ASK A COP — Can you get in trouble for no license in a wreck that’s not your fault?
Published 12:13 am Tuesday, August 4, 2020
AC3 from Port Arthur asks: If a police officer is investigating a wreck, and during the investigation it is discovered the driver of the non-at-fault vehicle did not have a driver’s license or insurance, would that change the outcome of the investigation?
Answer: Motorists not having a driver’s license and operating a motor vehicle without the state of Texas-mandated minimum insurance coverage is a BIG problem in Port Arthur, in Jefferson County and in all of the state of Texas. In my experience as a police officer I can say that 1 out of 4 vehicles on the roadway do NOT possess both of the documents (driver’s license or insurance) that you mentioned while they still operate vehicles.
Police officers must still do a good investigation. The fact that the non-fault driver did not possess a valid license or insurance coverage has no bearing on who’s at fault for the crash. I’m sure the driver without insurance and a driver’s license will leave the scene with citations that address their failure to obtain a valid license or insurance and, unfortunately many times, both. Driving a motor vehicle on the roadway of Texas is NOT a right; it’s a privilege and the state of Texas gives the license and the state of Texas can take the license away.
Todd from Groves asks: My friend Mark and I are at odds about his driving skills. Mark believes his signal light gives him permission to change lanes or merge into traffic. When Mark puts on his signal, please believe he’s fixing to change lanes most times, making vehicles slow down behind him, and he thinks that’s right.
The same thing goes for when he merges on the highway from the feeder. Mark has the nerve to say, “They saw my blinker and know I want to enter that lane.”
Answer: My first question is, does Mark possess a valid Texas driver’s license? Mark is as wrong as the day is long if he believes his vehicle signal lamps allow him safe passage to whatever lane he desired. The ONLY time anyone in Texas can change lanes is when it is safe to do so. Just because you signal your intent to change lanes doesn’t mean your signal gives you automatic permission to change lanes. You must wait until it’s safe and “get in where you fit in.” Law enforcement deals with so many motorists who fail to use their signals. Well, let Mark know he’s wrong in his driving behavior, he should stop that practice immediately and become part of the driving solution instead of the driving problem in Southeast Texas.
Christine from Port Arthur asks: I was discussing driving laws with my cousin and we got on the subject of outstanding warrants for arrest. She said a coworker of hers had outstanding warrants for driving infractions committed in a different city, and her license was suspended because of the warrant. This blew me away and I can’t seem to believe this to be true. Can you get points on your license or have your license suspended for having outstanding warrants for your arrest for traffic infractions?
Answer: I don’t believe the state will suspend your license for an outstanding warrant for a traffic citation, but the state can/will DENY renewal of said driver license if a court reports that said license holder failed to report to court or failed to complete the payment agreement. Under the Failure to Appear/Failure to Pay Program, the department may deny the renewal and your license will not be able to be renewed until obligations has been satisfied. Once a license holder has satisfied the court, he or she is able to approach the department to renew the license.
Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tune in at ksapthebreeze.org or call in and ask a question live at 409-982-0247. Email questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 Fourth Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!