Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) Questions

I have been reading your blog and The Wretched of the Earth's (by Poverty Lawyer 1) blog and I find both blogs very informative, easy to understand, and written by competent and organized minds!  You have both had articles that taught me things about my case that I need to be concerned about.  (Thank you for the complement.)

Summary of My Questions:

1) I got arrested for DWLS recently.  I want this arrest, fingerprints, mugshots, etc. removed from all government databases.  Does License Suspensions and Revocations Article 55.06--Texas Code of Criminal Procedure mean that there is no way for me to get this expunged, no matter what happens? 

No. If you are acquitted, or your case is dismissed you will be entitled to expunge the arrest. (Since jury trials in DWLS cases are extremely rare, it’s more likely that the case would be reduced to a Class C traffic ticket, e.g. for whatever you were stopped for in the first place, or that the case would be dismissed outright, say in return for getting your license back in order, than to be acquitted.)

The section you are reading applies to folks who have their license suspended for DWI through the ALR process, but then have their criminal DWI case dismissed. In that scenario, the law allows you to erase the DWI arrest, but not the license suspension from your record.

2) If it is possible to get an expunction, how do I do it?

Assuming you qualify, you will need to file a petition to expunge the arrest and include all the government agencies that have those records in your petition. There are, of course, more steps after that. Frankly, you really need a lawyer to do this correctly. I’ll ask you to believe me, despite my possible “hire a lawyer” bias.
 
3) If I get a dismissal, I don't want any possibility that the case can be refiled.  Is there any way to ensure that?  Like by asking for a dismissal with prejudice?

Dismissals granted during the initial two year statute of limitations for misdemeanors are rarely granted “with prejudice”, meaning in theory the State is free to refile them. However, dismissals in most criminal cases are going to be by way of negotiated agreement. Therefore, the State rarely refiles cases that they have agreed to dismiss.

BACKGROUND: I was arrested in Travis County recently for Driving While License Suspended.  I would guess you are familiar with this growing problem where people get convicted of not having insurance, then don't get the notice of the DPS surcharge, therefore don't pay it, and are suddenly arrested for DWLS.  That's exactly what happened to me.  There are more details that make this situation more of an injustice, but I will leave them out since I don't think they are relevant to my questions.

I am very familiar with this situation. In fact, to quote myself from another post on the subject, “…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.”  This is, not coincidentally, what provides the basis for the defense in most DWLS cases, and therefore leads to a negotiated dismissal.
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Comments (21) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Jake - December 16, 2007 11:47 AM

I was stoped by a police man in Garland, Tx. just my luck they where stoping everyone and when the cop scanned my licence he said it was suspended, he did not give me a ticket all he said you can go and I am going to make at large, 6 months later I get a call from my sister saying that the police came looking for me at my dad's house that they had a warrant for driving while a suspended licence. I am now living and have been living in Fl. for about 3 months now do to work, I want to return to Tx to take care of this warrant ASP my question is what penalties will I be faceing when I return next week?

linda - January 4, 2008 8:17 AM

hi my boyfriend have a probation bacause a fight he make time in jail but his licence was suspended because a DUI 4 years ago he drive without a licence and when he go to play guilty of the traffic ticket they say is jail time what you think is gonna happen to him?

Jenn - February 4, 2008 10:45 AM

How many dwls can you get before it becomes a felony?

carol cotter - March 4, 2008 7:10 AM

My boy friend drives slow he uses cruise control always. he got pulled over and officer said he was going 10 miles over speed limit. him and i have driven separate cars and always use cruise his car goes the same as mine on cruise.. in the mean time they said his license in florida was suspended shouldnt he get a notice of suspension? he also took car of the problem and got his license legal. he goes to court tommorow

tiare - April 15, 2008 5:15 PM

how many times can u get stoppen with a suspended drivers licens before doing any jail time?

M.J. - June 16, 2008 9:27 AM

I have a suspended license from Florida (from 5 years ago) I'm just finding out now though, and I now live in Arkansas. Can I get the suspension lifted over the internet and through the mail without having to go back to Florida?
I've completed the 12 hour driver's course recently also. I've done te driver's license recond search online and my licnese # isn't coming up on them.
I would just like to get this behind me and done as painless as possible. Any answers would be greatly appreciated.

natalie - July 12, 2008 11:22 AM

my driver's license is suspended and i have 1 ticket that i know of. Is there a way that i can find out if i have anymore tickets besides going down to the dmv. I called the jefferson County dl hotline but it only tells me about 1 ticket that i have .. if i go down there and try to get my license back and i have some unpaid tickets i'm going to jail ...so how would i go about finding out if i have anymore tickets besides that one?

BRANDI - September 2, 2008 12:11 PM

i have a expired and suspended driverlicense form florida and now live in texas mailed my stuff to reien state and it got lost in the mail can i apply for a texas license with the money order recipt. and my old license.

jim mcguire - September 28, 2008 2:00 AM

I received my third DWLS about 1 month ago. I live in Michigan and am curious as to what the punishment at sentencing is likely to be. As you know, MI has the responsibility act, which I simply could not afford-this is the main reason I did not have a valid license- I'm 38 yrs. old, possess a masters degree and live on a very limited budget-I'm on disability due to Tourrettes syndrome. I have yet to receive even an arraignment date. I realize there are many factors which may be considered by the court. Simply curious as to what you suggest. Please respond ASAP to my e-mail address; I would very much appreciate it. I realize you're in Texas. I suppose if I don't here from you, I will give your firm a call. Thank you.

dawn - October 29, 2008 9:05 AM

my fiance has had his license suspended 3 times within 3 years. he just restored his license. he has court next week for his 3rd offense. will he lose his driving privlages again?

rudy - December 14, 2008 8:38 PM

i got pulled over and got a ticket for driving with suspended license for the third time whats the max sentence i live in michigan

rudy - December 14, 2008 8:38 PM

i got pulled over and got a ticket for driving with suspended license for the third time whats the max sentence i live in michigan

Randy - January 14, 2009 1:22 PM

I have about 4 counts DWLS and I am not working right now.I had not drove in about two years but one day last week I was so hungry that I drove across the street to jack in the box. after I got my food I came right back home and park the car.While i was entering my house a cop pull up and ask me to see my ID some i walked back to the car and he took me to jail for DWLS.I want to solve this problem but I really dont know how....

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ARNELDER JACKSON - December 9, 2009 6:43 PM

Can a person be arrested for dwls even if the person is not behind the wheel of a car at the time the vehicle was pulled over?

GARY MUNGEN - May 5, 2010 10:11 PM

I GOT OUT OF PRISON IN 09 FOR D.W.L.S AND IN 09 I GET A M2 D.W.L.S NOW IN 2010 I GOT A F3 D.W.L.S CAN I GO BAK TO PRISON FOR THAT?

GARY MUNGEN - May 5, 2010 10:20 PM

I GOT OUT OF PRISON IN 09 FOR D.W.L.S AND IN 09 I GET A M2 D.W.L.S NOW IN 2010 I GOT A F3 D.W.L.S CAN I GO BAK TO PRISON FOR THAT?

lou - March 4, 2011 10:48 PM

I was suspended in florida but was caught in ga dwls and now there charging me like its my 2nd offence with a 1335 dollar fine 10 days in jail and 12 months prob.....to me that's pretty extrem for a traffic ticket...can they hold my florida driving record against me in the state of ga?

lou - March 4, 2011 10:48 PM

I was suspended in florida but was caught in ga dwls and now there charging me like its my 2nd offence with a 1335 dollar fine 10 days in jail and 12 months prob.....to me that's pretty extrem for a traffic ticket...can they hold my florida driving record against me in the state of ga?

Cherelle - July 17, 2014 6:37 PM

DUI April of 2011- interlock device,dui classes,device removed feb 2014
1st DWLS Aug 2012- community service
2nd DWLS April 2013-60 days
3rd DWLS June 2014-?

Krysta W - November 2, 2014 2:57 PM

I recently got pulled over twice for DWLS and am nervous about what will happen in court. The officer only gave me a citation both times. How long will my license be taken? I won't go to jail will I?

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