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Texas Ends Oppressive Driver Surcharge Program

For those with final DWI convictions, the price you pay does not always end with a fine and supervision fees. Your auto insurance rates may go up, you could have difficulty getting certain jobs and you might even get sued by one or more accident victims. On top of that, the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Driver Responsibility Program has for decades levied annual surcharges up to $2,000 a year for people convicted of DWI. If you didn’t pay the surcharge fee or set up a DPS-approved payment plan, the state of Texas would suspend your driver’s license.

Not anymore.

Effective September 1, 2019, Texas has ended the Driver Responsibility Program and all unpaid surcharges are waived, including those who were required to pay before September 1, 2019. That means everyone who is still paying Program surcharges due to a DWI conviction no longer has to pay. Also, if your license was suspended due solely to unpaid surcharges, you will be reinstated — although you may have to pay an approximately $100 reinstatement fee and other costs. 

DPS will not issue refunds for surcharge fees already paid. So with the Driver Responsibility Program ending on September 1, 2019, you should strongly consider no longer paying surcharges. According to DPS, that alone should not effect your license eligibility. 

Even more good news: The ending of Texas’ surcharge program also effects your obligation to pay for traffic ticket surcharges. Please visit  https://txapps.texas.gov/txapp/txdps/dleligibility/login.do  after September 1 to determine your license status and, as always, feel free to call our office at (713) 783-8998 if you are charged with a DWI or any state or federal crime.