(DWLI/DWLS) Driving While License Invalid or Suspended is a criminal offense charged when an individual drives a motor vehicle at a time when their Driver' License is either invalid or suspended. The suspension can be the result of any violation of DPS's administrative rules; too many points, unpaid surcharges, failures to appear, unpaid tickets, and driving record convictions.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person operates a motor vehicle on a highway: (1) after the person's driver's license has been canceled under this chapter if the person does not have a license that was subsequently issued under this chapter; (2) during a period that the person's driver's license or privilege is suspended or revoked under any law of this state; (3) while the person's driver's license is expired if the license expired during a period of suspension;
The most common DWLI or DWLS is when a person pays a series of past due tickets, just so they can renew their driver's licenses. This is typically the advice given by DPS when the individual is attempting to renew their driver's license, but by paying the tickets, a conviction for the offense is listed on the person's record.
This conviction does two main thing: gives the driver 'points' on their driving record, and also may carry with it a mandatory administrative suspension (if the offense is one of the many tickets that will cause a suspension, such as No Insurance, Failure to Maintain Financial Information, Expired Registration, and many more).
A notice of the suspension is mailed out to the address on file with DPS. DPS will not forward mail, even if you set it up with the post office.
Punishments for a DWLI or DWLS are generally fines and court costs; rarely in Austin does a Suspended License ticket result in jail time or probation, especially if you have an attorney who can help you get a valid license or Occupational License.
|Level of Offense||Punishment|
|Class C Misdemeanor||Not Jailable, No more than $500 fines|
|Class B Misdemeanor||Not more than 180 days in a county jail, and/or no more than $2,000 fines|
|Class A Misdemeanor||Not more than 1 year in a county jail, and/or no more than $4,000 fines|
However, the real punishment is more surcharges and additional suspensions of your driver's license. If convicted of a DWLI or DWLS, your license will be suspended both adminstratively by DPS and due to the Conviction. You'll be subject to three years of Surcharge payments to DPS in addition to the Court costs and fines, which generally is over a $1,000.
Most people come to the conclusion that they can avoid the surcharges and suspensions if they instead spend that money -- often less -- on an attorney.
Too many points or unpaid surcharges are the most common reasons for suspensions, however certian tickets will cause a suspension as well, including Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility (No Insurance).
DWI's will cause a suspension of a Texas Driver's License, between 90 days and 1 year. This is true for DWI, DWi with an Open container, and DWI with a BAC greater than .15%. If the DWI defendant is under 21 years old, it will be a 1 year suspension; if the DWI is controlled substance/drug related, and not alcohol, the minimum suspension is 180 days, or six months.
A 2nd DWI will cause a suspension between 6 months and 2 years, but if the first DWI was within five years of the second, the minimum suspension increases to 1 year.
Underage Alcohol offenses, if ending in a conviction, will cause a License Suspension. Also, drug convictions for both adults and minors (including Marijuana/POM) will cause a 180 day suspension of a Texas Driver's License, which will not be reinstated ever unless the offender completes the 15 hour DOEP class.
DWLI and DWLS tickets are priorable, meaning that a prior ticket can be used to enhance or upgrade a similar ticket in the future.
The Keates Law Firm has over 10+ Years Experience handling criminal defense cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail. This includes Motions to Suppress, Motions to Exclude Evidence based on Invalid Searches or Miranda Right Violations, and Probable Cause determinations.
Our Results Speak for Themselves. Keates Law Firm has a record of dismissals and acquittals in a variety of criminal cases. We are dismissal focused, and we get results.
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