December 10, 2012
There are a number of ways to lose your license in Texas. You can lose due to alcohol related events or criminal convictions. You can lose it for too many points assessed against your drivers license. You can lose it for being a habitually bad driver. Or, you can lose it because you are not physically or mentally able to operate a motor vehicle safely. In any case, losing your license is akin to losing a limb, especially in the great big state of Texas. When a person loses his/her license, it can be suspended, invalidated, or revoked. There are differences to each and potential responses to each.
- Invalid License: When a person has an outstanding “hold” on their license which makes the license void for use. For example, the person has outstanding surcharges against their license or warrants for past due tickets. If the person removes the hold, the license becomes valid again for use. The Remedy: Remove the hold OR obtain an occupational license until the hold can be lifted.
- Suspended License: When a person has a conviction or an event has occurred which renders their license void for use for defined period of time. For example, a conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can cause a suspension of a license for up to a year or more. After the suspension period is over, the license can be reinstated. Additionally, some events can cause the person’s license to be suspended for an infinite amount of time but can be remedied at any time. For example, a person receives a conviction for driving without proof of financial responsibility (i.e., no insurance), then their license can be suspended forever or until the person files an SR-22 proof of insurance with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Then, the license can be reinstated. Unlike invalidated licenses, most suspended licenses cannot be reinstated by simply fixing the “problem.” The suspension period must generally be served out before the license is eligible (a.k.a., valid) again. The Remedy: Wait for the suspension to end OR obtain an occupational license.
- Revoked License: When an event or condition completely takes away the license from a driver. For example, a person has reached an advanced age where they can no longer operate a vehicle safely. This is known as a medical revocation. The license cannot be reinstated by simply fixing the problem. DPS must be satisfied that the person can meet the minimum safety requirements. The Remedy: Resubmit an application to drive. An occupational license is not available to people whose license has been revoked.
I think the biggest difference between the three listed above is that for an invalid or suspended license, the license is still issued to the person but cannot be used. While, the revoked license is completely taken away from the person and not available again for use. That is why an invalidation or suspension qualifies for an occupational license.
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