Texas Drivers Responsibility Program
For the last 16 years, the Texas Driver Responsibility Program has cost Texas residents millions of dollars in surcharges and resulted in the suspension of nearly one million driver’s licenses. Now, those drivers have a chance at getting their license back without paying those surcharges. The passage of House Bill 2048 has repealed the program, freeing Texans from paying the exorbitant costs of driver responsibility surcharges.
On September 1, 2019, the repeal of the Texas Driver Responsibility Program went into effect. Originally, this program added a surcharge to any traffic violation. In addition to court costs and fees, this mandatory surcharge was required on everything from speeding tickets to DWI convictions. Unlike fines, which are assessed once upon conviction, these surcharge fees were charged annually for the three years following a conviction. In the most severe cases, it could cost a defendant $6,000 over the course of three years to maintain their drivers’ license even after their fines and court costs were paid.
If you were required to pay an annual surcharge to maintain your driver’s license, you are no longer obligated to pay the surcharge amount. However, the repeal of the Driver Responsibility Program does not mean you are off the hook entirely. For starters, your license will remain suspended for as long as you owe outstanding court costs, fines, and legal fees. However, if these surcharge payments were the only thing standing between you and your license, you could be eligible for license reinstatement. You can check the status of your driving privileges at Texas.gov.
Getting Your License Back
If you determine you are entitled to get your driving privileges back, there are a few ways that you can go about getting your license. If your license was suspended less than two years ago, you could simply replace your license online. If it has been more than two years since you last had a Texas driver’s license, the process is a little more involved. To request a license, you will need to do so in person. Be prepared to provide the following documentation.
- Application for an Original Texas Driver License or Identification Card
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Evidence of Lawful Presence
- Proof of Residency
- Proof of Identity, and
- Proof of Social Security Number
- Proof of Insurance for each vehicle you own
- Evidence of Texas Vehicle Registration for your vehicle
Remember, this policy only affects surcharge payments. In most cases, you must still pay for the cost of reinstating your license on top of any court costs or fines.
The bad news is that you are not entitled to a refund for the money that you have previously spent on the surcharge. Even payments designed to pay the surcharge for several months into the future will not be refunded.
This repeal marks an enormous win for drivers across the state. Do you have questions about how this repeal might impact you? Contact a North Texas defense attorney today to learn more.