A car accident case in Texas can involve many different factors. One is the invalidity of one of the drivers’ licenses. Driving with a suspended license can lead to serious penalties in Texas. If a driver gets into an accident with a suspended or revoked license, the consequences for breaking the law can be even more severe. Learn the potential consequences of driving without a valid license and causing an accident with a suspended license in Texas.
What Is a Suspended License?
A suspended driver’s license means the driver lawfully cannot operate his or her motor vehicle until driver’s license reinstatement. Some license suspensions are definite while others are indefinite. Definite suspensions have set timeframes, at the end of which the driver will be able to pay for reinstatement and start driving again. Indefinite suspensions can last as long as is necessary for the driver to complete the required actions, such as passing a safety course or satisfying a judgment.
In Texas, the Department of Public Safety may suspend a driver’s license for committing traffic infractions or crimes while operating a motor vehicle. Common reasons for license suspensions are excessive speeding, racing, drunk driving, reckless driving, red-light running, causing an accident and accumulating too many points on a driver’s record. Driving without insurance at the time of a car accident could also lead to license suspension under the Texas Safety Responsibility Act, as can causing an accident that results in personal injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in property damages.
If the state suspends your driver’s license, it will notify you by mail to the address on record. It will explain the reason for the suspension, in most cases, and provide the option for a hearing. If you wish to schedule a hearing, you have 20 days from receiving the notice to do so. You may be able to argue the suspension at a hearing, with or without help from a traffic violation attorney. Reinstating your driver’s license after suspension takes fulfilling all the requirements and paying a $100 fee.
What Are the Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License?
You cannot drive on a suspended license in Texas. Doing so could result in a Class C misdemeanor charge. A conviction for driving on a suspended license in Texas can come with a fine of up to $500. You may also need to satisfy other fines, such as a $250 surcharge to reregister your license for the following three years.
You could face steeper penalties – a Class B misdemeanor – if you have a previous conviction for driving without a license, driving while intoxicated or similar offenses. A Class B misdemeanor conviction could result in heftier fines, as well as up to six months in county jail. Finally, driving with a suspended license can increase the timeframe of your suspension or lead to driver’s license revocation. Revocation is the permanent removal of your driving privileges.
What If You Cause an Accident in Texas on a Suspended License?
Causing an accident while driving on a suspended license can lead to severe penalties. You may face criminal charges depending on the situation. In addition to a traffic citation and hefty fines, you could also face civil liability for causing an auto accident. Civil liability will not depend on whether you were driving on a suspended license, although the victim may be able to hold this against you to make you a less reliable witness. Instead, your liability will depend on whether you were negligent or reckless in causing the car accident.
Proof of your fault for causing the crash could make you civilly liable for the victim’s damages. This will mean your auto insurance company must pay for the victim’s losses related to the crash, such as medical expenses and vehicle damages. Your insurance premiums will most likely increase if found guilty of causing an accident on a suspended license. Your insurance company may even drop you as a customer. You may also have to pay a significant amount more for SR-22 insurance – auto insurance for high-risk drivers. Hire a Dallas car accident attorney if you cause an accident while on a suspended license in Texas.