Driving on a Suspended License in Texas
Recently I had a client for Driving While License Invalid, or “Driving on a suspended license.” Most people want to know why this happens and what they can do to fix it.
First off, driving on a suspended license in Texas is generally a Class C misdemeanor (up to a $500 fine) or a Class B Misdemeanor (6 months jail and/or $2,000 fine) under the Texas Transportation Code.
Q1: Why was my license suspended in the first place?
A1: More often than not, a driver’s license is suspended because of unpaid traffic tickets. Frequently clients come in and they have not paid speeding tickets or traffic violations. Unpaid tickets can also lead to arrest warrants being issued against you. Tracking down the tickets long after you were due to appear can be a very long, drawn out, and time consuming process, depending on how many outstanding tickets you have. Read more about Traffic Tickets here.
Q2: Why am I charged with a Class B misdemeanor this time?
A2: Most frequently the charge is bumped up to a Class B misdemeanor if one or more of the following has occurred:
1. You have previously been convicted of driving after suspension or revocation.
2. You did not have insurance at the time of your offense.
3. Your license was suspended for operating while intoxicated.
Q3: How do I get my license back and put this behind me?
A3: First, you need to address the underlying cause of the license suspension. If this was due to unpaid tickets – pay the tickets. Second, you’ll need to pay DPS a reinstatement fee of approximately $100. Third, you’ll need to purchase SR-22 insurance coverage from your car insurance company. This certifies that you have liability coverage on your vehicle for a period of time. Lastly, you’ll have to pay a surcharge to DPS of approximately $250 a year for three (3) years.
Driving on a suspended license in Texas is very costly and may take some time to save up for. Another option is to Request an Occupational License (with checklist provided) in the meantime while you’re saving money for a full reinstatement. However, keep in mind that there are many more restrictions with an occupational license than a full reinstatement. For more information on these topics feel free to contact my office to talk about your case!