Texas Traffic Tickets
Law enforcement officials issue traffic tickets in Texas for a large variety of traffic violations. Drivers who receive a traffic citation in TX can settle the issue by completing the procedure to pay traffic ticket online or via other alternative methods or by contesting the issue through the corresponding court. The processes of paying fines and fighting tickets may vary based on the procedural differences of specific state courts. To learn how to settle a ticket, and to find out how a citation affects your driving record and your vehicle liability insurance coverage in Texas, read the sections below.
Fighting a Texas Ticket
The process to fight traffic tickets in Texas can be initiated by submitting a plea of not guilty and requesting a trial date through the court that is processing your ticket. The methods available to initiate the procedure to challenge speeding tickets or other types of citations varies based on the practices of the presiding court and the period of time that has passed since you received the traffic citation in TX. For instance, contesting a traffic ticket in Dallas is a process that can be started via the internet only if you are within the first 21 days of the date of issuance.
After carefully preparing your traffic ticket defense in TX, you will be given the opportunity to present your case on the scheduled trial date. Note that courts may also offer drivers the option to settle their citations at a pre-trial hearing by changing their plea to guilty for purposes of receiving reduced penalties.
Drivers who choose to dispute their tickets before a judge or a jury will suffer the full consequences of their offense, in the event they lose their case. If you successfully dismiss your ticket you will be exonerated of all charges and your driver’s record and car insurance premiums will remain unaffected.
Paying a Texas Ticket
If you choose to pay speeding tickets in Texas or other types of citations, you are admitting your guilt of the charges, and a traffic conviction will be reported on your record. The methods available to provide your traffic tickets payment in TX vary depending on the court that is handling your case.
Note that drivers are unable to utilize the option of paying tickets for certain types of offenses, and they will be required to appear in court. A traffic lawyer may be able to help you reduce your payment amount or dismiss your ticket altogether, depending on the violation.
Lost Tickets in Texas
Drivers who lose their traffic tickets in Texas may encounter certain difficulties when settling their citation issues, as the ticket contains important information such as the traffic fine amount, the available payment methods and the deadline to plead. Retrieving the information from a lost traffic citation in TX is a procedure that can easily be completed via the internet. A large number of courts within the state offer an online ticket search option.
The Texas Highway Patrol also offers a citation search engine through its official webpage for the tickets it issues. To retrieve your traffic ticket data online, you will generally be required to enter several personal details, such as full name, date of birth and your driving license number. If you are unable to complete the process via the internet, you can still contact the presiding court and retrieve the necessary data via more conventional methods.
Texas Fines and Penalties
Drivers who fail to beat a traffic ticket in Texas will be required to pay the fine associated with their ticket. The ticket violation payment generally varies from county to county. Separate state courts charge additional fees as well, which also vary throughout the state.
Motorists who choose to pay driving ticket online in San Antonio, for example, will be charged with an additional $4 convenience fee. The following list outlines several examples of fines that can be assessed in the area of Houston, TX:
- Driving at night without lights: $189
- Seat belt violation: $204
- Failure to establish financial responsibility: $279
- Speeding 30 or more mph over the posted limit: $304
Note: Your ticket will contain detailed information about the fees and costs applicable to your case.
In addition to the court-set fines and fees, drivers may also be required to pay annual surcharges to the state Department of Public Safety (DPS). For instance, if you are ticketed for driving without a valid license, you will be required to pay an additional $250 per year to the state DPS. Keep in mind that DUI violations carry heavier penalties and may be difficult to dispute.
Points in Texas
Drivers convicted of traffic violations in Texas generally receive a certain amount of points on their driving history records. Note that not all types of offenses result in points. If you are unable to beat a traffic ticket in TX for a first Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offense, for instance, you will not receive penalty points since you will be mandated by the state DPS to pay an annual surcharge.
While convictions of standard TX traffic violations lead to two demerit points, offenses that also result in a crash accrue three points. The following list outlines several types of infractions that may result in two-point penalties in TX:
- Failure to safely restrain a child in your vehicle
- Traveling under or over the posted speed limit
- Following too closely
- Fleeing from the scene of a collision
- Unsafe lane changes
Note: Certain state courts also allow drivers to complete an official defensive driving course for purposes of ticket dismissal. If you are eligible for this option, you will not accumulate any points, as the conviction will not be reported on your record.
How Tickets Affect a Texas Drivers License
Motorists who were issued traffic citations in Texas may be facing driving license suspensions or revocations as well. For example, motorists who are unable to dispute traffic tickets in TX for certain more serious offenses, such as driving under the influence and insurance-related infractions, may be penalized with immediate suspension or revocation penalties.
Drivers who fail to dismiss traffic tickets in TX on at least four separate occasions within any 12-month period, or on seven or more occasions within any 24-month period are also penalized with license suspensions. If you receive several tickets that accumulate at least six points, you will be required by the state DPS to pay a certain surcharge amount. Failure to do so will result in a driving license suspension as well.
Texas Car Insurance Fines and Violations
Motorists may incur traffic tickets in Texas for operating their vehicles without the proper vehicle insurance coverage. If you are unable to successfully beat a traffic ticket for a no-insurance offense, you will be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, and you will be required to pay a traffic fine of up to $4,000. You will also have to pay an annual surcharge of $250 for three consecutive years.
Note: Drivers who repeatedly receive citations may also witness an increase in their car liability insurance rates, due to the detrimental effect of ticket convictions on their records.