Driving Without License Can Hurt DWI Defense
Driving without a valid driver’s license is a relatively minor charge in Texas when compared to driving while intoxicated. Driving with a suspended license is more serious, but a first-time offense will not result in jail time unless there are other factors. Combining this charge with a DWI charge is more consequential for defendants. The penalties for driving without a license or with a suspended license will still seem light when compared to a DWI conviction. However, this minor charge can hurt your defense against your DWI charge because it makes you seem irresponsible.
Driving Without a License
Being charged with driving without a driver’s license is less severe than being charged with driving with a suspended license. Driving without a license may occur if you:
- Have a valid license but cannot prove it because you do not have it during your traffic stop;
- You never applied for a driver’s license; or
- You allowed your license to expire.
You may be able to dismiss the charge if you can later prove that you did have a valid license. A first-time offense may result in a fine of no more than $200. A second offense within one year would hold the same maximum fine, though there is now a minimum $20 fine. A third offense within one year of the second offense could result in a maximum of six months in jail and a maximum $500 fine.
Driving With a Suspended License
Driving while your driver’s license is suspended is a class C misdemeanor if it is a first-time offense. The penalties include a maximum $500 fine and a possible extension of your suspension period. However, there are aggravating factors that can make the charge more serious:
- It is a class B misdemeanor if your license was suspended because of a DWI conviction and could result in as many as 180 days in jail and as much as a $2,000 fine; and
- If you are involved in an accident that results in serious injury or death, it is a class A misdemeanor and punishable by as long as one year in jail and a fine of as much as $4,000.
Driving without a license or with a suspended license is an aggravating factor in a DWI case. License-related charges are more straightforward than DWI charges because whether you have a valid license to drive is a matter of fact. Unfortunately, a license-related offense may work against you when the court is considering your DWI charges. You have already displayed poor judgment if you drove without a license. It is easier for the court to conclude that you also made the mistake of driving while intoxicated. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock will defend you based on whether there is actual evidence of you committing a DWI offense. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.