Questions You May Have and the Answers You Need to Know
Question #1: Texas Defensive Driving Courses are What Exactly?
Six hours of class total, the purpose of a defensive driving course is to outline and expand upon the principals of safe driving. Defensive driving courses are offered to those people whom were cited for a traffic violation. These courses are an alternative to suffering the consequences of higher car insurance rates and a docking of their driver´s license points. By taking a defensive driving course in Texas, many counties dismiss the citation.
The value of defensive driving courses are in part reflected by the fact that Texas state law has deemed it illegal for insurance companies to raise a person´s rates -- even if they plead guilty or no contest -- if the person successfully completes a state certified defensive driving course. This law protects both minors and adults from higher premiums.
Question #2: What Traffic Circumstances Exclude Me From the Opportunity to Take a Defensive Driving Course to Expunge a Ticket?
People that are not eligible include:
- Those who have taken the course in the last year or is currently enrolled in one are ineligible for this plea opportunity.
- Non-Texas residents.
- People who were driving without car insurance at the time of the moving vehicle violation.
- Drivers with Commercial Driver´s Licenses
Question #3: Are There Any Types of Driving Offenses that Would Prohibit Me from Taking a Defensive Driving Course?
Several in fact. Anyone charged with committing the following moving vehicle violations are not eligible:
Enroll in a Texas online defensive driving course.
- Driving Reckless
- Passing a school bus that is flashing reds, is stopped, has its stop sign visible, or is loading or unloading students
- Speeding in excess of 25 miles per hour over the speed limit.
- Fleeing an accident without providing identification or someone refusing to assist an injured person after an accident.
- Committing a traffic violation in a construction zone during work hours.
Question #4: What Steps do I Take to Take Advantage of a Defensive Driving Course After I Get a Ticket?
It is rather simple. There are only four requirements to apply for the defensive driving course program:
- If the court approves you for the program, sign a plea agreement and obtain a receipt of the court costs you pay.
- Attain a driving history record from the State Driver´s License Office.
- Prove that you are financially responsible -- not indigent.
- Complete the course and show the court proof of completion within 90 days of the court´s order.
Question #5: What do I do to Get the Court to Give me Approval?
First of all, you must get court approval prior to your court date. Begin the process by going into the court clerk´s office and explain your situation. Explain that you would like to take a defensive driving course and ask how to begin the process. Each county in the state proceeds a little different with respect to this program and the steps required are at their discretion.
Simply attend your arraignment - it is required you appear before a judge before you can be admitted into the program - and explain that you would like to be part of the defensive driving course program and ask what you can do to be admitted.
Question #6: Why is It Required I Appear in Court - Before a Judge - Before I Can be Approved as a Minor?
It has nothing to do with whether or not you will be allowed to enroll in the program. It is a protective measure the State uses to guarantee minor are treated fairly. Before a minor can commit to a legal action, they must be permitted to appear before a judge -- with their parents -- to make certain they completely understand their options.
Question #7: What Criteria Should I Use to Choose a Defensive Driving Course?
When selecting a defensive driving course, the two primary factors in the equation you should consider is your schedule and your budget. These courses -- though state certified -- are offered by private companies. There are different locations state-wide where a person can attend a course and there are different course formats. There are classroom classes, there are online courses there are courses that one can take in which they watch videos and take exams to prove they understand the concepts. That means most people can find a means of fitting the course into their schedule.
The budget concerns arise from the fact that courses can cost between $25 and $45. Each company charges a different amount for their services, so if you budget is your primary concern, shop around. There are courses advertised on the internet, in the phone book and in newspapers, but the best means of finding a course that fits your needs is by asking the county court clerk.
Question #8: How Long do I have to Complete the Defensive Driving Course and Prove to the Court I have Done So?
Just remember 90 days. That includes everything. Everything must be completed within 90 days. That includes:
- Enrolling and completing the course
- Sending or hand delivering the Completion of Defensive Driving Course Certificate to the county court clerk´s office.
- Some counties in the State of Texas require you attach a certified copy of your driving record to the Defensive Driving Course Certificate. Be certain to ask if the county you are in requires this because it takes between one month and 45 days for the State to provide you with your driving record after you request it.
Question #9: After I Submit My Certificate to the Court -- and My Driving Record if Required -- How Do I know When the Process is Complete?
Once you turn in your defensive driving course certificate and proof that you are not indigent, the court will review your case. If they find that your papers are in order and that you have followed the stipulated requirements, he will dismiss your case.
You will get no news unless it is bad news. However, if you want to make certain everything is complete, you can contact the county court clerk. If you receive notification from the court, it will be to inform you that something is not complete or that you have not finished the process. In that case, make certain you contact the county court clerk´s office immediately.
Question #10: Consequences of Not Completing the Court Ordered Defensive Driving Course?
If you do not fulfill your end of the agreement, you will be notified that you either:
- Failed to comply with a court mandate by neglecting to complete the defensive driving class
- Did not do so within the stipulated amount of time
- Failed to provide proof of completion
- You were ineligible to take a defensive driving course.
The court will notify you that on a particular date you will be required to appear in court to show a cause for the reason you failed to comply.
Question #11: And if I Do Not Appear to Show Cause?
A bench warrant will be put out for your arrest.