James R. Makin Law Firm

Can You Afford to Pay DPS $1000 / Year?
How About For Three Years?
The Driver Responsibility Act (DRP) Says You Will!


By James Makin
(Article Published in the Examiner, Labor Day 2005)


    Driving offenses have become very serious business with the passage of the Driver Responsibility law. Regardless of the consequences of your driving-related offense, a guilty result triggers the "point system" and "surcharges" of the Driver Responsibility Law. The DRP does not replace other administrative suspension or revocation actions that result from convictions. The surcharges assessed by the DRP are in addition to other reinstatement fees required for other administrative actions.

    Drivers who receive a conviction for an offense listed below will pay an annual surcharge for a period of three years from the date of conviction. No points are assessed for these offenses because the surcharge is automatic upon conviction. Once the conviction is reported to DPS and becomes part of the driver history, the following surcharges will be assessed:

Driving while intoxicated, intoxication assault, and intoxication manslaughter:
  • First time offense = $1,000 (or $1,000 for three years = $3,000))
  • Second or subsequent offense = $1,500 (or $1,500 for three years = $4,500)
  • DWI .16 or greater = $2,000 (or $2,000 for three years = $6,000)
  • The surcharges are cumulative, meaning if a driver received two DWI offenses the total amount of surcharges to be paid would be $2,500 annually for three years (or $7,500 total).
Failure to maintain financial responsibility (driving without auto insurance):
  • $250 (or $250 for three years = $750)
Driving while license invalid:
  • $250 (or $250 for three years = $750)
Driving without a license:
  • $100 (or $100 for three years = $300)
    Points are assessed to moving violations classified as Class C Misdemeanors.

    Surcharges are applied to drivers based on the type of offense and the time period in which the citation was received. Points remain on the driver's record for a period of three years. Once the conviction has been reported to DPS and becomes part of the driver history, DPS will assign points to a person's license as follows:
  • Two points for a moving violations conviction in Texas or that of another state.
  • Points will not be assigned for speeding less than 10% over the speed limit or seat belt convictions.
  • Three points for a moving violation conviction in Texas or another state that resulted in an accident.
    The three-year time frame is calculated from the conviction dates.

    DPS will assess a surcharge when the driver accumulates a total of six points or more on their driver record during a three-year period. The driver must pay a $100 surcharge for the first six points and $25 for each additional point, in addition to any related service fees.

Annual Assessment
    Each year, on the anniversary date of the original notice, DPS will review the driver history and determine if the driver still meets surcharge requirement criteria. If the record indicates that the individual's record still reflects six or more points in the previous 36 months or if the conviction is still within the previous 36-month period, the driver pays the surcharge again. Annual assessment based on points will include additional charges ($25 per point) if more points have accrued since the first notice was mailed.

    Confused? Now, more than ever, any kind of trouble with any law requires an attorney.

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