Jason Stephens | April 6, 2022 | Texas Law
Driver’s licenses allow the state to ensure that drivers have met the necessary qualifications for safe driving. They also give the state a way to prohibit dangerous drivers from using the roads.
Texas has several offenses that involve driving without a driver’s license. The punishment for an offense depends on whether you have a valid license.
Here is an overview of the offenses you could commit in Fort Worth, TX, including driving without a license versus driving without a license in your possession.
Getting a Driver’s License in Texas
Texas has several requirements for a driver’s license. Most involve proving your identity, citizenship, or residence. But four of those requirements are intended to ensure that all drivers in Texas have the knowledge, skills, and physical ability to drive safely.
To pass those requirements, you must:
- Possess a valid out-of-state driver’s license or pass a driver’s education class
- Pass a written knowledge test
- Pass a road skills test
- Pass a vision examination
After you satisfy all of the requirements, Texas will issue you a driver’s license or a learner’s license, depending on your age and experience.
Texas Driver’s License Offenses
Texas requires you to:
- Have a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle
- Carry your driver’s license with you when you drive
- Display your driver’s license when requested by a law enforcement officer
If you fail to comply with all of these requirements, you can be cited or even arrested by a law enforcement officer. The following are offenses you might commit.
Driving Without a License in Your Possession
Texas requires you to drive with a license in your possession. If you have a valid license but forget to take it with you, the court can dismiss a citation for driving without a license in your possession. Texas law allows the court to charge you an administrative fee of $10 if your case gets dismissed.
Driving Without a License
If you lack a valid driver’s license, you face a much more severe punishment than a $10 administrative fee. Reasons you might lack a valid license include:
- You are too young to get a license
- You are using a fake license
- You never obtained a license
- You allowed your license to expire
- You didn’t exchange an out-of-state license for a Texas license after moving
- Texas or another state suspended or revoked your license
If you do not have a valid license, Texas can punish you with a fine for your first or second offense. A third or subsequent offense could land you in jail for up to six months. If you cause a car accident that injures someone while you are driving without a valid license, Texas could put you in jail for up to one year.
In the following situations, you might face harsher punishments.
False Driver’s License
You commit a criminal offense when you either obtain a genuine driver’s license using a false name or use a forged driver’s license. This offense constitutes a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
Driving on a Suspended License
You cannot drive if your driver’s license is suspended or revoked. This offense constitutes a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine. But if you violate this law multiple times or cause an accident that produces injuries, prosecutors can upgrade the offense to a Class A or B misdemeanor punishable with time in jail.
Takeaways from Texas’s Driver’s License Offenses
If Texas suspends or revokes your license, you should stop driving. Continuing to drive after a suspension or revocation can lead to another arrest. If you need to drive to work, you can apply for an occupational license during your suspension.
If you have a valid license but did not have it with you when you got stopped, make sure you bring your license to court so the judge can dismiss your case.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107