Sometimes it seems like the universe is plotting against you.
You wake up late for work, skip breakfast, and are overall having a bad day. Then before you realize it, you’re driving over the speed limit, and boom, a Texas law enforcer pulls you over and gives you a ticket…now it’s a REALLY bad day.
With a previous traffic ticket in your name, you can’t afford to have another on your driving record, but the chances of fighting the ticket and winning are slim.
Sound familiar? Researching the Texas defensive driving requirements is the first step to your solution.
Defensive driving courses can help resolve tickets and remove points from your record. Not every infraction is covered, so here’s a guide on everything you need to know about them.
Why Should You Consider a Defensive Driving Course?
There are a few paths you can follow when trying to make a ticket disappear. You can simply pay the fine. If you do that, the cost is taken care of, but you essentially plead “nolo contendere” and points will be added to your record as they usually would.
You could try talking to the judge, but most judges will look at the facts of the traffic laws broken and deny your request. You could even risk a harsher ruling if the judge knows you’re a repeat offender.
Lastly, you can simply pretend it didn’t exist, which means more fees and harsher penalties if you don’t take the necessary steps to amend the ticket.
None of these give you the outcome of point reduction and ticket removal, so taking a defensive course is your best option. Once completed, your certificate of proof can expunge the ticket. It can even get your insurance to trust you again and lower your rates.
Texas Defensive Driving Requirements
You should note that not all traffic violations are created equal, and some may not qualify for removal. Before signing up, check out these Texas state requirements you must meet:
There are no special circumstance reprieves, unfortunately, so you’ll have to meet all requirements. On top of that, approval needs to come from a judge before taking the course. Signing up before this approval can void the certificate of completion.
If you need help determining if your ticket qualifies, you can ask the judge in court or contact their office directly.
Steps to Ticket Dismissal
After you confirm that you meet the qualifications, you will be able to complete the following steps for ticket dismissal relatively quickly. With the green light to proceed, you bring the court all the defensive driving court documents they need to approve.
These forms include license, proof of insurance, a signed admittance of guilt, and any fee money they’ll charge for processing.
Once you have completed the administration aspect, you can enroll yourself in an accredited driving school. Visit the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation website to find a course.
When you have completed everything, you’ll return to the courthouse with your certificate of completion and your driving record and watch smugly as the ticket removal occurs.
Just kidding! You should be friendly to the court staff; it may make the processing time shorter!
What Will You Learn in the Course?
In the course, you’ll get a refresher on the regulations and laws of traffic. This includes safety equipment, the aspects of a crash, how to prevent crashes/accidents, DUI’s and much more.
It also dives into the human and psychological aspects of driving. As a student, you’ll overcome the mental roadblocks that may trigger road rage with practical techniques in other parts of daily life.
In the end, you’ll have improved on anticipating predictable hazards, how to avoid them, and becoming an overall more responsible motorist.
The class will be a minimum of 6 hours, so bring some lunch and must be completed in its entirety for you to get credit. For those that want to opt-out of in-person interaction, the course is also offered online and offers more flexibility because you can stop and go when you want to.
Already Took the Course? Here’s What Changed
You need to know a few changes if you’ve taken the course before 2015 and need to retake it. All driving education/ defensive courses have switched over from the Texas Education Agency or TEA and are now under the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation responsibilities.
This change means that when you complete the new defensive driving course, your certification may state TDLR. If you have a certificate under TEA, it is still valid, and you will be able to use it until the regulated expiration date given by the court or insurance company.
The TEA remains the approving agency for deciding on programs for education, but all TEA accredited driving schools need approval for accreditation from the TDLR.
Yes, it’s a lot of information, and the goal isn’t to make your head spin, But it’s important to remember to check their accreditation first if you plan on going back to the same driving school.
Get Started on the Ticket Removal Process Today
Getting a ticket could ruin your driving record and insurance if left unhandled. The right driving school can prevent that from happening by helping you sign up for the defensive driving course. Take some time to find the one that’s right for you. Some schools take a straightforward
approach, presenting you with the information in a dry, consumable format. Others believe they have discovered the secret formula to retain information by mixing comedy and learning, hoping to educate through engagement.
A defensive driving course is an excellent opportunity to prevent the consequences of your traffic citation and improve as a driver. Sign up for a course today to get started. Take advantage of the situation to set yourself for continued driving success and avoid future citations altogether!