Texas drivers get lots of tickets. That much has been proven. According to the National Motorists Association, Texans are the 4th most ticketed drivers in the United States.
Some people just accept it as the price they pay for driving recklessly. Others just complain about being “unlucky.” But unless you do something about it, everyone has to pay.
THE TEXAS POINT SYSTEM EXPLAINED
The Texas Driver Responsibility Program was established as a means of keeping track of habitually bad drivers. It follows the popular “points system” that has been adopted by many other states. Simply stated, for every citation you receive, you are assigned a certain number of points (the number varies depending on what kind of citation you’ve received). Penalties are issued to drivers who accrue too many points in a given amount of time. The points, which stay on your record for a period of three years, break down like this:
- Moving violations (< 10% faster than posted speed limit): 2 points
- Child passenger safety seat offenses: 2 points
- Moving violations that result in an accident: 3 points
If you get 6 points within 3 years, you’ll face some steep fines. In addition to the cost of the tickets, you could wind up paying thousands of dollars in surcharges. And that’s not even counting the insurance hikes!
HOW TO FIGHT—AND WIN
When you’re handed a citation, you can do one of two things. You can either A) pay the fine and accept the points, or B) contest the ticket. If you plan to argue your case, you’ll need to prepare.
- Write down notes soon after receiving the ticket. Things the officer said, the weather conditions, and anything you can think of that could be used to make your case.
- Read through your ticket very carefully. If the officer wrote something down incorrectly, or forgot to complete the citation, the judge is much more likely to throw your case out.
- Take photos of the location. If you didn’t see the stop sign because a tree was blocking it, have evidence for the judge to see.
- When you show up in court, respectfully explain your situation to the judge and hope for the best.
DEFENSIVE DRIVING SCHOOL IS A “WIN”
If you are guilty of your offense and you plead your case anyway, the judge may not show you much mercy. But even if your fine doesn’t get reduced or your ticket dismissed, ask if you can take an online defensive driving course to wipe the points off your record. If the judge allows it, guess what? That’s a win. Pay your fine, be grateful that your insurance rates won’t go up, and drive home—carefully.