Driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor in Texas. Under Texas law, driving while your license is suspended typically does not lead to jail time on the first offense, but could end up costing you more in fines and an even longer suspension.
The police can charge you with driving while license invalid if you are stopped and a computer check of your license turns up the suspension. And it won’t matter at that point whether you knew about the suspension or not. In fact, many people who are charged for this criminal offense never knew that their license was suspended.
You may be arrested or given a notice to appear in court, depending on the circumstances. You will not be allowed to leave the scene by driving.
This is a difficult, embarrassing, and potentially serious criminal charge. Please contact us for legal advice on how to best keep your criminal record clean, and get you back on the road as soon as possible.
What Can Cause a Suspended License in Texas?
Your Texas driver’s license can be suspended for any number of reasons, from traffic violations to various criminal convictions. Among them:
- Automatic suspension – If you are convicted of criminally negligent homicide involving a vehicle, fleeing or eluding police in a vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries or death, or DWI.
- Habitual traffic suspension – If you convicted of four or more moving violations such as speeding on one year, or seven or more in two years.
- Serious accident suspension – If you are found responsible for a crash that resulted in serious injuries or death to another person.
Your license also can be suspended if you are convicted for a state drug possession offense, for certain criminal mischief offenses, if you don’t keep proper insurance on your car, or if you don’t pay child support as ordered by a family court.
Driving While License Invalid – Laws & Penalties
If you are convicted of knowingly driving with a suspended license, it is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a find up to $500. It is a Class B misdemeanor – up to six months in a county jail – if you have been previously convicted, or previously had your license suspended for DWI.
It is also a Class B offense not to surrender your license to the state upon demand after your suspension.
The Texas Transportation Code also allows for an additional license suspension the same length as the first. For example, if your license was suspended for six months, and you are convicted of driving during that suspension, your license will be suspended for another six months after the original period ends.
But the real penalty for driving on a suspended driver’s license is the cost.
To begin with, it is very likely that the police will have your car towed from where you were stopped. You will be responsible for the towing fees, and for a daily storage fee at the tow yard until you pay the money and retrieve your car. This can run into the hundreds of dollars.
Then you also will pay:
- Criminal fines that can range up to $2,000, depending on the charge.
- A reinstatement fee of $100 and SR-22 insurance, which can be very expensive.
- A surcharge of $250 a year for three years.
What Can I Do About My Suspended License Charge?
The good news is that we can help you with a charge of driving with a suspended license. You are presumed to know about the suspension in cases where it is automatic, but the Texas Transportation Code allows us to argue in other cases that you did not receive notice and were not aware that you were violating the law.
Please contact us today for a free criminal case evaluation on this charge. We’ll go over the facts of your case, and let you know exactly what we can do to help.