The 7 Most Common Ways to Get a Suspended License in Texas

The most common reason to get your license suspended in Texas is for getting a certain number of moving violations (traffic tickets) within 12 or 24 months.
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
Drivers in Texas will commonly get their driver’s license suspended for
driving while intoxicated (DWI)
or driving without insurance. But there are many other reasons why someone’s license might be suspended, such as habitually receiving traffic violations or other non-driving-related convictions.
Motor vehicles are great tools, but they can be incredibly dangerous. If it’s determined that you cannot be trusted to operate one safely, the government can suspend your license or even revoke it completely. 
However, the laws around license suspension vary between states, so it’s important for Texas residents to understand the particular rules pertaining to them.
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What’s the difference between a license suspension and a license revocation?

First off, it’s important to understand that getting your license suspended is not the same thing as having it revoked. Here’s the difference:
  • A license suspension is temporary. You won’t be allowed to drive for an allotted amount of time, but you will eventually be able to get your license reinstated if it is only suspended. The regular Texas license reinstatement fee is $100.
  • A license revocation is more permanent. Getting your license revoked often means you’ll have to completely reapply for a new license—if/when you’re allowed to. In other cases, you might have to comply with specific court charges to get your license back.
Suspensions, revocations, disqualifications, denials, and cancellations of Texas driver’s licenses are handled by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). You might have your license suspended for getting too many tickets in a short amount of time. In some cases where you can prove that you need to drive to school or work, you can apply for a restricted license, which may require installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
On the other hand you might have your license revoked if you are found to be medically unfit to drive or fail to comply with certain Texas laws or legal charges. For example, you can have your license revoked indefinitely for failing to pay child support.
There is a
full list of reasons
why you might lose your driving privileges on the
Texas DPS website
. Note that there are specific disqualification penalties for commercial drivers.

What can your license be suspended for in Texas?

If you follow that link above to the full list of driver license enforcement actions, you’ll notice that there are quite a few ways to get your license taken away in Texas. Here are some of the
more common reasons

1. Committing four moving violations in a single year

If you get four traffic tickets for moving violations in the span of 12 months, your license will receive a habitual violator departmental suspension. Moving violations include speeding tickets or tickets from at-fault accidents.
You can receive a similar departmental driver’s license suspension for getting 7 moving violations in a 24-month period. If you have a provisional license, you only need 2 moving violations in 12 months in order to receive a license suspension in Texas.
In each case, the suspension period is an automatic 90 days, but it can be suspended for up to 1 year if a
is requested.

2. Driving or boating while intoxicated or refusing a blood alcohol test

If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or boating while intoxicated (BWI) you will receive a suspension under the
Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program
If you refuse a breath test or blood test, you’ll receive an automatic 180-day suspension for a first offense and a 2-year suspension if you had any alcohol or drug related suspensions in the last 10 years. The same goes for minors in this case.
If you comply with the blood alcohol test, you’ll keep your license until the results are received by the DPS. If it turns out that you failed, you’ll receive a notice of suspension. The penalty is 90 days for first offenders and 1 year for offenders with previous DWI conviction
Minors who comply with a BAC test and fail get a 60-day suspension for a first offense, 120 days for a second offense, and 180 days for a third or more.

3. Getting in an at-fault accident

If you get in an accident in which you were at fault, it may fall under the scope of the Texas Safety Responsibility (SR) Act. Your license will be suspended if: 
  • The accident occurred on a public street or highway and
  • The accident resulted in bodily injury or death or at least $1,000 in damage
Your license will be suspended indefinitely until you comply with the terms of the insurance claim.

4. Driving without auto insurance

If you get in an accident and don’t have car insurance, your license may be suspended simply on the grounds of reasonable probability that you might be deemed to have been at fault. This is an indefinite SR suspension until due damages are paid.
Similarly, if you are caught driving without minimum liability insurance two or more times and fail to comply within the grace period, you’ll receive an indefinite suspension until you submit an
insurance form through an insurance company.

5. Driving with an invalid license

Your license will be suspended for an automatic 90 days and up to one year if a hearing was requested for driving while your license is invalid (DWLI). If your license was invalid because it was already suspended, more time will be added to the initial suspension period up to a maximum of two years. Driving with an invalid license is considered a Class C misdemeanor.
If you’re convicted of any of the following non driving related criminal charges, your license will be automatically suspended:
  • Drug offense - 180 days
  • Intoxication manslaughter - 6 months to 2 years
  • Intoxication assault - 90 days to 2 years
  • Evading arrest or detention - 1 year (first offense), 18 months (subsequent)
  • Purchasing/furnishing alcohol to a minor - 180 days

7. Out of state license suspension

If you’re charged with a license suspension in another state, your license will also be suspended in Texas. Similarly, if you try to apply for a Texas license while you have a suspended license in another state, it’ll show up on your driving record, and your license will likely be denied in Texas. 
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The best way to figure out how to satisfy your requirements for driver’s license eligibility is to use the Texas DPS Driver License Division’s
online license eligibility tool
. You can use this to view requirements and pay your reinstatement fees. You’ll need to log in using your driver’s license number, your date of birth, and the last four digits of your social security number.
In Texas, when you get points against your driver’s license, they affect your taxes. For example, a DWI conviction will force you to pay an extra surcharge in addition to your regular taxes. Failing to pay your surcharges can result in a further suspension of your license.
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