Yes, you can get a DUI even if you don’t have a license. Depending on why you do not have a license, you might face separate charges for driving without a license and driving under the influence (DUI).
In general, driving without a license is a Class C misdemeanor and may be punished with fines. According to the Texas Transportation Code §521.457, you may also be charged with this offense if you are guilty of driving with an expired license or a license that was suspended or revoked.
However, if you were pulled over for a DUI in Dallas and the police officer discovered that your license was suspended or revoked, you might face separate penalties for both DUI and driving with an invalid license. Depending on the reason for your license suspension, you might still be able to fight for lesser penalties.
Underage People Can Be Charged with DUI and Other Alcohol Offenses
You might be more concerned about a DUI charge than a driving without a license charge, as DUIs have higher penalties and could stain a person’s driving record if the charge leads to a conviction.
Alcohol laws are different for underage drinkers, or people who are younger than 21 years of age. People of legal drinking age might be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher (or 0.04 percent for commercial license holders). However, underage drivers may get charged with DUI for having any alcohol in their system or their vehicle.
Texas law is strict on people under 21 to prevent as much underage drinking as possible, which means people under 21 might also face criminal charges for other alcohol-related offenses. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS), these charges might be related to:
- Buying or attempting to buy alcohol
- Lying about your age to buy or drink alcohol
- Drinking alcohol
- Being in possession of alcohol
- Being drunk in public
Many of these offenses can lead to license suspension even if you were not driving or intending to drive.
If you decide to work with a lawyer, they might review your case to see if you were lawfully arrested or if you were aware that you were consuming alcohol. For example, you might not have been read your Miranda rights, or you might have consumed a spiked drink. The key is to not panic, communicate with your lawyer, and see where your case might stand.
Your Lawyer Might Be Able to Lower Your Fines if Your License Was Expired
By law, all drivers in Texas must drive with a valid license. However, sometimes people get caught in an awkward window when their driver’s license expires. They might have renewed their license online and were waiting for their new license to come in the mail, or they might have just forgotten to renew their license by accident.
According to the Texas Transportation Code §521.025, driving without a license is punishable with a fine up to $200 on the first offense. However, per the Texas Transportation Code §521.026, you might be able to have the judge dismiss this charge if you agree to renew your license within 20 business days or before your first court appearance date, whichever date comes afterward.
Driving Under the Influence with a Suspended License Can Complicate Your Case
If you were driving with a suspended or revoked license, your case might get complicated depending on the reason for license suspension or revocation.
If your license was made invalid for a nonalcohol-related reason, such as having too many parking tickets, your lawyer might be able to lessen your penalties because your license suspension is unrelated to alcohol offenses.
However, if your license was suspended because of a previous DUI offense, you might face challenges. Driving with a suspended license may be listed as an aggravating factor in your case, which would showcase poor judgment. In this case, it may be important to scrutinize how you were arrested, your specific rights, and other legal factors related to your case.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Wants to Tackle Your Case
Texas criminal law is nuanced. You can get a DUI even if you don’t have a license, but you might face other charges depending on the reason you do not have a license.
Facing a DUI charge, let alone multiple charges, can make anyone feel anxious about what their future might bring. Our team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg wants you to know that we are willing to stand by your side and defend your case. Our lead attorney, Randall B. Isenberg, has had over 30 years of experience in the legal system as a former prosecutor and a state district judge.
Let us review your case and see what kind of charges you might be facing. We might be able to develop a defense strategy that can either eliminate or reduce the charges you are facing. Call (214) 696-9253 today for a free case evaluation.