So your license to drive is suspended but you are still driving? That happens a lot in Texas. We’ve designed our State in a way that driving is required to function. You can’t walk to work in most areas, and public transportation is not something Texas has invested in. So people have to drive and sometimes will continue to do so after their license is suspended.
What’s the offense for driving with license invalid in Texas? That’s Texas Transportation Code Section 521.457(a)(2). It is illegal in Texas to operate a motor vehicle; on a highway; during a period that the person’s driver’s license or privilege was suspended or revoked under any Texas law.
How bad is it to commit DWLI? What’s the range of punishment?
It depends. A “normal” DWLI is a class C offense, basically a ticket, but it can rise to Class B or even Class A misdemeanor. For example, if your license was suspended for a DWI and you drive anyway, that’s a class B misdemeanor (up to 6 months in county jail, $2,000 fine). If you are driving and cause an accident without insurance and your license is suspended that can be a Class A misdemeanor (up to one year in county jail, $4,000 fine).
There is culpable mental state required, that is, the State doesn’t have to prove you knew your license was suspended. There is an affirmative defense available if the State never mailed you notice of a suspension. They don’t have to show you knew about the suspension, just that they mailed it.
If you have a suspended license you need to hire a lawyer to help you get an occupational license. Most suspensions are still eligible for an occupational license (some DWI suspensions are not, we call those “hard suspensions”).
If you receive a Class C ticket for DWLI you should never plead guilty. Convictions for DWLI can lead to further license suspensions.
We have lawyer available who can help you fight a DWLI case. Don’t go to court alone, let Guest and Gray help you.