Brian White | January 16, 2024 | Texas Laws
Most states use a points system with a certain number of points assigned for specific traffic violation convictions. When too many points are accumulated within a period of time, usually one to three years, the motorist’s license is suspended.
Texas had a point system called the Driver Responsibility Program or DRP from 2003 until 2019, when it was repealed. The state no longer uses a point system, but traffic violations will still be added to your driving record and tracked.
Here’s what you need to know about how long traffic citations stay on your record and the options to get them removed.
Texas Repealed Its Point System for Driver’s Licenses in 2019
The Driver Responsibility Program was enacted in 2003 and created a point system for driver’s licenses. Traffic offenses and moving violations that occurred on or after September 1, 2003, were assigned points and tracked. These violations had associated surcharges.
Unless you took a driver safety course when eligible to keep points off your driving record, points would be assessed for every eligible traffic violation. The points would remain for 12 months.
As a general rule, two points were assessed for violations that did not cause accidents. Violations that caused a car accident were assessed three points. If you had six or more points, the Department of Public Safety assessed surcharges. Your driver’s license could be suspended if the surcharges were not paid.
The New System To Track Violations for License Suspension
The Texas DRP was repealed in 2019 and replaced with a different system. Since September 1, 2019, moving violations are tracked over a 12-month and 24-month period. Accumulating too many moving violations on your record can result in license suspension.
A Texas driver’s license can be suspended if you:
- Have four or more moving violations within a 12-month period,
- Have seven or more moving violations within a 24-month period,
- Are convicted of driving while under the influence (DWI),
- Are convicted of two or more offenses conflicting with a license restriction, like not driving at night,
- Cause an accident that causes serious bodily injury or death, or
- Cause a traffic accident while uninsured
This is not a full list of reasons a driver’s license can be suspended or revoked in Texas. Refusing a breath or blood alcohol concentration test, falling behind on child support payments, and committing certain crimes can also result in a suspension.
Parking tickets do not count toward the number of offenses that can result in an automatic license suspension.
Can You Get Traffic Citations Removed from Your Driving Record?
After being ticketed for a traffic violation, you can avoid the citation going on your driving record by taking an approved defensive driving course. Not all traffic citations are eligible for dismissal through a driving safety course. To be eligible, you must meet basic requirements:
- You have a valid Texas driver’s license
- You have not taken a defensive driving course in Texas to dismiss a ticket within the past 12 months
- You were not driving a commercial vehicle when you were cited
- You received notice from the court system that you are eligible to take a safety course to dismiss the ticket
Generally, only lower-level traffic offenses qualify for dismissal. This includes citations for an expired driver’s license, expired registration or inspection, defective equipment, or speeding.
For more serious offenses, you will not be able to get the ticket dismissed. This includes speeding at 25 mph or more over the limit, passing a school bus, or failing to stay and provide assistance after an accident.
You will still be required to pay fines and fees related to the ticket.
Another option to dismiss a traffic ticket and keep it off your record is deferred adjudication/disposition. This usually requires paying a court fee and avoiding another traffic citation during a probation period, which may be 60, 90, or 180 days or longer. At the end of the probation period, your record will be expunged if you meet the conditions.
Deferred disposition/adjudication is only an option for Class C or Class B misdemeanors. They are only available at the court’s discretion, and you must meet certain requirements.
Contact the Houston Personal Injury Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Moving violations can cost you more than fines, penalties, and higher insurance premiums; they’re also the cause of most car accidents. If you have been hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or driving errors, our personal injury lawyers are here to help.
Call Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation to discuss your case and legal options.
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