Texas Driver Responsibility Program
This second installment about DPS surcharges focuses on Point System Based Surcharges. You may have received a notice of a “surcharge” to renew your driver’s license from DPS, but not know what a surcharge is or why a surcharge was assessed against you. A DPS “surcharge” is a governmentally imposed fee created by DPS and assessed against a motorist for convictions recorded on their driving record. A surcharge is imposed in addition to the actual cost of paying the traffic ticket for which you cited with a “surcharge” offense, in addition to reinstatement fees, and in addition to all other administrative fees the state may impose to get your license renewed. The law permitting surcharges arises from the Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 708. This law took effect for traffic tickets or traffic offenses arising after September 1, 2003.
Be aware there are two types of Surcharges in Texas: a Conviction Based Surcharge and a Point System based surcharge.
This blog entry deals with “Point System Based Surcharges.” Certain traffic ticket offenses are considered moving violations. The definition of a moving violation can be found at 37 TEX. ADMIN. CODE §15.89.
Convictions for a moving violation carry a penalty of 2 points for each infraction, unless an accident is involved and then 3 points are added. Points remain on your driving record for a 3 year period. If at any time the number of points on your driving record reaches 6 or more points, a surcharge will be assessed.
A surcharge of $100 will be assessed for the first 6 points on your driving record, and $25 more for each point above 6.
Driving records are reviewed each year. If DPS sees that you will not drop below 6 points on your driving record for over 2 years, they may assess 2 years worth of surcharges against you.
Of course, the fees the State of Texas collects for the point based surcharge is only the beginning. The state also allows the vendor it employs to oversee collection of all these surcharges to add a 4% service fee to the total surcharge fine. A convenience fee of $2.50 is added to each payment installment, if you need time to pay. The state won’t take your cash, but in order to pay with a credit card or check it will cost you an additional 2.25% of the entire fine (this includes your vendor fee and installment fee), plus – yes, wait for it – 25 cents. And finally, for the convenience of paying with an electronic check the state tacks on an additional $2.00.
NEXT….DPS notifies you (or doesn’t) that a surcharge has been assessed against you.
If you need help with a traffic ticket or resolving a failure to show financial responsibility ticket or insurance ticket, give us a call NOW at 210-745-2825.