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ASK A COP — You can check your driver’s license status online

Ken from Port Neches asks: Officer Antoine, hopefully you’ll be able to assist me in finding the status of my state driver’s license.

I haven’t always been as safe and conscientious driver that I am today. My driving history will surely reflect said statement, meaning I’ve had my fair share of tickets. In fact, I got two tickets by you, Officer Antoine, may I add. But unlike many whom you’ve given tickets to in this area, I don’t fault you at all, sir,  you’re simply doing your job.

Is there anyway I can find out if my license is good, meaning NOT suspended? I was speaking with a coworker about my history and he told me my license was probably suspended. With the DPS being closed due to this coronavirus outbreak, how can I check to see if my license is good?

Answer: Well, I must welcome Ken to the elite group of motorists who are part of the driving solution, instead of the driving problem in Southeast Texas.

Ken, you’re correct with the global pandemic we are experiencing with COVID-19 better known as the coronavirus. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order that Texas Driver’s License Offices close.

Ken, be not dismayed; there is still a way to find out the status of your state of Texas issued drivers license. Ken, you and all state of Texas license holders can access the status of your licenses online. You will need to go to the Department of Public Safety website: texasapps.texas.gov. You will need to know your driver’s license number, date of birth, and last four digits of your social security number. Once you enter in that information, your answer will be either eligible or ineligible.

A status of “eligible” means you are allowed to drive if you have a valid driver license in your possession. “Ineligible” means your driving privileges have been revoked, meaning even if you have a license in your possession you are NOT permitted to drive a motor vehicle on the roadways of Texas.

Janice from Port Arthur asks: During a funeral procession, I observed a police vehicle hold up the traffic at an intersection, then the police officer left the intersection and my light turned green and the vehicles in the funeral procession continued to run the red light after the officer left the intersection. Is such disregard to traffic signals permissible during a funeral procession in Texas?

Answer: Police officers statewide provide escort families who are experiencing a very difficult moment in their lives. In order to make the transition smoother for the family and friends, police officers stop traffic at intersections and allow the funeral procession to proceed through and stay together, so they get a chance to bury their deceased loved ones together.

Janice, I’m sure we are all aware that once an officer stops all traffic at an intersection, ALL directions of traffic that the officer is stopping must stop. But once the officer leaves the intersection and the intersection light turns red, the funeral procession vehicles are no longer protected. So, Janice, the other vehicles were being respectful to allow the remaining procession vehicles to proceed through the red light, but keep in mind, just because someone is a part of a funeral procession, if the traffic signal is not overtaken by a police officer, the following procession is NOT permitted to disregard a red traffic signal.

Karen from Port Arthur asks: If someone is caught going over 25 miles of the posted speed limit, is this violation an automatic arrest? I’ve been told you will automatically be arrested if you are caught going 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit in Texas. Of course, my hubby disagrees. Please help, Officer Antoine, because a home-cooked dinner is pending on your answer!

Answer: In Texas, a driver cannot be arrested for the charge of SPEEDING, no matter what speeds they are accused of driving. I know that sounds weird, but Texas law is Texas law. So Karen, it sounds like you need to strap on your apron and get your menu ready to cook for your husband because he was right.

However, with that said, a driver can be arrested for reckless driving, which is a higher charge than speeding. The Texas Transportation Code defines reckless driving broadly as operating a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Reckless driving is a traffic misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $200.

Now, here’s the twist: if an Officer believes you are reckless for going 25 mph over the speed limit, then “YES,” you can be arrested for reckless driving, not speeding. Sorry, Karen (laughing).

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. as he discusses the newly released Ask A Cop article. You can also tune in at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in and ask your question live to at -409-982-0247. Email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or voicemail question or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!