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What Happens if I Get Pulled Over Without My License?

You can get charged with a criminal misdemeanor for failing to carry your driver’s license while driving; if you show the court that you had a valid driver’s license at the time of the traffic stop, you can get the charges dropped, and you will only have to pay a small fee.

Very often, the police pull someone over for a trivial reason, such as a broken taillight, and then the problems escalate from there. Depending on how intent the officer is on issuing a ticket or making an arrest, they can scrutinize your behavior and your vehicle for what seems like forever.  At all traffic stops, the officer will ask you to show your driver’s license and vehicle registration; this is routine procedure. Before you took the test to get your driver’s license, you probably learned that you must always carry a valid driver’s license whenever you drive. You can face criminal penalties for not having your driver’s license with you when you are driving, even if your license is in your wallet on the kitchen table and you are just moving your car to make room for your roommate to pull his car out of the driveway. The good news is that a Travis County criminal defense lawyer can help you get these charges dropped more easily than for other traffic offenses that carry criminal penalties.

Texas Penalties for Failure to Carry Your Driver’s License

Failure to carry a valid license when driving is a criminal misdemeanor. If it is your first offense, it is punishable by a fine of less than $200. The fine increases if you get pulled over without your license for the second time in a year. For the third offense, you can be sentenced to jail for anywhere from three days to six months instead of or in addition to the fine. If the reason that an officer asks you to show your license is because you were involved in an accident, and it is later determined that the accident was your fault, then failing to produce a valid driver’s license at the officer’s request becomes a Class A misdemeanor.

How to Fight Charges of Failure to Carry Your Driver’s License

If you do not have your license with you when you get pulled over, you can get the charges dropped if you show your driver’s license at your court date. The court will only drop the charges if the license you show fits all of the following criteria:

  • It is issued to you.
  • It was valid at the time of the traffic stop. (If it was issued after the traffic stop, it will not help you.)
  • It is valid for the type of vehicle you were driving. (If you were driving a bus when you got pulled over, but the license you show is only valid for cars, it will not help.)

If the judge drops the charges, you will still have to pay a small fee, usually $10.

A Traffic Violations Defense Lawyer Will Help Stop a Minor Mistake from Turning into a Major Legal Problem

A criminal defense lawyer can help you fight criminal charges resulting from traffic stops.  Contact Granger and Mueller in Austin, Texas or call (512) 474-9999.