Texas Traffic Ticket Fines and Penalties
If you were pulled over and convicted of a moving violation in the Lone Star State, it’s important to understand the specifics of Texas traffic ticket fines and penalties. From points to surcharges, you should know what you’re paying and what you risk if you don’t take appropriate action. Don’t worry, you won’t need to sit down with the drivers handbook to understand Texas fines and tickets – we have all the info you need right here.
Fines and Penalties
Fines and penalties for traffic ticket violations are determined on a county-by-county basis in Texas. What you’ll pay for a speeding ticket in Austin might be different from what it will cost you in El Paso. The one constant for all counties is the Texas point system. Every traffic ticket is assessed a point value and when you’re convicted of that violation, the points are added to your driving record. A speeding ticket, for example, will put 2 points on your record, and a moving violation that results in an accident will equal 3 points.
The accumulation of points can result in higher Texas auto insurance rates. Furthermore, if you have 6 or more points on your record, you’ll be assessed an additional fine called a surcharge. More points will result in even more fines, and could ultimately lead to a suspended license.
What are Texas Surcharges?
The Texas Driver Responsibility Program allows the state to charge additional fees to drivers who accumulate a large number of traffic tickets, or to drivers convicted of serious violations. These penalties are on top of to the traffic ticket fines.
If you have more than 6 points on your driving record, you’ll face an automatic surcharge of $100. You’ll be responsible for paying that fine as long as the ticket remains on your record, which is typically 3 years. Every additional point above 6 will incur an extra $25 surcharge.
Conviction-based surcharges are much more severe. Here is a quick breakdown of the large fines you’ll face for certain crimes:
- $100: Driving without a license
- $250: Driving without insurance
- $1,000: Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- $1,500: 2 or more DWI offenses
- $2,000: DWI conviction with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .16 or more
If you think the long arm of the law can’t reach across state lines, think again. All drivers convicted of a Texas traffic offense will face a surcharge, even if you’re from another state. If you don’t pay your surcharge, your Texas driving privileges will be suspended, you’ll be prevented from getting a drivers license in Texas, and the information will be passed along to your home state, ultimately affecting your ability to renew your driver’s license.
Tickets and Auto Insurance Rates
Surcharges and fines aren’t the only consequences you’ll suffer from a traffic offense. Auto insurance companies base their rates on your driving behavior, so more points on your record could result in higher premiums. If you receive a traffic ticket and are approved to take a Texas defensive driving course to remove the violation from your record, it’s a good idea to take advantage of that opportunity. Removing a ticket and reducing the number of points on your record could prevent fines and surcharges, and will also keep you in good standing with your insurance company.
Drivers License Suspension, Revocation, and Cancellation
Losing your driving privileges in Texas is serious business. If you are convicted of 4 or more traffic tickets in a 12-month period, or 7 or more in a 24-month period, you could find yourself with a suspended license. In addition, severe violations such driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) could result in a suspended license. Furthermore, your license could be revoked or cancelled if you are convicted of multiple DWI or DUI offenses.
Before your license is reinstated, you’ll be required to pay a reinstatement fee and submit a compliance document proving to the court that you have taken the appropriate defensive driving course or fulfilled other court-ordered obligations.