Defensive Driving Resource

Texas Defensive Driving

It is never a good feeling when you see those flashing red lights in your rear view mirror.  Now what do you do? The process can be a bit confusing, but if you make the smart move and choose to take a defensive driving course to keep the violation off your record this guide will help simplify things:

Taking a Texas Defensive Driving Course for your ticket – This is a highly recommended option because by successfully completing a 6 hour TEA approved defensive driving course (online or classroom), you will keep the ticket off of your driving record, which will save you from any increases in auto insurance premiums/surcharges or points from the DPS.  Here are the steps to complete a defensive driving course in Texas:

1. Notify the Court of your intention – The Court must know that you plan to take defensive driving for the ticket, otherwise you will be required to pay the full fine, or worse have a warrant out for your arrest.  Follow the instructions on the ticket itself for details.  If you cannot contact the Court via phone or mail to make your request, you can always appear on the date listed on the ticket and make the request in person.  The Court will first determine if you are eligible.  For example, if you were speeding more than 25 miles per hour over the limit or you have a Commercial Drivers License, then you are not eligible to take defensive driving.  If eligible, the Court will then require that pay the Court Fee (usually $120-$180) and they will give you 90 days (sometimes up to 180) to successfully complete a Texas Education Agency approved driver safety a.k.a. defensive driving course.

2.  Complete the Course – Texas defensive driving courses are available in online or live formats.  All Texas courses approved for traffic ticket dismissal by the Texas Education Agency must be 6 hours in length (internet or classroom).  The benefit of the online course is that you can log in and out of the course as needed and you can take it from any computer with internet access 24/7.  Classroom based courses are typically taught on Saturdays where you complete all 6 hours in one day.  Some schools offer weekday classes and break up the course into two 3 hour sessions. Texas law requires that a approved Texas defensive driving course must be at least $25, which is the current price for most online and live classes today.
Texas law also requires that defensive driving completion certificates be sent via the mail, so whether you choose an online or live class you should factor 3-5 business days for certificate delivery following course completion unless you request express delivery.

3.  Present the Certificate to the Court – Once you receive the completion certificate, you must sign and present it to the Court by their appointed deadline (typically 90 days from the date that you request to take defensive driving).  Some courts will also require that you obtain a copy of your Texas Driving Record or complet a Court affidavit form that must be notarized prior to presenting all of your information and certificate to the Court.

In most cases choosing to take a defensive driving course for your ticket is the least expensive option and will save you from insurance premium increases, DPS points, and possible license suspension in the future.  In addition, you will learn some useful information on how to become safer on the roadways.

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