People need to have valid driver’s licenses to operate motor vehicles on streets in Texas, and it is a criminal offense when a person does not have a valid license. Many alleged offenders are surprised to learn that their licenses were suspended or revoked, and their alleged offenses were not committed knowingly.
Driving while license invalid is a crime that is more commonly referred to as driving while license suspended (or DWLS), and a conviction can carry steep consequences in some cases. Repeat offenses or unlicensed drivers involved in certain motor vehicle accidents can result in enhanced penalties.
Were you or your loved one arrested for driving with a suspended driver’s license in the greater Denton area? It will be important for you to be sure to retain legal counsel.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represents clients in communities throughout Denton County. Our firm can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
Texas Transportation Code § 521.457(a) establishes that a person commits the crime of driving while license invalid if they operate a motor vehicle either:
Driving while license invalid is commonly a Class C misdemeanor, but the crime can be a Class B misdemeanor if the 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), or at the time of the offense 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. When an alleged offender has previously been suspended as the result of an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, driving while license invalid is a Class B misdemeanor.
Driving while license invalid is a Class A misdemeanor 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.
Some of the most common reasons driver’s licenses are suspended in Texas include, but are not limited to:
You should contact a lawyer as soon as you believe your license has been suspended for any reason.
The possible sentence an alleged offender can receive if convicted of driving while license invalid will depend on how their alleged offense has been classified. In general, the maximum allowable penalties are as follows:
Texas Transportation Code § 708.052 establishes that 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. For each conviction arising out of a separate transaction, the department assigns points to a person's license as follows:
If a person amasses six or more points on their record for any combination of offenses, they are required to pay annual surcharges for at least one year up to three years. The surcharge is $100 plus $25 for each point after the first six.
While Texas Transportation Code § 521.457(c) states that it is not a defense to prosecution for driving while license invalid 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), Texas Transportation Code § 521.457(d) does provide that it is an affirmative defense to prosecution of an offense, other than an offense under Texas Transportation Code § 521.341, that the person did not receive actual notice of a cancellation, suspension, revocation, or prohibition order relating to the person's license.
The law states that actual notice is presumed when notice was sent in accordance with law. Texas Transportation Code § Section 521.341 establishes that a license is automatically suspended on final conviction of the license holder of:
Texas Driver Responsibility Program — Visit this section of the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) website to learn more about the Driver Responsibility Program. As the website notes, surcharges are either point-based or conviction-based. Surcharges will be 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.
Driver License Traffic Offenses | TxDPS — As TxDPS notes, your 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. You could be eligible for an occupational license if your driver’s license is currently suspended or revoked. To check the status of your driver license or to determine if you are eligible for reinstatement, visit the License Eligibility webpage on this website.
If you or your loved one has been arrested for allegedly driving with a suspended driver’s license in Denton or a nearby community, you need to take the criminal charges seriously. Make sure you contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy for help with all of the issues you are facing.