You must have a valid driver’s license to operate a vehicle in Texas. Driving without a valid license is illegal and can result in severe consequences, including fines, imprisonment, or both.
If you are pulled over by the police and are unable to show them a valid license, the extent of the penalty you receive will depend on various factors, such as whether or not:
Penalties increase for second and third violations and can be particularly harsh – including jail time and a permanent conviction record – if you are involved in an accident that causes injuries to other people.
Read on for more information about what can happen if you are caught driving without a license in Texas. Seek help from a criminal defense attorney if you face any license or traffic-related charges.
A valid driver’s license means a license that is both:
The law is clear that you must have your license with you at all times when driving your car. If you are stopped by the police and can’t produce your license, you’ll likely be given a ticket and face a fine. However, Texas law gives you the opportunity to show your license to a judge and have the charge dismissed with payment of a $10 administrative fee.
Having a valid license means your license must be current any time you are driving. If you drive with an expired license, you can be fined up to $200 for a first or second offense, and a third offense within 12 months can mean jail time for up to six months in addition to the fine.
If you drive without ever having obtained a driver’s license, you will be subject to a fine of up to $200 for your first or second offense within a 12-month period. Subsequent offenses are punishable by up to six months in jail on top of any fines.
Driving while your license has been suspended, canceled, or revoked, or after your application to renew your license was denied, is a Class C misdemeanor for which you can be fined up to $500.
However, if (a) you have a prior violation for driving with a suspended/revoked license, (b) your license was previously suspended due to a DUI conviction, or (c) you do not have proof of insurance for your vehicle, you may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor which carries fines of up to $2,000 and jail time of up to 6 months. Furthermore, if you do not have insurance and cause an accident in which other people are injured, you may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor which is punishable by up to $4,000 in fines and one year in jail.
Our attorneys have assisted many clients fight charges involving breaches of Texas state driver licensing laws. Depending on your circumstances, there may be defenses available that can result in your charge being reduced or your case being dismissed entirely. If you’ve been charged with driving without a valid license, reach out to us online or call our office today at (202) 933-3379 for a free consultation.
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