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Is Driving Without Insurance a Crime in Texas?

Is Driving Without Insurance a Crime in Texas?

Drivers of motor vehicles have many legal duties, including the obligation to purchase auto insurance coverage and ensure that the coverage meets the state’s minimum coverage requirement.

In Texas, you can be charged with a crime for driving without insurance or a valid driver’s license. If the police caught you driving a motor vehicle without sufficient insurance coverage or no car insurance at all, you could face serious penalties.

Do not hesitate to contact a Belton criminal attorney if you have been charged with driving without insurance in Texas.

Is Car Insurance Required in Texas?

Texas requires all drivers to carry car insurance that meets minimum coverage requirements. Auto insurance is required to cover damages and losses arising from car crashes.

Since Texas is an at-fault insurance state, a motorist’s insurance policy will cover the victim’s medical bills, the cost of vehicle repairs, and other damages if the driver is at fault for causing the collision.

Minimum requirements for auto insurance in Texas include:

  • $30,000 for injuries per person;

  • $60,000 for injuries per accident (for all individuals involved in the crash); and

  • $25,000 for property damages.

You may also purchase additional insurance policies that cover your own damages and losses even if you were at fault for causing the crash. Auto insurance providers also offer uninsured and underinsured motorist policies.

What is Considered a Proof of Insurance in Texas?

Under Texas law, all drivers must purchase and maintain at least the minimum required amounts of car insurance. Under Texas Transportation Code § 601.053, drivers must also carry proof of insurance at all times when operating a vehicle.

Proof of insurance is considered a copy of the driver’s insurance card. Alternatively, you can keep an electronic version of the insurance card on your phone.

A police officer has a right to ask you to show proof of insurance during a traffic stop or when you are involved in a car crash.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Texas

If you have auto insurance but cannot show proof of insurance during a traffic stop or after being involved in a car crash, you could be ticketed and ordered to pay a fine.

However, if you do not have any car insurance coverage or your insurance policy does not meet the minimum requirements, the consequences could be more severe.

Note: In Texas, uninsured drivers cannot face jail time for driving without insurance.

Let’s review the penalties for driving without insurance in the State of Texas:

  • Traffic ticket and fine. If you are caught driving without insurance for the first time, you will receive a traffic ticket and a fine of up to $350. In addition, a $250 surcharge will be added to your driver’s license per year.

  • Fines for second and subsequent offenses. If you are caught driving without insurance a second or subsequent time, the fine could increase to up to $1,000.

  • Driver’s license revocation. For repeat offenses, you may face possible revocation of the driver’s license and even vehicle impoundment.

Do not hesitate to speak with a criminal defense lawyer if you are facing criminal charges for driving without insurance. You still have a chance to avoid a conviction on your criminal record.

Other Consequences of Driving Without Insurance

The above-mentioned penalties are not the only consequences of driving without insurance. You may face potentially larger expenses when you cause a car accident and must pay for the injured victims’ damages and losses out of pocket.

If you do not have auto insurance, you will be held liable for any damages and losses caused to accident victims if you are at fault for causing the collision. Depending on the severity of the crash, the total costs could reach tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Maintaining sufficient auto insurance coverage helps you avoid personal liability for the costs associated with any car crashes you cause.

Is It a Crime to Drive Without a License?

Yes, driving without a license is a crime in Texas, and so is driving with a revoked or suspended driver’s license.

If you get caught driving without a valid driver’s license in Texas, you could face the following consequences:

  • Your motor vehicle could be impounded if there is no licensed driver in the vehicle with you.

  • You will get a ticket for driving without a license.

  • You will be arrested and may spend time in jail.

  • You will have to pay a fine of up to $200 for a first offense.

If you are driving without a driver’s license and you cause a car accident in which someone is injured, you will face harsher penalties, including up to a year in jail.

Is It a Crime to Drive With a Revoked/Suspended License?

Driving with a revoked or suspended license is considered the offense of Driving While License Invalid, or DWLI, which is classified as a Class C misdemeanor in Texas.

If you are caught driving with a suspended or revoked license for the first time, your license will be suspended again. It means that the duration of the license suspension will double. In addition, you will face a fine of up to $500 and a $250 surcharge to your license per year paid for three years.

The offense is elevated to a Class B misdemeanor if you get caught driving with a revoked or suspended license a second time. The offense is punishable by up to six months in jail in addition to a maximum fine of $2,000.

Consult with a Belton Criminal Attorney

Do not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney if you get caught driving without insurance/license or driving with a revoked or suspended license.

Driving without insurance is a serious crime in Texas. If you are convicted, you could face severe penalties, including a fine, surcharge to your driver’s license, as well as possible license revocation and vehicle impoundment.

Speak with our Belton criminal attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to determine the best defense strategies to avoid a conviction in your case. Call 254-501-4040 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.

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