Texas law is very clear about driving privileges. Motorists have to pass a test to obtain a license and must demonstrate adequate driving skills to maintain that license. People technically cannot drive a vehicle legally without a currently valid license, even if they believe they have the skills to do so.
Those who are accused of severe traffic infractions, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses, and those who have numerous smaller violations on their record could eventually face the suspension of their licenses. The state will also sometimes suspend a license due to someone’s failure to pay fees or to submit to renewal testing as required by the state.
Many people who lose their driver’s licenses take the risk of continuing to operate a motor vehicle anyway and assume they won’t get caught. What happens to those who get stopped or experienced a car crash while their license is suspended?
Driving without a license is a crime in Texas
Choosing to drive without a valid license doesn’t just lead to a traffic ticket the way that other traffic infractions might. Law enforcement officers in Texas can actually arrest someone for driving with a suspended license. Most drivers arrested for driving without a license will face a Class B misdemeanor charge. If they plead guilty or get convicted, the penalties include between 72 hours and six months in state custody and up to $500 in fines. The official charge is a driving while license is invalid (DWLI) offense. Certain factors, like repeat offenses or a crash caused, could lead to more serious charges and penalties.
A defense is possible when someone is accused of unlicensed operation
There are many scenarios in which someone accused of a DWLI offense could avoid a conviction. From defenses based on the illegality of a traffic stop to defenses that involve producing evidence that someone was unaware of a very new license suspension at the time of a traffic stop there are often multiple viable defense strategies available to those accused of driving without a valid license in Texas.
Realizing that there could be significant penalties imposed for what seems like a minor traffic offense might inspire people to seek legal guidance in order to fight back against criminal charges after a traffic stop or arrest.