Valid driver’s licenses are required to operate motor vehicles in Texas, and people can be charged with driving while license invalid when they drive automobiles without valid licenses. This crime is more commonly known as driving while license suspended (or DWLS), and this is a misdemeanor offense that can involve very different penalties for certain alleged offenders.
A significant number of people charged with driving while license suspended were completely unaware that their licenses were invalid. This crime can carry enhanced penalties when alleged offenders were involved in some kinds of motor vehicle accidents or they have prior convictions for the same crime.
If you or your loved one was arrested for driving with a suspended driver’s license in the greater Plano area, you need to take the misdemeanor charges very seriously. Do not wait to seek legal representation.
Under Texas Transportation Code § 521.457(a),a person commits the crime of driving while license invalid if they operate a motor vehicle:
● after renewal of their driver's license has been denied
● while their driver's license is expired
● during a period that their driver's license or privilege is suspended or revoked
● after their driver's license has been canceled
While driving while license invalid is typically a Class C misdemeanor, it can be a Class B misdemeanor when an alleged offender has been previously convicted of driving while license invalid or operation of motor vehicle in violation of suspension under Texas Transportation Code § 601.371(a). It is also a Class B misdemeanor if the alleged offender was operating a motor vehicle in violation of Texas Transportation Code § 601.191, operation of motor vehicle in violation of motor vehicle liability insurance requirement, or the alleged offender has previously been suspended as the result of an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
If the alleged offender was operating a motor vehicle in violation of Texas Transportation Code § 601.191 and caused or was at fault in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in serious bodily injury to or the death of another person, driving while license invalid is a Class A misdemeanor. Common reasons driver’s licenses are suspended in Texas include,but are not limited to:
● Driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions
● Excess traffic tickets
● Felony motor vehicle offense convictions
● Failure to appear in court
● Hit and run convictions
● Lack of valid insurance
● Vehicular manslaughter convictions
● Failure to pay fines
● Fleeing and eluding law enforcement convictions
● Failure of driving tests
● Vehicular criminally negligent homicide convictions
● Court orders or judgments revoking or suspending licenses
● Certain medical conditions or disabilities
Driving while license invalid charges are misdemeanor offenses, and sentences can vary depending on the specific grade of the alleged crime. In general, convictions are punishable as follows:
● Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000.
● Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000.
● Class C Misdemeanor — Fine of up to $500
Under Texas Transportation Code § 708.052, a person’s driver's license accumulates a point as of the date the department records a conviction of the person under Texas Transportation Code § 521.042(accident and conviction reports) or other applicable law. The department assigns points to a person's license for each conviction arising out of a separate transaction as follows:
● Two points for a moving violation of the traffic law of Texas or another state; or
● Three points for a moving violation of the traffic law of Texas, another state, or a political subdivision that resulted in an accident.
When a person has six or more points on their record for any combination of offenses, they are required to pay annual surcharges for at least one year but for as many as three years. A surcharge will be $100 plus $25 for each point after the first six.
It is not a defense to prosecution for driving while license invalid under Texas Transportation Code § 521.457(c) that an alleged offender did not receive actual notice of a suspension imposed as a result of a conviction for an offense Texas Transportation Code § Section 521.341 (requirements for automatic license suspension). Under Texas Transportation Code § 521.457(d), however, it is an affirmative defense that the person did not receive actual notice of a cancellation, suspension,revocation, or prohibition order relating to the person's license.
Actual notice is presumed when notice was sen tin accordance with law. Under Texas Transportation Code § Section 521.341, a license is automatically suspended on final conviction of the license holder of:
● Manslaughter under Texas Penal Code § 19.04 if the alleged offender used a motor vehicle in the commission of the alleged offense
● Criminally negligent homicide under Texas Penal Code § 19.05 committed as a result of the alleged holder's criminally negligent operation of a motor vehicle
● General violations under Texas Transportation Code § 521.451 or fictitious licenses or certificates under Texas Transportation Code § 521.453
● Evading arrest or detention under Texas Penal Code § 38.04 if the alleged offender used a motor vehicle in the commission of the offense
● Accident involving personal injury or death under Texas Transportation Code § 550.021
● Any offense punishable as a felony under Texas motor vehicle laws
● Intoxication assault under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 if the alleged offender used a motor vehicle to commit the alleged offense
Driver License Traffic Offenses | Tx DPS — A person’s license can be suspended for four or more moving traffic violations within a 12-month period, or seven or more moving traffic violations within a 24-month period. If your driver’s license is currently suspended or revoked,you may be eligible for an occupational license. Visit the License Eligibility web page on this website to check the status of your driver license or determine if you are eligible for reinstatement.
Texas Driver Responsibility Program — Find additional information about the Driver Responsibility Program on this section of the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) website. Surcharges can be point-based or conviction-based. They are assessed when a person’s driver record continues to reflect six or more points or the underlying conviction for the surcharge is still within three years.
Were you or your loved one recently arrested for allegedly driving with a suspended driver’s license in Plano or a nearby community in Collin County? Do not wait to contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
Our firm will work toward the outcome that results in the fewest possible penalties for yourself. We can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.