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 or driving with a suspended driver’s 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.
Driving with a Suspended License Defense Lawyer in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, TX
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 represent 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.
Driving with a Suspended License Charges in Texas
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:
- after their driver’s license has been canceled
- during a period that their driver’s license or privilege is suspended or revoked
- while their driver’s license is expired
- after the renewal of their driver’s license has been denied
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:
- Excess traffic tickets
- Failure to appear in court
- Lack of valid insurance
- Failure to pay fines
- Failure of driving tests
- Certain medical conditions or disabilities
- Court orders or judgments revoking or suspending licenses
- Vehicular criminally negligent homicide convictions
- Fleeing and eluding law enforcement convictions
- Vehicular manslaughter convictions
- Hit and run convictions
- Felony motor vehicle offense convictions
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions
You should contact a lawyer as soon as you believe your license has been suspended for any reason.
Penalties in Denton for Driving with a Suspended License
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:
- Class C Misdemeanor — Fine of up to $500
- Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000.
- Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000.
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:
- 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.
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.
Driving with a Suspended License Defenses in Denton
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 the notice was sent in accordance with the law. Texas Transportation Code § Section 521.341 establishes that a license is automatically suspended on final conviction of the license holder of:
- 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
- Evading arrest or detention under Texas Penal Code § 38.04 if the alleged offender used a motor vehicle in the commission of the offense
- DWI under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, DWI with a child passenger under Texas Penal Code § 49.045, or intoxication manslaughter under Texas Penal Code § 49.08
- Intoxication assault under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 if the alleged offender used a motor vehicle to commit the alleged offense
- Any offense punishable as a felony under Texas motor vehicle laws
- Accident involving personal injury or death under Texas Transportation Code § 550.021
- General violations under Texas Transportation Code § 521.451 or fictitious licenses or certificates under Texas Transportation Code § 521.453
- Manslaughter under Texas Penal Code § 19.04 if the alleged offender used a motor vehicle in the commission of the alleged offense
Denton Resources for Driving with a Suspended License
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’s license or to determine if you are eligible for reinstatement, visit the License Eligibility webpage on this website.
Find a Driving While License Suspended Attorney in Denton, TX | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
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.