I recently attended a seminar which highlighted many unforeseen consequences of Drug related convictions. Most Texans do not realize the many consequences of a drug conviction; which includes Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of a Controlled Substance and Delivery/Manufacturing Offenses. Many defendants are aware of certain consequences such as the terms of jail time, court costs, fines and/or Probation. These consequences can be overwhelming and long-term consequences are often pushed aside to deal with the needs of the day – signing the final disposition paperwork in court and getting out of the court room. However, an often overlooked consequence of a Drug Offense conviction is the suspension of the Texas Driver’s License.
According to the Texas Department of Safety, people convicted of a drug offense or a controlled substance offense will have their driver’s license suspended for 180 days. Additionally, the defendant must complete an authorized Drug Education Program (DEP) through the Texas Department of State Health Services. DPS further states on their website, that a failure to complete the program will result in the revocation of a Driver’s License until such time as the Department receives the DEP completion certificate. This applies to ALL drug convictions – even if you never used a car in the commission of the Offense. In fact, a drug conviction is the only non-driving type of offense that has Driver’s License consequences.
According to DPS, people who do not have a Texas driver license at the time the offense was committed will be denied a Texas driver license for a period of 180 days. The 180 day suspension begins once the defendant makes initial contact with the Department’s Driver License Personnel and not until such time. Therefore, if you have received any type of drug conviction and you have an out-of-state driver’s license, go to a DPS office immediately so that your suspension will start and end as quickly as possible.
DPS also requires a reinstatement fee and proof of SR-22 insurance. In order to be in compliance with the law, SR-22 Insurance is required for two (2) years from the date of the conviction.
I caution everyone with a drug offense to think carefully before making a decision to plead guilty, as these DPS requirements are quite burdensome on most people’s personal and financial life. A “GUILTY” plea includes: No Contest, straight probation, credit for time served, jail time or simply paying the fine and court costs.