Texas Transportation Code Chapter 708 allows Texas to collect surcharges for offenses including DWIs. A surcharge is an administrative fee that is charged based on convictions reported to a person’s driving record.
For example, common surcharges for DWIs are:
|DWI||$1,000/year for 3 years|
|DWI Misdemeanor Repetition||$1,500/year for 3 years|
|DWI Felony Repetition||$1,500/year for 3 years|
|DWI BAC >/= .15||$2,000/year for 3 years|
Texas DPS Driver Responsibility Surcharge Program Relief
The Texas Department of Public Safety requires the payment of surcharges as a result of a variety of different events, including certain convictions for drug offenses and DWI offenses in Texas. Many drivers who find themselves drowning under DPS surcharges wonder if they can ever get out. There seems to be a cycle which begins by a driver being unable to afford to maintain auto insurance which gains momentum with citations and fines are assessed for driving without a license. Mistakenly, some could believe that if their driver’s license is suspended, there also becomes no need to take care of traffic tickets which have transitioned into active warrants. Before a person has a chance to assess the gravity of their driver’s license pit, they discover that they owe thousands of dollars to DPS and local municipal courts.
In order to pay driver’s license surcharges and regain eligibility to drive, you must not have any active traffic warrants, and at least be in repayment on any previously unpaid citations. Once you are in good standing financially on past violations, you can begin to assess the amount due to DPS to reinstate your license.
The amount owed will vary based on the type and quantity of offenses on your driving record. If you desire to regain your driving privilege, but cannot afford to pay your surcharges, there may be help available.
Texas DPS Driver Responsibility Surcharge Indigence Program
There are currently two programs designed to get Texans driving again. The first is referred to as theTexas DPS Driver Responsibility Surcharge Indigence Program. Individuals who are living at or below 125% of the federal poverty level are eligible to apply. For approved applicants, surcharges will be reduced to 10% of the total amount assessed. The total amount due will not exceed $250 although service fees apply.
|Persons in Family||125% of Poverty Line (2015)|
Texas DPS Driver Responsibility Surcharge Incentive Program
The second surcharge assistance program is referred to as the Incentive Program. Individuals who are living above 125% but are below 300% federal poverty level. For approved applicants, the surcharge fees will be reduced by 50% of the total amount assessed although service fees apply.
|Persons in Family||300% of Poverty Line (2015)|
Poverty Guidelines provided by: Federal Register, January 22, 2015 www.federalregister.gov
If a driver is approved under either program, they have six months to pay the reduced surcharges. An added benefit is that surcharge suspensions are lifted during the payment period. Be aware though that if all of the fees are not paid within six months your license will be suspended again until you have paid in full as agreed.
Apply for Surcharge Reduction: txsurchargeonline.com
If you are would like to apply for a surcharge fee reduction, consider the following:
You can look up your account, and apply for the Indigency Program here:
- Begin by checking the status of your license at www.texas.gov/driver, then select Driver License Reinstatement and Status.
- Please note that these programs only help those who are facing suspension for non-payment of surcharge fees only.
- Be aware that providing false information on your reduction application may have criminal penalties.
An online application for either program online at txsurchargeonline.com or call 866-223-3583 to have an application mailed to you.
- Be prepared to provide documentation of circumstances referenced on your application such as, but not limited to: SSI benefits, VA benefits, unemployment benefits, recent paycheck stubs, bank statements, and recent tax returns.
- For assistance with this site or questions about your Surcharge account, you can contact Municipal Services Bureau (MSB) at 1-800-688-6882. Program Specialists are available Monday – Thursday 8:00am-9:00pm, Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm and Saturday 8:00am – 12:00pm.
- As your attorney at the time of the conviction to file a motion for waiver of surcharges. See below.
Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer
We hope you found this information helpful. If you were recently arrested or charged with a misdemeanor or felony, or need a Fort Worth DWI Lawyer give us a call today.
Also published on Medium.