Criminal charges related to driving with a suspended license may seem innocent, and in most cases they are, but they are violations of the law. In Texas and especially Harris County, these cases are prosecuted without much compassion on a normal basis.
Arrested for DWLI or DWLS?
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Penalties for Driving While License Invalid
Possible Defenses for Driving While License Invalid
What Causes Texas Drivers License Suspension?
Meet Attorney Tad A. Nelson (Board Certified®)
Texas’ Zero-Tolerance Suspended License Enforcement
Whether you were “driving” to work, “driving” to pick up a child/family member, or “driving” for emergency reasons, you will still be arrested and jailed for driving with a suspended Texas Driver License.
The judge will not make exceptions for people who committed the crime of driving with a suspended license, regardless of any perceived justification on part of the defendant.
Suspended Licenses: Take it Seriously
If you’re pulled over by the Houston Police Department, or the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, or any other licensed Texas law enforcement officer, and found to be Driving While your License is Suspended, or Invalid (DWLI), you’ll face new criminal charges, possible jail time, and a fine. Another potential consequence is a longer Texas Driver License (TDL) suspension period.
Penalties for DWLI/DWLS
DWLI is classified as a misdemeanor offense. Criminal penalties are defined in the Texas misdemeanor sentencing guidelines. In short, there are two main options used by the court to penalize defendants charged with DWLI; fines & an extended Texas Driver License suspension period. County jail time of up to six months is also possible. See below for a better idea of the potential penalties these cases.
- The basic offense for “knowingly/intentionally” driving while your TDL is suspended is classified as a Class C Misdemeanor.
- Class C Misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $500.00.
- If the driver had their Texas Driver License suspended as a result of DWI, and are found to be driving while their license was suspended, they’ll face punishment under Class B Misdemeanor guidelines.
- A conviction for a Class B Misdemeanor can net up to 6 months (180 days) Harris County Jail time and a fine of up to $2,000.00.
- Class A Misdemeanor charges aren’t the norm for DWLI offenses, however, if a person is a habitual offender it may encourage the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to pursue criminal charge enhancement.
- If this happens, and your crime is punished under Class A Misdemeanor guidelines, you may be penalized to the tune of one year (up to 365 days) county jail time and a fine of up to $4,000.00.
Other Penalties for DWLI
Other penalties may include the extension of your drivers license suspension period for an amount of time that’s equal to the original suspension period. For example; if your TDL was suspended for 9 months, and you’re charged with DWLI again, another 9 months may be tacked on the end of your first suspension period.
Potential Defenses for Houston DWLI Cases
Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A. Nelson will explore numerous potential defense options for your case. One of the most common defenses is the defendant’s awareness of the suspension of their driving privileges. The state of Texas is supposed to ensure that you are properly informed that your driver license is suspended.
If we can prove the state neglected to inform you of this sanction on your Texas Driver License, we’ll have a strong chance at beating the DWLI charge in court. However, if we win, your Texas Driver License will remain suspended in accordance with the originating suspension order.
What Causes Texas Driver License Suspension?
There are lots of reasons the State of Texas will suspend your driving privileges. Listed below is a general overview of common reasons that people suffer the suspension of their Texas Driver License.
- All Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Offenses
- Hit & Run cases where you are accused of, or involved in, an auto accident and leaving the scene.
- If you we’re stopped by police and found to be driving under the influence of medication (DUI).
- Operating a motor vehicle while in possession of a controlled substance and/or while under the influence of a controlled substance.
- If the police smelled marijuana in your vehicle during a traffic stop, and found any trace of the substance, this is a DUI offense and your Texas Drivers License will be suspended.
- Intoxication Manslaughter offenses. If found guilty of intoxication manslaughter, your license suspension period will begin after you’ve served your prison sentence.
- Being at fault in a serious auto accident which resulted in serious injury or homicide.
- Criminally negligent homicide offenses.
- Street racing.
- Habitual Traffic Offender: Having too many traffic tickets or moving violations with a short period of time. Persons ticketed for speeding more than 3 times in 1 year, or more than 7 times in 24 months, may suffer Texas Driver License revocation or suspension.
- Evasion of Arrest in a motor vehicle.
Let Attorney Tad A. Nelson Review Your Case
The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates is leading Houston criminal defense law firm focused on DWI defense as a specialty legal practice. Having a specialized focus as a part of the culture and training of our staff gives our professional and highly advanced legal team a welcomed edge in all matters involving vehicular crimes of any kind. If you need help and need to talk about your matter with a skilled lawyer immediately, contact us.
Call us at 713-489-7373 to schedule a review of your situation.