Driving in Texas is not a right – it’s a privilege. As such, it can be taken away at any time if the license holder demonstrates that they are a threat to others on the road. However, in many cases, someone loses their license due to administrative or comparatively minor offenses. And even when someone has committed a more serious offense, like driving with a suspended license, there are options in possibly reducing or eliminating the accompanying penalties outright. As with every legal matter, it’s essential that anyone facing driver’s license problems seek assistance from an experienced attorney.
What can cause problems with a driver’s license?
Invalid license, suspended license, revoked license, canceled license, expired license – these terms all sound alike, but there are some important differences between the three. This is what they mean:
- Invalid license – An invalid license is one that is effectively put on hold. As soon as the conditions related to the hold are met, the license is immediately available for use again. In other words, there is no set time limit before an invalid license can be addressed. Invalid licenses are normally the product of administrative issues, an expired license is an invalid license.
- Suspended license – A license can be suspended when its holder has committed certain crimes. There is a huge range of crimes that will suspend a license, and each one has its own time period of suspension. For example, if a driver fails an alcohol breath or blood test, their license can be suspended for 90 days for a first offense. A first offense DWI convictions can carry a one year license suspension. Other crimes that may result in license suspension include:Alcohol offenses committed by a minor – The first offense can carry a 30-day license suspension, with a 60-day suspension for the second offense and a 180-day suspension for a third offense. Possession, consumption or purchase of alcohol are some of the relevant offenses.Drug offenses – When convicted of a drug offense, even if the offender was not driving at the time, their license is suspended for 180 days. A drug education program must be completed to recover the license.
Traffic violations – If a driver is convicted for four or more, the DPS will initiate a suspension action.
Driving with a suspended license – Even if not cited or arrested, if DPS later determines you were driving with a suspended license, the DPS will attempt to extend your suspension period by an amount of time equal to the original suspension.
Driving without liability insurance – If a driver is convicted twice of not carrying liability insurance, their license will be suspended until special SR22 insurance is filed with the Department of Public Safety.
Crashing a vehicle without insurance – If a driver causes a crash that results in at least $1,000 in damages, their license can be suspended for a long period of time if they were not carrying insurance at the time of the crash and fail to pay for the damages.
Convictions for one or more miscellaneous offenses – These offenses include racing, tampering with a license plate or registration sticker, fleeing from police, evading arrest in a motor vehicle, committing a felony with a vehicle, providing a fraudulent license or allowing someone else to use a license.
- Revoked license – When a license is revoked, it is completely taken away from a driver. The only way someone can recover a revoked license is to apply for another one.This can occur by a failure to meet a child support order or becoming medically unable to drive. Medical reasons for revocation can be overcome if the medical condition is treatable to the extent that your doctor concludes you are safe to drive. An attorney knowledgeable in these procedures can go a long way toward helping you and your doctor understand what the doctors for the DPS (the Medical Advisory Board) are looking for in the way of documentation in order to restore your driving privileges.
Clearly, there are many reasons why the state may suspend or take away a person’s ability to drive. It’s also clear that losing driving privileges greatly complicates day to day life. For this reason, anyone dealing with driver’s license problems are encouraged to seek assistance from an experienced attorney. Attorneys that specialize in license and traffic violations can often restore at least some of a client’s driving privileges, even if they have already been convicted of an offense resulting in a license suspension.