The Problem With Ticket Surcharges in Texas
How Much Will It Cost?
Fines for traffic tickets are an unexpected cost no one likes to pay. Unfortunately, the true cost of a traffic ticket in Texas doesn’t stop at the imposed fine. In addition to the court-imposed fine and court costs you will receive for a traffic ticket, the Texas Department of Public Safety may also impose a surcharge under the Driver Responsibility Program.
Ticket surcharges are fees you have to pay to keep your license valid. They are in addition to the initial fine for the offense. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) assesses surcharges for points on your driving record and certain convictions. DPS surcharges are assessed annually for three years. On top of the assessed surcharges, you may have to pay additional service fees, and fees for payment plans (you only get one chance at a payment plan with DPS so make sure it is one that you can live with, otherwise a default will leave you with the option of paying the entire amount in full) or specific payment methods.
For Some, the Cost Is Too High
Texas ticket surcharges have been under intense scrutiny in recent years. Many argue they disproportionately affect the poor, who often rely on their licenses to get to work and make a living. Failing to pay your surcharges in full or arrange for a payment plan will result in a license suspension. So, if you can’t afford to pay your surcharges, you lose your license and potentially your livelihood. You’ll also face continued surcharges if you drive on your suspended license after that point. In this light, the surcharges perpetuate a cycle, one that is extremely hard to break without significant costs.
Can You Afford Ticket Surcharges in Texas?
The Texas Driver Responsibility Program can turn an ordinary traffic ticket into a financial burden. But for Texans working hard to make ends meet, one missed surcharge payment can put their very livelihood at risk.
Now that you know how Texas ticket surcharges work, you can easily see how one traffic ticket can end up being a costly mistake. The original fine, annual surcharges and associated fees and increased insurance rates add up quickly. The good news is you can fight your ticket in court. Speak with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney who handles traffic ticket cases to determine whether you want to risk paying costly surcharges for years and potentially lose your license or fight your ticket. An attorney can fight your ticket in court to save your license and help you avoid ticket surcharges, in some cases for less than what your original fine was.
If you have a traffic ticket and need a legal advocate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to minimize the consequences of your ticket. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.