Traffic Accident

Texas Driving With Suspended License Laws

Many traffic offenses lead to suspended driver license. Under Texas laws, driving with a suspended license has additional penalties including fines and longer suspension.

Driver licenses are typically suspended for traffic violations: speeding, drunken driving, refusing a breathalyzer test, causing a crash, invalid car insurance, etc. However, you can also have your license suspended for other reasons such as not paying child support.

In this article we’ll take a look at common penalties involved with DWLI – Driving While License Invalid, i.e. driving with suspended or revoked driver licenses, and tell you how to reinstate your license.

Penalties for driving with suspended license

Driving while your license is suspended is considered a Class C misdemeanor, resulting in a fine of up to $500.

Having a previous conviction for driving without license or being convicted of DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or similar offenses can upgrade your penalty to a Class B misdemeanor, resulting in increased fines and up to 6 months in county jail.

This of course does not include any other potential traffic regulations you may have violated while driving with invalid license. Speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, highway racing, causing accidents or injuries, or many other traffic offenses all have additional consequences.

Additional license suspensions

Driving with an already suspended license will lengthen your total suspended time for the same duration. If your driver’s license was suspended or revoked for a year, driving during that time will increase the total suspended time to another year.

Other fines

You are not permitted to drive while having a suspended license. Therefore when caught by police your vehicle will be impounded. You will have to pay daily storage fees until you pay all towing fees owed, which can cost hundreds.

In addition you are looking at hundreds of dollars or more in other criminal fines, reinstatement fee of $100 to $125, and additional surcharges of $250 each year for three years.

You will also need to submit an SR-22 (Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate) document from your insurance company to DPS.

Suspension hearing

Under ALR program (Administrative License Revocation) you may request a hearing within 15 days of your arrest. There are some legal defenses you can use to claim you did not drive with a revoked license, or did so unknowingly.

Common case is if you were not aware that your license has been suspended. Texas DPS will mail you an enforcement notification. In case they send the notification to a wrong address and you did not know about your suspended license, it can be used as defense during your hearing and your may be able to avoid further fees and penalties.

Related links:

If you are requesting a suspension hearing, or appealing one, it is strongly advisable to contact an attorney to walk you through the process.

Reinstating driver license

Before your license can be reinstated, you will need to wait your suspension period to pass, complete any other requirements ordered, and pay all fees. Fees and other requirements vary depending on each case and charges brought.

While your license is still suspended you can also request an occupational or restricted license. This license enables you to drive from and to work while you wait out your suspension. Applications are done through Texas DPS, but it is recommended to contact an attorney as there are many cases where you can or can’t obtain a restricted driver license.

You can check your driving eligibility and pay reinstatement fees on Texas Department of Public Safety website here. On the website you can view any requirements necessary for reinstating your license, including compliance requirements (enforcement actions, dates, and compliance instructions), other requirements, and fees due. Fees can be paid directly through that system.

References and sources:

  1. Texas DPS – Driving While License is Invalid (DWLI)
  2. Texas DPS – Check driving eligibility and pay reinstatement fees
  3. Texas DPS – Texas Driver License – Applications, Renewals, Surcharges, Suspensions and Reinstatement information
  4. Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) information
  5. Texas Transportation Code Chapter 521 – Driver’s Licenses and Certificates
  6. Texas Transportation Code Chapter 521 Subchapter N – General Provisions Relating to License Denial, Suspension, or Revocation
This article about Texas Driving With Suspended License Laws was last updated in 2024. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!