Is it an offense to drive without a license in Texas?
Yes, Chapter 521 of the Texas Transportation Code requires all persons who operate a motor vehicle on a highway to carry a valid driver’s license. Violation of this provision results in a misdemeanor charge. Multiple or repeated offenses will lead to progressively more severe consequences. The penalties for violations are:
A fine of no greater than $200 for first time offenses
For a second violation within one year of the first offense, a fine ranging from $25 to up to $200 is imposed
A third conviction within one year of the second offense will result in a fine of up to $500, along with jail time of no less than 72 hours and no greater than 6 months
Are there any other consequences besides a fine?
Persons who are charged with driving without a license in Texas may have to pay other related fees and costs. For example, the state of Texas has instituted a Driver Responsibility Program which is mandatory for certain vehicle-related violations. This program entails a surcharge due yearly for up to three years. For the offense of driving without a license, the surcharge is $100 a year.
Restrictions may be placed on the driving privileges of the offender, such as having an existing license revoked. Driving without a license is a different offense from driving with a suspended or revoked license. They are both misdemeanors, although driving with a suspended license is generally a more serious offense with greater penalties.
Finally, some judiciary departments require that the defendant’s vehicle be towed and impounded, and the defendant would have to shoulder those costs as well.
In sum, the total amount that offenders will have to pay in relation to this offense is largely up to the discretion of the judge. You should contact your local municipality to determine what the exact costs might be, and if there are any additional concerns.
Since driving without a license can potentially result in misdemeanor charges, hiring a lawyer can be a sensible decision. This is especially true if you are involved in repeat offenses and may be facing possible jail time. In that case, working with an attorney can help you stay informed of your rights under Texas vehicle laws.