Car keys, a gavel, and the scales of justice

If you’re looking to have a traffic ticket dismissed in Texas, a deferred disposition can be a great option. Eligibility will vary, however, based on the nature of the violation and your circumstance.

What is a deferred disposition and how does it work?

A deferred disposition can sound a little complicated, but the concept is simple. The prosecution of your citation will be delayed for a deferral period. During this time, you may be required to take a court ordered course, pay court costs and other fees, and post a bond that you will either be refunded, or will be used to cover additional costs.

In the case of traffic violations, the program you will be required to take will usually be a defensive driving course. Once you’ve successfully completed this program and paid any relevant fees as well as fulfilled all other court requirements, your case will be dismissed. That’s right, no lasting impact on your criminal record, no pending legal or criminal actions, and your issue will also not be held against you for future licensing and insurance considerations.

Before you can decide how you would like to proceed, you will need to know your eligibility status. This will be based on the type of violation you committed as well as a few other factors.

How do I know if I’m eligible for deferred disposition?

Not every citation and situation are eligible for deferment. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You need to have had valid insurance at the time of the citation
  • The incident cannot have happened in a construction zone
  • You cannot have passed a school bus
  • It is not eligible if you were driving over 90 miles per hour
  • You cannot have been traveling over 24 miles per hour over the posted speed limit
  • You must not have left the scene of an accident
  • You are not eligible if you have a commercial driver’s license
  • You have received a separate deferment for a traffic violation within the last 12 months
  • How do I request deferred disposition?

    If you’re eligible, you will begin the process by requesting a deferment. This step must be taken before your scheduled court appearance. Though it may vary by the municipality issuing your citation. Visit the Texas Judicial Branch website for more information. Generally, you will have 3 options to apply:

    • In person — Head down to your local municipal court building for to apply for a deferred disposition
    • Online — Visit the website of the municipal court that issued your citation
    • By mail — You will find a downloadable “Request for a Deferred Disposition Form” from the issuing municipality’s website.

    Once you have applied you will have to plead guilty or no contest. This is important to note because should you not fulfill court requirements during your deferral period, and cannot demonstrate a valid cause as to why, your case will be issued a judgement, and you will not be allowed to alter your plea.

    How does the deferment period work?

    Before you begin your probationary period, you will be asked to pay some court fees, and you might be asked to post a bond. This money should be returned to you upon successfully completing all court requirements. If you do not it will be applied to your other costs, fines, and fees.

    During this time, you cannot receive another citation for a moving violation. If you do, you will lose your deferment eligibility and both tickets will remain on your permanent driving record. You may also be asked to take a driver improvement course, DUI course, or something similar depending on the nature of your violation.

    Complete the requirements, without receiving another traffic citation within your deferment period, and the court will dismiss your ticket. Almost like it never happened!

    What are my options for a defensive driving course in Texas?

    You will have several options for a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation approved defensive driving course. These courses will take 6 hours to complete, and the costs will vary. Options range from in person to online instruction, with many students preferring the convenience of an online course.

    Given the number of options available to you for traffic school courses, it’s important to find the school that fits you and your needs to best. Offerings will differ in tone and engagement. Online or in person, serious and straightforward or educational and entertaining classes will vary as much as the landscape of the great State of Texas. Visit the Texas Department of Driving Safety and Regulation to find licensed, State approved courses near you. Or, register here to get started today!