Driving on a Suspended License in Texas

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Like all states, Texas may suspend or revoke your license for many reasons. The state takes a suspension or revocation seriously and may charge you with a crime if you drive when your license is not valid.

Reasons for Suspension and Revocation

Your license may be suspended or revoked for a range of reasons, such as if you:

  • commit may certain alcohol offenses
  • use a fake ID or allow someone to use your ID
  • are convicted of racing on a highway, or
  • are chemically dependent and are likely to cause harm to others, or a court has determined that you are incapacitated to drive a vehicle. (Texas Transp. Code Ann. § 521.344, § 521.346 521, § 521.350(a), § 319(a).)

Reinstating Your License

The period of time your license is suspended or revoked may depend on many factors. Your license may not be reinstated until you pay a reinstatement fee, pay other fees, or fulfill other requirements. The reinstatement fee may be $100. (Texas Transp. Code Ann. § 521.313, § 601.376.)

Criminal Charges for Driving While Suspended or Revoked

If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you could be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, or in certain circumstances, more serious charges. (Texas Transp. Code Ann. § 521.457(e).)

The maximum penalty in general for a Class C misdemeanor is a $500 fine. (Texas Penal Code § 12.23.)

You may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor in certain circumstances, such as if:

  • you have previously been convicted of driving after suspension or revocation
  • you did not have insurance at the time of your offense, or
  • your license was suspended for operating while intoxicated. (Texas Transp. Code Ann. § 521.457(f) & (f-1).)

The maximum penalty for a Class B misdemeanor may involve up to:

  • a $2,000 fine, and
  • 180 days in jail. (Texas Penal Code § 12.22.)

You may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor in certain circumstances, such as if you were driving without insurance and caused a crash that seriously injured or killed someone. (Texas Transp. Code Ann. § 521.457(f-2).) The maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor may involve up to:

  • a $4,000 fine, and
  • one year in jail. (Texas Penal Code § 12.21.)

If you are convicted of driving while your license is suspended, revoked, or otherwise invalid, you may be assessed a $250 surcharge on your license each year for three years. (Texas Transp. Code Ann. § 708.103.)

Legal Help for Charges of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

A conviction for driving after suspension or revocation can result in fines, jail time, and serious consequences for your life. You may find it difficult to keep a job, stay in school, obtain or retain insurance, and generally live your life. While the law provides maximum penalties for a conviction, your sentence will actually depend in part on the view those in your local court system – including prosecutors and judges – have of the crime. Only a lawyer who is familiar with these charges in your area can provide you with this information.

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