Driving With a Suspended License in Texas
- November 16, 2016
- The Law Office of Greg Tsioros
- Comments Off on Driving With a Suspended License in Texas
Suspended License Facts in Texas
In the state of Texas, the ability to drive a motor vehicle on public roadways is a privilege, not a right. As such, that privilege can be taken away or restricted in certain cases. As soon as a person has their driver’s license suspended, they are effectively stripped of their ability to legally operate a car on Texas roads and highways.
Continuing to drive without a valid license is a serious violation of state law. A person who is caught driving on a suspended license may face severe criminal penalties. There are many ways that a person’s driver’s license can be suspended in Texas and learning more about these circumstances can help people to protect themselves while driving on state roads.
Why Are Licenses Suspended?
There are many reasons that a person’s driver’s license, and their driving privileges, may be suspended. This is typically done as a type of punishment for people that have been convicted of a criminal offense.
In many cases, a person’s license may be suspended as the result of their conviction on a driving-related offense. However, this is not the only way a person can have their license suspended. In some cases, a person’s license may be suspended after they have been convicted of an offense that does not necessarily have anything to do with their history of operating motor vehicles in Texas. For example, a person’s driver’s license may be suspended for:
- A conviction for Driving While Intoxicated
- Multiple moving violations, such as tickets for speeding or breaking traffic laws
- Unpaid tickets for moving violations or other offenses
- A conviction for evading police or fleeing the scene of a vehicle accident
- Unpaid child support
- A violation of an existing license suspension
- Refusing a field sobriety test
- Driving without valid insurance
Because so many people in Texas drive on a regular or daily basis, the judicial system can use license suspensions as a way to punish a wide range of offenses.
No matter what the cause, when a person’s driver’s license is suspended, they are expected to abide by the conditions of that suspension until the suspension period has been completed. A person who is caught driving before that suspension period is complete can face a variety of legal penalties.
What Happens If I’m Caught Driving With A Suspended License?
If a person is pulled over for a suspected moving violation while on Texas roads, they will be asked to provide their license or proof of their legal ability to drive by the officer who makes the traffic stop. If that person cannot provide their license because it has been suspended, one of two things may occur.
In some cases, a person who is a first-time offender of this crime may be issued a citation which orders them to attend a court date for the disposition of their case.
For habitual offenders, or those who have other outstanding charges, the officer may choose to place that person under arrest and take the driver to jail.
However, in most cases, the driver will only be issued a citation for driving on a suspended license. In either circumstance, the driver will be required to attend a court date to face the penalties for their actions.
There are two primary ways in which driving on a suspended license can be punished in the state of Texas.
First, the punishment will typically include an extension of the suspension period.
For example, a person who has their license suspended for 90 days and is caught driving during the suspension period may have their suspension period extended for a length of time equal to the original amount. This means that if a person’s license has been suspended for 90 days and they are caught driving during that time, they may have to undergo an additional 90 days of license suspension.
The other primary method of punishment is the imposition of a monetary fine.
For example, a first-time offender for driving with a license suspension can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. This is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
However, in some cases, the penalties can be much more severe. For example, a person who has their license suspended as the result of a DWI charge, a person who has one or more previous convictions for driving with a suspended license or a person who also does not have insurance while driving with a suspended license can face a Class B misdemeanor charge.
This is punishable by up to 180 days in county jail and a fine of up to $2000.
In some circumstances, the penalties can be enhanced even further. For example, a person who is driving without a valid license or proof of insurance when they are involved in a vehicle accident that causes an injury or death can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4000.
It should be noted that the punishment for driving with a suspended license can be added on to any other punishments that are a result of the traffic stop. For example, a person who has their license suspended for a DWI charge and is caught driving during the suspension period can have an extended suspension period, a fine and jail time added on to the sentence that they receive for the original DWI charge.