Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Texas

Criminal charges for operating a vehicle on a suspended or revoked license.

By , Attorney · University of San Francisco School of Law
Updated November 15, 2022

As in all states, Texas drivers can lose their driving privileges through suspension or revocation for a variety of different reasons. If you drive during a suspension or revocation, you can be charged with a crime and could face fines and jail time.

This article covers some common reasons for license suspension and revocation and the penalties you'll face for driving while suspended or revoked.

What Does It Mean to Have Your License Suspended or Revoked?

When your license is suspended or revoked, it generally means that the state has taken away your driving privileges. In other words, while the suspension or revocation is in place, you can't lawfully drive.

General Differences Between Suspension and Revocation

In many states, "revocation" and "suspension" are used synonymously and mean the same thing. However, some states use the term "suspension" to mean a temporary loss of privileges and "revocation" to mean the permanent loss of driving privileges. However, even in states where revocation is permanent, the driver can typically apply for reinstatement after a certain period of time.

Difference Between Suspensions and Revocations in Texas

In Texas, there's not much difference between a suspension and revocation apart from the name. Each type of revocation or suspension has reinstatement requirements. But the labels "suspension" and "revocation" don't make much of a difference.

What Are the Reasons for License Suspension or Revocation in Texas?

Lots of circumstances can lead to license suspension or revocation in Texas. Some of the most common include:

However, these are just a sample of the reasons you can lose driving privileges—there are many more.

What Are the Penalties for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Texas?

In many situations, driving on a suspended or revoked license is a class C misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $500.

However, driving on a suspended or revoked license is a class B misdemeanor—a more serious violation—if:

  • you have previously been convicted of driving on a suspended or revoked license
  • you didn't have insurance at the time of your offense, or
  • your license was suspended for operating while intoxicated.

A class B misdemeanor carries up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.

Driving on a suspended or revoked license can also be 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. Class A misdemeanors carry up to a year in jail and a maximum of $4,000 in fines.

How do You Reinstate a Revoked or Suspended License in Texas?

The period of time your license is suspended or revoked may depend on many factors. However, once your suspension or revocation period expires, your license won't be automatically valid again. Generally, you'll need to pay a reinstatement fee of $100 and might have to meet other conditions before you can lawfully drive again.

Legal Help in Texas 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. So, if you've been arrested or charged with one of these offenses, it's a good idea to contact an experienced defense attorney. A qualified attorney can tell you how the law applies in your case and advise you on how best to handle your situation.

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