Traffic Violation Laws in Texas

In Texas, the point-tracking system isn't just used to keep track of violations and to hand down suspensions and revocations.  It's also used to charge violators a yearly fee for three years after conviction for certain bad driving practices.

Texas has one of the most strict points systems in the nation, with the accumulation of 6 points over 3 years incurring penalties. It's also one of the most simple systems: A moving violation is worth 2 points, and a moving violation resulting in an accident is worth 3.  A child safety seat violation is worth 2 points.

Once 6 points or more have accumulated on a driver's license within a 3 year period, that driver will have to pay $100 per year for the first 6 points, and $25 yearly for each additional point. Some offenses like speeding less than 10% over the limit and seatbelt violations don't incur points at all.  But on the other end of the spectrum, more severe violations don't incur points, but have mandatory surcharges already in place.

Mandatory Surcharges

Offenses like DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and any DWI-related offenses carry a first-time surcharge of $1000. This amount is in addition to any court-ordered fines and fees. Second and subsequent alcohol-related offenses carry surcharges of $1500, and anyone convicted with a blood alcohol of .16% or greater must pay $2000. These surcharges are annual amounts, so a single DWI conviction will cost the driver $3000 over the 3-year Program span, in addition to any fines or fees ordered by the court.

Failure to maintain financial responsibility and driving with an invalid license are offenses that automatically cost $250 a year. Driving without a valid license is a $100 per year offense.

DWI in Texas

The legal blood alcohol limit in Texas is the pretty nationwide standard of .08%, but a police offer can ticket a driver with a DWI no matter how small the amount of alcohol in his or her blood, as long as there is alcohol present, and he or she feels the driver is impaired .

Just the first DWI offense carries up to $2000 in fines (this is separate from the $1000 yearly surcharge that must be paid for 3 years through their Driver Responsibility Program).  A driver can also be sentences to 72 hours to up to 180 days in jail, and a license suspension can last from 90 days to 1 year.

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