Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License in Texas
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When can a driver's license be suspended or revoked in Texas?
The Texas Transportation Code at Section 521.291-461 covers the suspension and revocation of driver’s licenses. Revocation and Suspension both refer to the withholding of driving privileges for a person who violates certain laws. Revocation means the license is withheld for an indefinite time, while suspension in Texas generally lasts one year.
Some common reasons why a license may be suspended or revoked in Texas include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (also called “driving while intoxicated” or DWI): the length of suspension depends on whether it is a first time offense as well as the severity of the offense. Suspension may last from 90 days to 2 years.
- Conviction of a drug offense: will result in suspension of license for 180 days, and the offense need not be driving-related
- Multiple moving violations: Suspension will result upon receiving 4 or more traffic tickets in one year or 7 or more tickets in two years
- Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test or failing a blood alcohol test
- Unpaid traffic tickets
- Driving without insurance
- Reckless or negligent driving
- Failing to pay child support
- Issues with a driver’s license from another state
Some offenses result in the license being automatically revoked, such as certain drug crimes, sex offenses, and fraudulent government applications. A license may also be automatically revoked at the government’s discretion for physical or medical reasons, such as when a person is chemically dependent on a substance.
You should also be aware that if you arrested for DWI, your license will be suspended unless you request a special hearing challenging the suspension. You have less than 15 days after a DWI arrest to request an administrative hearing. Driving with a suspended license is different from driving without a license, which is a less serious offense.
What is the penalty for driving with a suspended or revoked license in Texas?
Section 521.457 of the Texas Transportation Code makes it illegal to drive with an invalid license, which includes suspended, revoked, cancelled, and expired licenses. The penalties for violating this statute may include:
- A fine no less than $100 and no more than $500
- Jail time in a county facility for no less than 72 hours and no more than 6 months
The offense of “Driving While License Suspended”, or DWLS, is classified as a criminal misdemeanor. Repeat offenses may lead to more serious consequences.
What is an Occupational or Restricted License?
Texas is somewhat unique in that it allows some persons who have had their license suspended to obtain an Occupational or Restricted license. This type of license enables the person to commute to work and back during the period of suspension. It also allows the person to drive in order to complete necessary household duties. In order to obtain one, the person would have to apply with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The application involves providing a description of the routes to be driven, as well as the days and hours that the person will be driving. Occupational licenses are not available for every person who is under a license suspension. In particular, suspension for medical reasons or failure to pay child support will make a person ineligible for a restricted license. Check with a lawyer for more details on occupational licenses.
Can I get my license reinstated?
Once the period of suspension is completed, the license may be restored or reinstated. This involves filing with the Department of Public Safety and supplying proof of insurance. A fee is involved and ranges from $100-$125, depending on the reasons for suspension.
Do I need a Texas Lawyer for driving with an invalid license?
Driving with an invalid license is a serious offense which can result in heavy consequences. If you have been charged with driving with an invalid license, it is advisable to consult with a competent lawyer to determine your options. Texas traffic laws are complex and are often subject to change. An attorney can help you navigate the web of laws if you are involved in a suspended or revoked driver’s license issue.
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Last Modified: 04-28-2015 02:14 PM PDT
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