Texas drivers can have their licenses suspended for many reasons, including a poor driving history or failure to pay child support. However, having a suspended driver's license does not mean you cannot own a car, and registration is a separate process from driver licensing. Thus, even with a suspended driver's license, you can own and register a vehicle in Texas.
Texas Vehicle Registration
When you buy a new vehicle in Texas, you must transfer the vehicle's title from the seller to you. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles recommends buyers and sellers visit the county tax office together to transfer the title. Sellers must provide buyers with a signed vehicle title application and any supporting documentation like a release of lien, if applicable. You must pay vehicle sales tax at the time of title transfer and you must show proof of insurance to register your vehicle. While you do have to meet photo identification requirements, you do not have to have a Texas driver's license to register your vehicle or transfer your title.
Read More: What is Vehicle Registration?
Photo ID Requirements
Texas allows several types of photo identification, but all acceptable identification must contain a photo, unique identification number and an expiration date. Acceptable forms of identification for a Texas vehicle registration include a driver's license or state identification card from any state, a passport, a military identification card and several types of federally issued identification. Photo ID must be current, meaning not more than a year past its expiration date, so even an expired driver's license could satisfy Texas' identification requirements. If you choose to title your vehicle in more than one person's name, only one owner has to provide identification.
No photo identification is required for renewal of a Texas vehicle registration. Texas drivers can renew their registration online at the Department of Motor Vehicles' website, or they can renew their registration by mail or in person. If renewing by mail or in person, you must provide proof of current liability insurance, such as a copy of your insurance card. Even if you did not receive a renewal notice, you can renew your registration with your license plate number, vehicle identification number or registration receipt from last year. There is no requirement to provide a driver's license or other form of identification, so your suspended license should not stop you from registering your car.
Reinstating Your License
Though you can legally own your car while your license is suspended, you cannot drive it until your license is reinstated. Texas has an online license eligibility system that allows drivers to see their license history, including compliance instructions for certain violations, other requirements that must be met before the license can be reinstated and fees that must be paid. You can view your license's reinstatement requirements by visiting the Department of Public Safety's website and accessing the license eligibility service. Once you have met the requirements listed in the system, you may be able to have your license reinstated, thereby giving you the legal ability to drive your registered vehicle.
- Texas Department of Motor Vehicles: Photo Identification Requirements for Vehicle Title Application
- Texas Department of Motor Vehicles: Buying or Selling a Vehicle
- Texas Department of Motor Vehicles: Register Your Vehicle
- Texas Department of Public Safety: License Eligibility: Frequently Asked Questions
Heather Frances has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published in law reviews, local newspapers and online. Frances holds a Bachelor of Arts in social studies education from the University of Wyoming and a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School.