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License Suspension Simplified

by Stephen Thomas on March 18, 2013

Texas Suspended License

If you’re in the habit of driving every day, whether to work or school, getting your Texas driver’s license suspended can be a gigantic hassle. Suddenly you’re forced to spend money on taxis, decipher cryptic bus schedules, or rely on friends and family for rides. Plus, the whole process can be confusing and vague for a first-time suspension. The information below should hopefully shed some light on the ins and outs of having your license suspended, and getting it reinstated again—as soon as possible.

Why does a license get withheld, anyway?

First of all, there are two different ways a license can be withheld. In Texas, “revocation” refers to the withholding of driving privileges for an indefinite amount of time, whereas “suspension” generally means driving privileges are withheld for one year.

In the state of Texas, here are many ways that you can get your driving privileges withheld. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the most common reasons include:

  • DUI or DWI (length typically depends on the severity of the offense, usually ranging from 90 days to 2 years)
  • Conviction of a drug offense (note: the drug offense does not have to be driving-related)
  • Multiple moving violations (more than 3 moving traffic violations within a 12-month period, or more than 6 moving traffic violations within a 24-month period)
  • Unpaid traffic tickets
  • Refusal to pay child support
  • Reckless or negligent driving

I’m not sure if my license is suspended—how do I check?

In Texas, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will notify you by mail if your license has been suspended. However, if you haven’t received anything in the mail and would still like to check, you can go about this in a few different ways. The state of Texas allows you to order your driving record online through a third party, or by mailing in an “Application for Copy of Driver Record” form. The fee ranges from $4 to $10, and takes 2 to 3 weeks to get a reply.

How can I get my license reinstated?

Naturally, the very first question anyone has is: “How—and how fast—can I get my suspended license reinstated?” As you might imagine, it’s a tricky process and depends greatly on the original offense. You’ll almost certainly have to pay a reinstatement fee, and submit proof of insurance to the Department of Public Safety. From there, you may have to take any number of classes. This is at the discretion of the court, so you may want to consult an attorney to help with your appeal.

If appealing doesn’t work, you’ll probably want to invest in some comfortable walking shoes. You do not want to get caught driving on a suspended license!

What happens if I get caught driving with a suspended license?

As you may have guessed, the penalties for driving on a suspended Texas driver’s license are severe. If you’re caught in the state of Texas, you could face a fine of anywhere from $100 – $500, and/or jail time, for no less than 72 hours and no more than 6 months.

How do I make sure this never happens to me?

Great question! Apart from the obvious answer (don’t do any of the things listed above), you can take extra precautions to make sure you are driving as safely as possible. There are many Texas online defensive driving courses you can take to keep your skills sharp. A little effort now could save you a colossal pain down the road.

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