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Many, many times over the past 37 years I have seen criminal problems created or made worse by someone not notifying DPS of an address change when they have a driver's license and change their residence without telling DPS of the address change.

Here is what the Texas Transportation Code requires you to do when you change your residence:


(a)  This section applies to a person who:

(1)  after applying for or being issued a license or certificate moves to a new residence address;

(2)  has used the procedure under Section 521.121(d) and whose status as a federal judge, a state judge, or the spouse of a federal or state judge becomes inapplicable; or

(3)  changes the person's name by marriage or otherwise.

(b)  A person subject to this section shall notify the department of the change not later than the 30th day after the date on which the change takes effect and apply for a duplicate license or certificate as provided by Section 521.146.  The duplicate license must include the person's current residence address.

(c)  A person changing the person's address shall notify the department of the old and new addresses and the number of the license or certificate held by the person. A person changing the person's name shall notify the department of the former and new names and the number of the license or certificate held by the person.

(d)  A court may dismiss a charge for a violation of this section if the defendant remedies the defect not later than the 20th working day after the date of the offense and pays an administrative fee not to exceed $20. The court may waive the administrative fee if the waiver is in the interest of justice."

You might ask, why is this issue important enough to warrant its own page on a lawyer's website??? The answer is: if you fail to let DPS know of your current address, then DPS cannot tell you important information about the status of your driver's license that you would probably want to know about.

There are a few ways that your driver's license can be suspended that a lot of people are not aware of.  For instance, if you get a ticket for not having automobile liability insurance and then plead guilty or no contest to that charge, you will end up with a conviction for No Insurance (also known as Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility). If you get a conviction for No Insurance, your driver's license will be SUSPENDED unless you submit an SR-22 form from an insurance company stating that you have fixed the "no insurance" problem by purchasing liability insurance. You will get a notice in the U.S. mail from DPS TELLING YOU THAT YOU MUST SUBMIT AN SR-22 FORM UNLESS YOU HAVE FAILED TO KEEP DPS INFORMED OF YOUR CURRENT MAILING ADDRESS.

If you do not receive an important notice from DPS regarding a driver's license suspension due to your failure to keep them informed of an address change, that does not stop the suspension. Your driver's license will still be suspended, but you will probably only find out about the suspension when you get pulled over for allegedly speeding or allegedly running a stop sign or some other relatively minor traffic offense. The officer who pulls you over will find out on his/her radio that your license is suspended and YOU WILL PROBABLY GO TO JAIL FOR DRIVING WITH A SUSPENDED DRIVER'S LICENSE.

I have had many clients over the years that have had this happen to them. This could have been prevented if they had simply notified DPS within 30 days of an address change EACH AND EVERY TIME THEY CHANGED THEIR RESIDENCE. You can do this in person at a driver's license office or online at TexasOnline.Com. They charge an eleven dollar fee to change your address and it could prevent an embarrassing and inconvenient arrest in the future.

An address change is not extremely important if you have a relative who is remaining at the old address who will let you know if and when you get important mail from DPS regarding the status of your driver's license. Otherwise, notifying DPS about an address change is very important to you.

Another scenario that I have seen happen many times over the years is that someone writes a check that is not honored by their bank for some reason. Sometimes it is simply bad or sloppy bookkeeping such as a math error in their checkbook or a deposit that they made to their account that bounced and caused one or more of their own checks to bounce. If this happens at approximately the same time you change your address, you may not find out about it until you are stopped by a peace officer for an alleged traffic violation and they discover there is an arrest warrant out for you for theft by check.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE that you are not necessarily guilty of the offense of Theft by Check just because you wrote a check that did not clear the bank. The prosecutor will have to show that you intended to steal from somebody when you wrote the check. However, you WILL get a free trip to jail and an arrest that will show up on your criminal history from the scenario that I have just described. Again, it could have been prevented by simply notifying DPS of an address change because most prosecutor's offices will start out by mailing a notice of the bad check to your last known address as maintained by DPS driver's license records.

If you accidentally write a bad check, they would much rather have the money for the bad check than have you arrested. However, they will have you arrested for a bad check if they cannot reach you by U.S. mail if that is the only way they can get their money for the bad check. (You can also avoid getting arrested for a hot check that you did not know about by RELIGIOUSLY reconciling your bank statement each and every month after you get your monthly bank statement in the mail from the bank. This is important!!!)

Feel free to call me at 512-630-3745 if you have a problem caused by a failure to notify DPS of an address change. I am here to help you with problems like this one.