If you were in a car accident without a license in Texas, police will likely issue you a ticket when they respond to the crash. On your first offense, the penalties will be relatively light. That is why it is essential you do not try to leave the scene or try to convince the other party not to call police after a car accident. That can lead to much more serious consequences when police catch up with you.
What Do Texas Driver’s License Laws Say?
Under Chapter 521 of the Texas Transportation Code, everyone who drives a motorized vehicle on public roads must have a valid driver’s license and must have it on them while driving. Violating this statute can result in a misdemeanor criminal charge. A first offense usually leads to relatively minor penalties, but multiple or repeated offenses can lead to jail time and significant fines.
All 50 states have similar laws in place to ensure that every driver meets a minimum standard of training and experience before they get behind the wheel. Getting a driver’s license is a privilege that constitutes an agreement between you and the state that you will follow certain laws and practices driving, or you risk losing the privilege. This plays a key role in keeping Texas roads safe, so police and the courts take it seriously.
Are There Criminal Penalties for Driving Without a License?
If this is the first time police have caught you driving without a license, you will likely receive a ticket and a small fine. A second offense usually also only brings a fine, although it may increase in cost compared to the first ticket. A third offense, however, will likely result in a fine of as much as $500 and between 72 hours and six months in jail.
You also may face other charges if you caused the crash. This could include anything from minor traffic violations to serious accusations, such as vehicular homicide or criminally negligent homicide. If you caused a drunk driving (DWI) accident, the state is likely to pursue charges. You may want to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney if you believe you may face serious charges stemming from your crash.
In addition to criminal penalties following an accident without a license, you will also have administrative penalties through the state’s Driver Responsibility Program. Participation in this program is mandatory if you violate certain traffic- and vehicle-related laws. This includes driving without a license. Under this program, you will need to pay an additional surcharge each year for three years when you renew your driver’s license.
What Are the Civil Liabilities for Driving Without a License in Texas?
Driving without a license does not automatically ruin your chances of winning a payout if another driver caused your accident. You can still file a successful third-party liability insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. However, you should expect them to raise the issue and try to say you contributed to your injuries and damages. This could damage your case and reduce the value of your settlement, so you should discuss your case with a car accident lawyer before filing your claim.
If the other driver claims you caused the accident, not having a license does not mean you have to accept liability for the crash. However, it is likely a judge could see it as negligent behavior if you also drove carelessly or recklessly and this caused the accident. While driving without a license will likely not support a successful civil case against you on its own, it can certainly make matters worse.
How Can I Reach a Texas Car Accident Attorney About My Civil Case?
The Texas car crash lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, can help you understand your options for filing an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit after a Texas car accident. We can review your accident and explain the strength of your case, even if the other driver did not have a license or you were the one driving without the license.
Call us today at 713-850-8600 to schedule your free case evaluation. We can answer all of your questions about what happens if you get in an accident without a license in Texas.