LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Barrett Hansen | Aug 23, 2012

DRIVER’S LICENSE – SURCHARGES & SUSPENSIONS

CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS CAN IMPACT YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE – SURCHARGES & SUSPENSIONS

SURCHARGES

If you are convicted of a crime here in Texas, you may also find yourself facing administrative penalties assessed against your driver’s license. The Courts have ruled that there is no “double jeopardy" bar to these administrative penalties, so there are few legal arguments that can help you once you have a criminal conviction. Below are charts that are available (but hard to find) on the Texas DPS Website that show what surcharges are assessed for which convictions and which convictions will result in the suspension of your driving privileges. Assessments of surcharges do not trigger any type of civil hearing, but a conviction that can result in a suspension will trigger an Administrative License Revocation hearing. Notice of that hearing will be sent to the address on your official driver’s license, so if you have moved and failed to change the address, you need to contact the current residents at that address and ask them to please call you so you can pick up your mail from DPS or immediately change your address on your license. Failure to get the notice is NOT a defense to the assessment of surcharges. What you don’t know can indeed hurt you – a lot.

CRIMES THAT TRIGGER SURCHARGES:

Type of Conviction

Surcharge Per year for 3 years

1st Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Offense Texas or out-of state conviction

$1,000

Subsequent DWI Texas or out-of state conviction

$1,500

DWI with blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more Texas or out-of state conviction

$2,000

No Insurance

$250

Driving While License Invalid For example: license is canceled, suspended, or revoked

$250

No Driver License For example: no driver license, expired license, no commercial driver license, or endorsement violations

$100

Please note, the dollar amounts are that amount per year for three years. If you fail to pay your surcharges, your license is suspended and will not be reinstated until you have paid the surcharges PLUS the reinstatement fee of $200.00.

In the event your income does not exceed 110% of the Poverty Level, you may qualify for the TDPS Indigency Program. However, there is no sliding scale fee for anyone above that line.

SUSPENSIONS

Below is a chart setting out the most frequent causes of suspension of driving privileges:

TYPE OF CONVICTION

SUSPENSION FOR

Alcoholic Beverage Code violation (including possession of a fake ID in order to purchase alcoholic beverages

1st offense 30days

2nd offense 60 days

3rd offense 180 days

DWI and DWI with Child Passenge r (consult an attorney as there are lots of exceptions to increase these time frames).

1st offense 90 days to one year;

2nd offense 180 days to two years

Breath/blood test failure if 21 or older (consult an attorney as there are lots of exceptions to increase these time frames).

90 days

Breath/blood test failure if under 21 (consult an attorney as there are lots of exceptions to increase these time frames).

1st – 60 days

2nd – 120 days

3rd 180 days

Refusal of breath/blood test (consult an attorney as there are lots of exceptions to increase these time frames).

180 days

Violation of the Controlled Substance Act, including POM

180 days

Driving with License Invalid or Suspended (once you lose your driving privileges, you MUST get an occupational license if you intend to keep driving)

180 days

But there are also many others, listed below, without the length of suspension provided. It will behoove you to hire an attorney to help you navigate this complex and onerous area of criminal law.

OTHER OFFENSESTHAT WILL ALSO RESULT IN A SUSPENSION OF DRIVING PRIVILEGES:

Criminal negligent homicide;

Delivery, manufacture, or possession of Dangerous drugs by someone under the age of 21;

Driver’s License Fraud;

Evading arrest using a vehicle;

Failure of a juvenile to pay a fine in JP or muni court;

Failure of a minor to attend Alcohol Awareness Courses;

Fictitious license plates, registration, or inspection sticker;

Failure to Stop and Render Aid;

GRAFFITI;

Habitual Offender of license regulations (speeding, etc.);

Human trafficking by a juvenile’

Intoxication Assault;

Intoxication Manslaughter;

Manslaughter;

Motor vehicle felonies;

Purchasing alcohol for or furnishing alcohol to a minor;

Racing;

Registered Sex Offenders who do not apply for the “special" one-year DL;

Tampering with governmental records;

Theft of motor fuels.

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