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Q

In Texas, if you get pulled over and you don't have your license with you, but do have a current driver's license, what happens?


A

Driving without a valid license is against the law in Texas and chapter 521 of the TX Transportation code gives information on the offense and penalties associated with a conviction of this violation.

Section 521.021 of the transportation code is title License Required. Here it states that a person, other than a person expressly exempted under this chapter, may not operate a motor vehicle on a highway in this state unless the person holds a driver's license issued under this chapter.

Then section 521.025 is titled License to be carried and exhibited on demand gives more information on this situation as well as information on the criminal penalty associated with it.

Subsection (a) states that a person required to hold a license under Section 521.021 shall:

(1) have in the person's possession while operating a motor vehicle the class of driver's license appropriate for the type of vehicle operated; and

(2) display the license on the demand of a magistrate, court officer, or peace officer,

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(b) A peace officer may stop and detain a person operating a motor vehicle to determine if the person has a driver's license as required by this section.

(c) A person who violates this section commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $200.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution under this section if the person charged produces in court a driver's license:

(1) issued to that person;

(2) appropriate for the type of vehicle operated; and

(3) valid at the time of the arrest for the offense.

(e) The judge of each court shall report promptly to the department each conviction obtained in the court under this section.

(f) The court may assess a defendant an administrative fee not to exceed $10 if a charge under this section is dismissed because of the defense listed under Subsection (d).

So it would appear that if you had a valid license, just not in your possession at the time of you being stopped by law enforcement and ticketed for driving without a license or without proof of your license, that you should be able to get this ticket dismissed. One Texas court notes this may be dismissed if you correct the violation within 10 days of receiving the ticket, and pay a $10.00 dismissal fee instead of the fine amount.

Another court notes that to get a driver's license ticket dismissed you must show proof of Driver's License valid at the time of the offense and the prosecutor in your case must make a motion to dismiss. It is a $20 fee, which is different than what the TX law says above so it may just be an extra cost by this one court.

There may be a time limit set by the court in order to dismiss the ticket instead of being charged with the offense. We have read both 10 and 20 days, so if you were cited for this offense you should contact the Texas court on your citation and find out what their specific procedure is for dismissing your ticket.

They may require something from the TX Department of Public Safety (DPS) stating your license was valid and not just you showing your driver's license to the court so make sure you know what fee is due, how soon you must get this done and what proof to bring with you so that you can get this offense dismissed without paying a fine or having it listed on your driving record.


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