By: Beltz Law Firm
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Texas Points System For Traffic Tickets Explained
What is “The Point System” In Texas?
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The “Point System” is a termed used to refer to the Department of Public Safety’s authority to monitor moving violations that are reported by municipal and justice courts as convictions on a person’s driving record. If a person receives too many convictions the penalties can be very severe. This article is a general explanation of the laws and the consequences associated with points that accrue on a permanent driving record.
Sec. 708.052. ASSIGNMENT OF POINTS FOR CERTAIN CONVICTIONS. (a) The driver’s license of a person accumulates a point under this subchapter as of the date the department records a conviction . . .
Section 708.052 is the general code section that grants authority to DPS to assess points for violations basically as it sees fit. However, DPS is not without limits. Those limits are discussed in the subsections of 708.052 in the following manner:
(b) For each conviction arising out of a separate transaction, the department shall assign points to a person’s license as follows:
(1) two points for a moving violation of the traffic law of this state or another state that is not described by Subdivision (2); and
(2) three points for a moving violation of the traffic law of this state, another state, or a political subdivision of this or another state that resulted in an accident.
DPS alone has the authority to state what is and what is not a moving violation. A complete list of moving violations that accrue points can be found by clicking here.
Sec. 708.054. AMOUNT OF POINTS SURCHARGE. The amount of a surcharge under this chapter is $100 for the first six points and $25 for each additional point.
However, it must be stated that certain convictions are automatic surcharge offenses. These offenses are for no insurance tickets, no drivers license tickets, driving while license invalid and suspended tickets.
Are There Ways to Have Surcharges Reduced Or Dismissed?
The short answer is yes, there are ways to have your surcharges dismissed if you are considered indigent by a court who has reported a conviction against you causing the surcharges to be assessed. The relevant statute is listed below. However, it must be stated that in 10 years of practice our office has never had the opportunity to request indigence status on behalf of a client. We hope to perform this function, but the problem is normally due to the attorney’s fees that are involved. After all, if a person is indigent, they normally will not have the financial capability to hire a lawyer to help them with the request. If you are indigent and need the assistance of an attorney, we have listed our price for this request at $500.00 so that you may know in advance the amount of money necessary for our office to assist you with this request.
Sec. 708.158. INDIGENT STATUS AND REDUCTION OF SURCHARGES. (a) The department shall waive all surcharges assessed under this chapter for a person who is indigent. For the purposes of this section, a person is considered to be indigent if the person provides the evidence described by Subsection (b) to the court.
(b) A person must provide information to the court in which the person is convicted of the offense that is the basis for the surcharge to establish that the person is indigent. The following documentation may be used as proof:
(1) a copy of the person’s most recent federal income tax return that shows that the person’s income or the person’s household income does not exceed 125 percent of the applicable income level established by the federal poverty guidelines;
(2) a copy of the person’s most recent statement of wages that shows that the person’s income or the person’s household income does not exceed 125 percent of the applicable income level established by the federal poverty guidelines; or
(3) documentation from a federal agency, state agency, or school district that indicates that the person or, if the person is a dependent as defined by Section 152, Internal Revenue Code of 1986, the taxpayer claiming the person as a dependent, receives assistance from:
(A) the food stamp program or the financial assistance program established under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code;
(B) the federal special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children authorized by 42 U.S.C. Section 1786;
(C) the medical assistance program under Chapter 32, Human Resources Code;
(D) the child health plan program under Chapter 62, Health and Safety Code; or
(E) the national free or reduced-price lunch program established under 42 U.S.C. Section 1751 et seq.