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A suspended license is more than just an inconvenience. It can throw your career and livelihood into a tailspin, can cause tension within your close relationships, and it negatively effects your freedom to live your life the way you want to, including your independence to do things on your own, or even just run errands. It’s frustrating to have to rely on public transportation or a bicycle to get you to where you need to go, especially when you’re used to driving your car.

So how can you avoid getting a suspended license in Texas? Preventing a situation where you could lose your license or get it suspended means knowing and avoid scenarios that could end unfavorably.

Some common scenarios that could end in loss of license or suspension are as follows:

Accident While Driving Without Insurance

If you’ve been driving without car insurance, this is a risky move not only for your own physical safety, but the safety of drivers around you, your financial security, and your license. If you drive without insurance and are involved in a crash that results in property damages of at least $1,000 or an injury or death, the Texas Department of Public Safety will be notified and the uninsured driver could receive a license suspension.

However, there is a possibility of getting your license reinstate. The Texas Department of Public Safety needs to see either evidence of liability insurance that was effective before or at the time the crash took place, an Installment Agreement (SR-19), a Notarized Release (SR-11) from liability of judgment, or a money deposit and a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22), in addition to a SR-22A form that shows an insurance policy is pre-paid for at least six months. In addition to filling out these forms, anytime you want to reinstate your driver’s license, you will be required to pay a reinstatement fee.

Drug Conviction

If you’re facing drug charges, your license will very likely be at risk. If you’re convicted of a controlled substance charge in the state of Texas, not only will your license will be suspended for 180 days, but you will be required to complete a 15-hour Drug Education Program for each conviction, and the 15 hours will have to be done in-person. If you don’t have a valid Texas driver’s license before your drug conviction, you will barred from obtaining one for 180 days after your conviction.

There is a way to reinstate your driver’s license after a drug conviction, including paying a reinstatement fee, obtaining an SR-22 certification from an insurance company that must be maintained for two years after the drug conviction date, and you must complete all mandatory Drug Education Programs.

DWI Conviction

If you’ve been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) this can involve two kinds of suspensions on your license, including an administrative suspension and a criminal suspension. An administrative suspension is an immediate suspension if you’re pulled over and submit to a breathalyzer test that shows you are over the blood alcohol content limit in the state of Texas, which is .08%. If you blow at .08% or over, you are legally considered to be driving while intoxicated. You can refuse to take a breathalyzer test, but if you refuse during “no refusal” hours, your license will be administratively suspended. 

A criminal suspension will only take place if you’re convicted of a DWI, making professional and reliable legal representation all the more important. If you’re convicted, the length of your license suspension will be dependent on your case, including any previous DWI convictions.

Your first DWI conviction could get you anywhere from a 90-day to 1-year license suspension, a second conviction could get you a suspension of up to 2 years, and a minimum of 180 days. Upon a third DWI conviction, and any further convictions after, your license can be suspended from 180 days to 2 years. 

If you have become victim to a DWI conviction, a drug conviction, or one of the other ways we covered that could cause license loss or suspension, you may be able to maintain a driver’s license if you’re eligible to apply for an Occupational Driver’s License. A qualified attorney experienced with license suspension related convictions can help you figure out if you’re qualified for an Occupational Driver’s License, and will be able to help you make the necessary arrangements to obtain one.

Consistent Traffic Offender

When we talk about a consistent traffic offender, we’re not talking about the person who has a couple of speeding tickets under their belt. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, someone who is a habitual traffic offender has “seven or more moving traffic violations within a 24-month period” or “four or more moving traffic violations within a 12-month period.” If you currently have a restriction on your driver’s license due to previous incidents, and you are convicted of two or more offenses that conflict with that restriction, you are also at risk of getting your license suspended. These violations in the short-term will drive up your monthly insurance payment, and in the long-term could cause the loss of your license for an extended period.

If you have suffered the loss or suspension of your driver’s license, depending upon the circumstances, the Texas Department of Public Safety could find you eligible to request a hearing to content the suspension of your license. If you submit a request, it must be submitted within 20 days of the suspension, and it could take up to 120 days for a hearing to be scheduled. If you submit a request about the 20 day period, it will automatically be denied. 

Additionally, if you are granted a hearing, you are completely responsible for providing facts that refute your suspension. The presiding officer will be the one to decide if the suspension on your license is valid, or if it should ultimately be appealed. 

Thank you for visiting the Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine blog. We write to inform Austin locals about law changes, events and news.