Penalties for Your Car Driving Without a License

Driving without a license is an offence in the state of Texas under Chapter 521 of the Texas Code of Transportation according to which all persons operating a vehicle on a highway should carry a driver’s license that is valid. Violation of this law will result in a charge of misdemeanor. The consequences of driving without a license may become progressively more severe if the offence has been repeated multiple times. The penalty for violating this law is:

  • If it a first time offence or lost document then a fine no greater than $200 will be charged.
  • For violating this law for the second time within a year of the first offense then a fine ranging from $25 to $200 will be imposed.
  • In case the offense is repeated for the third time within a year of the second offence then it will result in a fine ranging up to $500 along with time in jail for duration no less than 72 hours and not more than 6 months.

Penalties beside a Fine

Besides the fine, the offender may have to pay certain other fees and costs as well for driving without a license in the state of Texas. For example, Driver Responsibility Program has been instituted by the state of Texas which is mandatory for certain violations related to vehicles. Driving without a license in one of the offenses and the offender will have to pay a surcharge of $100 per year for three years after he has committed the offense.

Besides the fine, some restrictions might also be imposed on the offender, such as revocation of the existing driver license. The offense of driving without a license is different from driving with a license that has been revoked or suspended. Both these offenses are misdemeanors. However, driving with a license that has been suspended is a more serious offense with more penalties.

Some department of judiciary may also require that the defendant’s vehicle should be impounded and towed and the offender will have to bear those costs as well.

The total fine the offender might have to pay in case he is caught driving without a license is largely up to the Judge presiding over the case. In order to know the exact cost of the offence you should visit the local municipality.


In Case a Minor Gets Caught Driving Without a License

In case the offender is a minor then in addition of the fine the total cost will also include impounding fee, towing cost, and court fee. The car will be impounded even if the car is owned by the parents of the minor. The fine may be up to $200 in addition to the other costs mentioned. The offence will only show in the records of the minor and it might affect the time period until the minor can obtain a license when he/she attains the suitable age. In addition to the records the minor might also have to spend 6 months to a year in a juvenile correctional facility depending on the severity of the offence or might only be charged with a few hours of community service. In some cases parents might also be charged for negligence and allowing their child to drive a car when he is a minor.

Driving without a license is a serious offence and should be avoided at all costs.

In case you have lost your driver’s license, or it got stolen or destroyed, or you want to change your name or address then you can request for a duplicate (also called replacement) driver license. To apply for a duplicate driver license in Texas, you should take the following steps:

  1. Visit nearby office of driver license.
  2. Complete the required paper work and application.
  3. Pay the applicable fee which is $11.
  4. Provide documents to verify your identity. For example an unexpired passport.
  5. In case you are not a U.S. citizen you need to provide documentation verifying that you are living in the United States legally.

You will also have to fill in your personal information such as Social Security Number and date-of-birth. If your Social Security Number is not the part of your driver record than you will also have to provide documents to verify your Social Security Number.

In Case of Stolen card

In case your driver’s license was stolen then you have to file a police record. To request a new number for your driver license you need to do the following:

  1. Visit the nearest establishment to get your driver’s license.
  2. Complete the required paper work and application.
  3. The copy of the police report that you filed.

Important: It is at the discretion of the DPS to issue you a new number.

For Changing Information

In case you want to change your name, gender, or address on your driver’s license, then you will have to apply for a duplicate (replacement) card.

Change of Address

The State of Texas requires you to change the address on your driver license within 30 days after you move to your new residence.

You can request a duplicate in one of the following ways:

  1. In-Person
  2. Main-In
  3. Online

In- Person

In case you cannot send in your application online nor want to send it by mail then you need to go the driver license office in person. For address change you need to take your documents and completely filled application to the office.


In case you cannot go in person or cannot fill the application online then you can also mail in your complete application. You cannot avail this option if you have Commercial Driver License, for that you need to go in person. Mail the application written on top of the form. Make sure that you have signed the application and have also included the required fee which is $11.


This is the easiest, most convenient and fastest way method to send the application for change of address.

Important: People are encouraged by DPS to change their address through Mail-In or Online if it is possible for them except for Commercial Driver license.

Name Change

If you want to change your name on your driver license then also you need to apply for a duplicate license. For that you need to:

Visit the nearby Driver License Office within 30 days of the change in name.

Present a valid document that verifies that you have indeed changed your name. This document should be original and not a copy of an original document. In case the document is not in English, then you also need to present a certified translation of the document.

The fee for a duplicate driver license is $11 irrespective of the reason of the change.