In the state of Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the DPS, runs the Texas Surcharge Program. The Surcharge Program assesses surcharges on certain traffic offenses to drivers in the state. If a surcharge is added to your driving record, you will be notified by mail each time it is assessed. This amount will be in addition to any other fees and does not replace a revocation, driving suspension, cancellation, disqualification, or denial that may have been applied due to the conviction.
How a Texas DPS Surcharge is Assessed
There are two ways in which you can be assessed a Department of Public Safety surcharge:
The Point System
Traffic convictions in the State of Texas have points assessed and listed on your driving record. The conviction is placed on your record, and then points are assigned and will stay on your driving record for three years from the date you were convicted of the driving offense.
If you are convicted of a driving offense while outside the State of Texas, you will receive two points on your record, if the out-of-state driving conviction involved a crash, you are then assessed three points on your record.
If you have a total of six points or more on your driving record, you will be assessed a surcharge every year. The first six points on your record will cost you $100, and $25 for each additional point after the first six.
Based on Convictions
If you have received a conviction for a DWI, DWI s/BAC .016+, Subsequent DWIs, no insurance driving, no driver’s license, or DWLI, you will be charged a DPS surcharge for three years from the date of your conviction.
If you have both convictions and points on your driving record, you will have separate surcharges applied for each offense. A surcharge for the conviction on your file, as well as a surcharge for the points.
Convictions are added to your driving file as soon as the DPS receives a notice from the courts. This notice can cause a delay between the date you are actually filed as being ‘convicted’ and the date it is added to your driving file.
Texas DPS Surcharges Based on Convictions
The first time you are convicted of driving while intoxicated, a DWI, whether in the State of Texas or out-of-state, the DPS surcharge is $1,000. This amount is the same for a conviction of intoxication assault or manslaughter. A subsequent conviction for these offenses, whether in the State of Texas or out-of-state, will result in a $1,500 DPS surcharge.
If you are convicted of DWI with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.16 or more, the DPS surcharge will be $2,000. This surcharge applies whether conviction occurs in the State of Texas or out-of-state.
If you are convicted of driving a vehicle without vehicle insurance, your DPS surcharge will be $250.00. If you are convicted of driving your vehicle, or any vehicle, without a valid driving license (DWLI), the DPS surcharge will be $250.00. A DWLI includes driving with a license that has been canceled, revoked, denied, or suspended.
Being convicted of driving without ever being given a license to drive will result in a DPS surcharge of $100.00. This conviction can be from driving without a commercial license, driving on an expired license, or never having been given a license to drive.
DPS surcharges are assessed every year for three years. These are serious amounts of money, not to mention the effect of having a driving offense on your record. If you have been arrested for a driving violation, you want to contact Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer to fight or have these charges reduced.
Driving Without Insurance and DPS Surcharge
If you have been charged with driving without insurance, but had this coverage at the time of the arrest, you can submit proof of insurance to the Department of Public Safety. You can have the suspension applied to your record for No Insurance waived, but you will still be responsible for the surcharge. Contact your Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer to learn what your rights and legal responsibilities are for driving offenses.
With new legislation that has passed, drivers can now reduce their No Insurance surcharges to $125 a year, if they are able to purchase and prove motor vehicle liability insurance has been prepaid for six months. This policy has to be obtained no later than sixty days after your arrest, and the reduction is only applied after the proof has been sent to the DPS.
Talk to your lawyer at Fort Worth DWI Defense if you are being charged a DPS surcharge for driving without a valid driver's license. Drivers are now allowed to reduce their No driver license surcharge amount to $50 a year if they get a license within sixty days of being arrested. Once you file for a new license, you can send the temporary driver's permit to the DPS's Enforcement and Compliance Service to receive a reduction in your surcharge. These temporary valid licenses include commercial, occupational, and interlock or restricted ones.
Paying Texas DPS Surcharges
If you are responsible for paying a Texas DPS surcharge, it must be paid within 105 days, or your driving privileges will be suspended for failing to comply with the requirements of the surcharge. Your driving privileges will remain suspended until you've made an installment agreement or have paid in full all surcharges and related costs. These costs are serious and can cause serious problems with most budgets. Talk to Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer about the driving offense you are being charged for and discuss the options you have for getting the charges dropped or dismissed to avoid these costly surcharges.
New Laws in 2019 for DPS Surcharge Fees
For years there have been failed attempts to get rid of the Driver Responsibility Program that has attached surcharge fees to those who have convictions on their driving records. These additional fees range from $100 to $2,000 depending on their driving offense, on top of what the traffic ticket cost, has many Texans being left without driving privileges. For many Texans, their DPS surcharges have grown to thousands of dollars because they have been unable to pay the amount, which just keeps increasing as they go unpaid.
The program has harmed thousands of Texans and created a cycle for drivers who have lost their licenses because of unpaid surcharges they cannot afford. These drivers then keep getting more surcharges attached because they don’t have a license. The legislation to eliminate this program has hit obstacles as the surcharge fees collected have been used to fund emergency trauma centers and other healthcare systems.
With the mounting pressure to pass this legislation, the money will soon be allocated from other sources, and surcharges are to be waived with more than 600,000 Texans being eligible to have their licenses reinstated. This information should be known before the legislation goes through.
Are You Eligible to Have Your License Reinstated After DPS Surcharges are Waived?
If you are one of the more than a million and a half Texans who were unable to renew or keep your license under the Driver Responsibility Program, there are a couple of groups you could fall into when you attempt to get your license reinstated.
- If the fees you owe are solely from the Driver Responsibility Program, you should be immediately eligible to have your driver's license reinstated, or be eligible after you've paid the reinstatement fee. The reinstatement fee is approximately $100, and you can check your eligibility online at txapps.texas.gov/txapp/txdps/dleligibitity/login.do.
- If there are additional reasons behind the suspension of your license, you will be eligible to have the suspension lifted after you have resolved those other issues.
If your license expired less than two years ago, you are eligible to replace it online at the Texas DPS (Department of Public Safety) website, under the Driver License Division for Driver License Renewal, Change of Address, Replacement, Change of Emergency Contact. If it has been more than two years, you will be required to re-apply for your license. This application will involve passing the written and vision test, as well as the driving test before a new license is given.
If you need a new license because yours was taken away, you can order one through the DPS for around $11, and if you need to renew, it will cost about $25.
What Happens to Your Unpaid DPS Surcharges?
After September 1st of 2019, all surcharges under the Driver Responsibility Program were to be waived with no future fees being assessed to a driver’s record. According to the DPS, drivers will continue to be responsible for any other fees, fines, or suspensions on their driving file. If a driver had their license suspended due to surcharges, that information would still remain on their driving history. Any payments that had been paid prior to the repeal of this program would remain with the program and would not be refunded.
You may decide not to make payments on your outstanding DPS surcharges, as they were to be eliminated in September of 2019. Your decision should depend on your particular circumstances:
- If you have a suspended driver’s license because of DPR surcharges, not paying will not change your situation.
- If your license had not yet been suspended and you stopped making payments, your license could have been suspended until the end of September 2019. Make sure your license is not suspended before you begin driving as you risk being arrested if driving under a suspended license.
- If you feel you are eligible for the Indigency Program, you should apply to that program. If your income is 125% or less than the federal poverty level, you qualify. There is also an Incentive Program available in the State of Texas, which is also income-bases. Talk to your attorney at Fort Worth DWI Defense and see if these programs could benefit your situation.
Does the Appeal of the DPS Surcharge Mean Unpaid Traffic Tickets Will Not Result in Loss of Drivers License?
The DPS surcharge was one way in which Texans could lose their driver's license. The other way is through a program called the Omni Program. This program also results in the loss of driving privileges if you do not appear in court or do not pay court fines attached to a driving violation conviction.
It is very common in Texas for a person to have a suspension on their license for both the DPS surcharges and an OmniBase. Only the DPS surcharge amounts have been affected by the September legislation; the OmniBase holds are not affected. You can check if you have these holds on your license by going to www.texasfailuretoappear.com/search.php. Searching by your driver's license number and date of birth will inform you if there is a hold on your license.
To remove an OmniBase hold from your driving privileges, you will have to pay the fine or work out a resolution with the courts for what you owe. The Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer can help you work out this resolution if you are having difficulty with the court system.
The new legislation is strictly for the DPS surcharges and will not impact any other form of suspension you might have on your driver's license. If you have a DWI, driving with an invalid license, drug possession, or driving without insurance conviction on your driving record, that suspension is not altered by the new law. If you are unaware of what other possible suspensions are applied to your driving privileges, you can check your status at www.texas.gov/driver and then choose the 'Driver License Reinstatement and Status' button.
What If I Cannot Afford Reinstatement after DPS Surcharge Waiver?
More than 350,000 Texans who have lost their driving privileges due to unpaid DPS surcharges are required to pay a reinstatement fee, which is not related to the repeal, in order to have their license reinstated. Once the fee is paid, their driving privileges will be returned if they have no other suspensions attached to their file.
This reinstatement fee can either be paid through the mail service or by going online. There is no program that will waive or reduce this fee. The only manner in which you can get your driving privileges reinstated is to pay this fee.
What Circumstances Can Lead to the Loss of a Driver’s License?
When you lose your driving privileges due to a suspended license, it can have serious impacts on your life. This loss can jeopardize your employment, reduce your hard-earned savings, impact how you care for your family and cause significant social embarrassment. In the State of Texas, it is considered a privilege to drive, not a right, and the state uses the loss of your driver's license as a punishment for a number of infractions. If you've lost your driving privileges due to one of these infractions, contact the Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer and make sure your rights and future are protected against this loss.
The cancellation of driving privileges in Texas can range from the expected moving violations one is convicted of to the non-driving offenses, such as vandalizing a property. These are some of the circumstances that can result in the loss of a driver’s right to drive.
License Suspension Related to Driving Offenses
If you’ve been convicted of a DWI (driving while under the influence), it is the most common reason behind losing a driver’s license. In the State of Texas, any adult who is convicted of DWI on their first offense can be required to attend and complete an Alcohol Education Program along with the loss of their driving privileges for two years. The Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer is experienced in Texas DWI laws and is ready to help you through this difficult time if you’ve been arrested for DWI. Don’t let this mistake impact your future, let us help you find a resolution to these charges by getting them reduced, or possibly dismissed.
If you are arrested for DWI and refuse to take the breath or blood test following the arrest, you are automatically placed in the Administrative License Revocation Program (ALR). This is a civil program and is not going to be related to your court proceedings. Under the ALR, you can face having driving privileges suspended from ninety days to two years. If you have a commercial driver's license, failing to comply with the breath or blood tests will result in your driving privileges being disqualified for one year.
Other driving-related violations you can lose your driver's license for in the State of Texas, include getting more than four moving violations, such as speeding, over a twelve-month period or if you get more than seven moving violations within twenty-four months.
You can also lose your privilege to operate a boat or airplane if you have been arrested for operating one of these transportation modes while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The suspension of these privileges will vary depending on the circumstances of your arrest.
If you are facing the loss of your driving privileges, contact Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer to help fight these charges. Not having driving privileges can seriously impact the quality of your life and your family’s.
Non-Driving Offenses Which Result in the Loss of Your Driver’s License
Taking a person's driving privileges away is intended as a punishment to deter crimes. In the State of Texas, you can lose your driver's license if you are convicted of:
- Being drunk while in a public location (Public Intoxication)
- Stealing gasoline
- Offenses involved with illegal drugs
- Failure to pay your child support
How Minors Lose Their Driving Privileges
If a minor is convicted of DWI, they will not only lose their driving privileges for one year, they also face additional suspensions if they do not attend and complete an Alcohol Education Program. The judge can also order the minor to have an interlock ignition device placed on their vehicle, perform community service, and receive a ninety-day suspension.
A minor can also lose their driving privileges for other offenses:
- Using a fake ID and misrepresenting their ages
- Consuming or possessing alcohol
- Being drunk in public
- Trying to buy or buying alcohol
The first time a minor is convicted of one of these crimes, they will receive a thirty-day suspension of their driving privileges. If they are convicted a second time for one of these offenses, they will receive a sixty-day suspension of their driver's license, and the consequences will increase with the third conviction to a 180-day suspension.
Other Reasons a Texan Can Lose Their Driver’s License
The state suspends driving privileges due to convictions or misdeeds in most cases; however, the State of Texas will also suspend driver's license if a person's physical or mental health prevents them from driving safely. If someone is reported to suffer from seizures due to epilepsy, or if a senior citizen is no longer physically or mentally able to drive safely, the state can take their license away.
Applying for a Hardship Driver’s License
If you lose your license to drive, it will impact your ability to pick up your children, go to work, go to school, or any other number of daily functions you need to perform to maintain a quality of life. Check with your attorney at Fort Worth DWI Defense to see if you qualify for an Occupational Driver's License or hardship license. These licenses will only be eligible for those who need to go to work, complete school-related activities, or to handle vital household tasks. If you have applied for a hardship license within the past ten years, you would be ineligible to apply again.
Who to Contact About a DPS Surcharge Near Me?
If you have questions or concerns about the Texas DPS surcharge contact the Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer at 817-470-2128, we can also help you with any driving offense or other circumstances that have resulted in the loss of your driving privileges. Every case receives personal attention, and our focus is on reducing your charges to lessen the consequences, or to have them dismissed and keep your driving record clear. Call today so we can create a strategy to help you through this difficult time.