Update your driver's license address... avoid a DWLS charge

From the Statesman’s online Blotter, DPS Reminder: Update Your Driver’s License Address:

The DPS wants to remind you to make one more New Year’s resolution - update the address on your driver license. Keeping a current address on your license provides DPS with the ability to communicate important information to you regarding your driver license. Plus, updating your driver license address is important because it’s the law.

That’s true; it’s actually a Class C misdemeanor in Texas to drive longer than 30 days without updating your address with DPS. But the article goes on to explain a better reason, perhaps, as well:

Another reason it is important for you to keep your address current is so that DPS can notify you if your license is suspended or revoked. If your address is not current, you may not receive this notification. If you are stopped for any reason and found to be driving on a suspended license, you can be arrested.

Licenses are often suspended or revoked for driving with no insurance, driving while intoxicated, for failing to appear in court for a citation or for failure to comply with the requirements of the Driver Responsibility Program.

The Department of Public Safety sends folks a notice of cancellation and/or suspension to the address they currently have on file – after all, where else could they send it? But very often these notices aren’t received because the person never updated their address with DPS.

I’ve never done a scientific study of the problem, nor have I kept an Excel spreadsheet of all my Austin DWLS clients, and the various reasons they were suspended. But my guess is that at least half of my clients who come to see me for a driving while license suspended arrest didn’t know that their license was suspended.

Of course, that usually means I have a pretty good defense to put forward on behalf of my client, but wouldn’t you rather not be arrested in the first place?

[Update: here's a printable change of address form to mail in to DPS, and here's the place to change your address online.]

Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Tim Bridges - January 24, 2007 9:21 AM

This has actually happened to me twice. I have moved several times in the last 4 years and updating the address on my driver's license was not the highest priority.

In 2004 my Texas license was suspended because I had neglected a traffic citation in Louisiana. Because I had recently moved, I didn't get notice until I was pulled over in Austin on a routine traffic stop and arrested for DWLS. Bail cost: $300 Lawyer Fees: (Lowest I could find) $800, Reinstatement Fee: $100, Fine: $225. Impound Fees: $165.

This breakdown in communication cost me well over $1,500 in addition to the social shame of being handcuffed and hauled to jail and two days of missed work.
I make only $25,000 a year and this was a tremendous setback.

Tamara Shippy - August 23, 2007 8:08 PM

I have dedicated many months of my time to prepare a report of sorts on the DRP. What I have discovered is that the entire fate of Texas is connected to the Surcharge Program. This is because the money from the unconstitutional program is earmarked for the Tran-Texas Corridor, which is a strategic segment of what is to become a super corridor that spans the entire North American Continent.

The state is suspending people's license over not paying an excessive surcharge fee that is in addition to what you agree to in court. What's more is the money is going to pay for the Corridor projects, without consent or knowledge or the People or Congress! I believe that spreading the word would enable individuals to better deal with the negative effects that the TX DRP has had on their lives, as well as have a say in their own future.

TX DRP Surcharge Petition
Tx">Tx">Tx">http://www.petitiononline.com/TXDRP07/petition.html>Tx DRP Surcharge Petition

Have you heard of this yet??

suzy - September 22, 2008 11:17 AM

Can you update your address on your texas drivers licence on line?

justin burns - August 30, 2009 8:57 PM

does he court in az have to prove that you were informed of your license suspension to convict you of dwls and where can I find out about the laws myself I am broke with no job and cannot afford a lawyer

monica - November 24, 2009 2:04 PM

I did not know my license was suspended. Me and my family moved to Wichita Kansas from California and the police officer told me he could not get through my record and had to take me to the police station. She also asked me for my social security number, and where was I born and when I told her I was born in mexico she laugh. I just did not see that was right to do. What can I do? An do I have to pay for the 2,500dlrs bail?

Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.

Remember personal info?