who has
experience with handling cases involving license suspensions. It may be possible to get your suspension, cancelation or revocation lifted, or you may be eligible to apply for an occupational driver’s license that would allow you to drive legally until your license suspension ends. You can use the Texas DPS online license eligibility service online to check the status of your license and to pay license reinstatement fees. (Note: you might be required to submit additional documents to prove your eligibility, or complete specific programs before getting your license back.) An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine the exact requirements in your case.
Are you in need of legal assistance from an attorney with an in-depth understanding of driver’s license suspensions in Houston, Texas, or the surrounding area? Reach out for information and guidance from the knowledgeable and skilled legal counsel at Collin Evans Law. An experienced criminal lawyer and DWI attorney, Collin Evans has been committed to helping clients reach the best outcomes in their cases for well over a decade. You can contact Collin
Evans Law online at any time or by calling 713-225-0650.
* Harris County
* Fort Bend County
* Galveston County
* Montgomery County
* Brazoria County
* Waller County