Texas Surcharges

Have Texas surcharges been assessed against your drivers license?  Under Texas law, the Texas Department of Public Safety can assess Texas surcharges against your drivers license, either because you have been convicted of certain offenses, or because you accrued “points” against your driving record.  For example, if you are convicted of a “no drivers license” violation, a Texas surcharge in the amount of $250 per year, for three years, will be assessed.  Importantly, Texas surcharges are levied against, separate and apart from any fines you may owe.  In other words, in addition to any fines and court costs you are required to pay, Texas surcharges must also be paid in order to avoid having your drivers license suspended.

If you’re found guilty of an offense that gives rise to a Texas surcharge, the court will likely not inform you.  By paying the fine, you may well believe that your obligations have ended with regard to your case.  Not so!  The Texas Department of Public Safety will send a notice to the address they have on file for you, indicating that a Texas surcharge has been imposed.  Failure to pay will result in drivers license suspension.  If you no longer receive mail at the address they have on file, you won’t receive notice, and your license can be suspended without your knowledge.

Texas surcharges vary, contingent upon the violation for which you were convicted.  First offense DWI’s result in Texas surcharges in the amount of $1000 per year, for three years.  For second and third (or subsequent) offenses, the Texas surcharge amount is $1500 per year, for three years.  And for DWI’s in which you’re alleged to have a blood-alcohol concentration greater than 0.16, the Texas surcharge imposed is in the amount of $2000 per year, for three years.  Driving with an expired license will net you a Texas surcharge of $100.

Texas surcharges are also assessed, based on a “point system.”  Each moving violation for which you are convicted results in two points being assessed against your license.  If an accident was involved, you will be assessed three points.  Annually, Texas surcharge in the amount of $100 is imposed, if six points are achieved in the preceding thirty-six months.  An additional $25 is assessed for each additional point.