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Pay Traffic Ticket in Texas

Pleading Guilty to Your TX Ticket

In Texas, paying a non-criminal traffic ticket is an admission of guilt or "no contest" plea.

This means:

  • Depending on your violation, you might be able to pay your fine online, by mail, by phone, or in person.
    • Generally, you must pay in person if you're a minor or the violation is a criminal offense.
  • Based on the violation, you will accumulate points on your driving record.
    • An increase in points could lead to driver's license suspension, which can affect your future driving privileges as well as your job opportunities.
  • Depending on the severity of the violation, you could face an automatic driver's license suspension or revocation.
  • You might be able to plea bargain for lesser penalties in court.
    • By going before a judge or clerk in traffic court, you could plead your case in person.
  • Your car insurance provider will likely increase your rates.
  • The court might allow you to complete a defensive driving course for ticket dismissal or reduced charges, or require you to complete the course to satisfy your ticket.
    • Additionally, your auto insurance company might keep your rates the same or even give you a discount for completing the course.

Be sure to pay your fine by the deadline stated on your citation; failure to do so can result in additional fines and penalties including license suspension and an arrest warrant.

CDL Drivers & Traffic Tickets

Generally, commercial drivers can handle their TX traffic tickets the same ways as regular drivers handle them, meaning:

However, if you plead “guilty" or are found “guilty" in court, you:

  • Must notify your employer within 30 days of receiving the traffic violation conviction.
    • This applies no matter what kind of vehicle you were driving at the time.
  • Must notify the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) within 30 days of receiving a traffic violation conviction in another jurisdiction.
    • This also is true regardless of the type of vehicle you were operating at the time.
  • Face steeper penalties, such as temporary suspension or permanent revocation of your CDL.

Refer to the TX Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Handbook for details.

How to Pay Your TX Traffic Ticket

Depending on your violation and where in Texas you received the ticket, you might be able to pay your fine:

  • Online.
  • In person.
  • By mail.
  • By phone.

Check your citation for payment options, including website and contact information, or contact the county court for details.

Note that:

  • You might be required to appear in court. Your traffic ticket or the ticketing officer will inform you.
    • If you're not able to appear in court on the specified date and the court won't reschedule, a traffic ticket attorney might be able to stand in for you.
  • You'll need your traffic ticket to pay your fine.

If you received your ticket from the Texas Highway Patrol Division, you can search for the citation online.

TX Driver Responsibility Program

Even if you plead “guilty" and pay your fine outright, you still might owe money in the form of surcharges.

Under the Texas Driver Responsibility Program, the DPS assesses surcharges in two ways:

  • Point system:
    • Once you accumulate a certain number of points on your driving record, you must pay a surcharge.
  • Conviction-based:
    • You must pay a surcharge for certain convictions including, but not limited to, driving with no driver's license, driving with no insurance, and more serious crimes such as driving while intoxicated.

Note that:

  • The state does not combine surcharges.
    • You will pay a separate surcharge for each reason you were assessed a surcharge, meaning if the state has assessed surcharges for both point accumulation and conviction-based reasons, you will pay a separate surcharge for each reason.
  • The amount of your surcharge and how long you must pay it varies depending on why you were assessed the surcharge and the severity of the reason.

For more details, refer to the DPS' guide Understanding the Driver Responsibility Program (Form DL-103).

Defensive Driving & TX Tickets

You might complete a state-approved defensive driving course if:

  • The court offers it as an option for ticket dismissal.
    • Expect this to depend on your court and specific violation.
  • The court requires course completion to satisfy your traffic ticket.

Of course, there are other reasons to complete a driving school, such as deducting driving record points and possibly getting a discount on car insurance.

How Tickets Affect Car Insurance Rates

Once you pay your traffic ticket and check your driving record, ask your auto insurance provider about how the traffic violation will affect your rates.

Because violations and their points stay on your driving record for a number of years, you could see an increase in your insurance premium the next time you renew your policy. Get ahead of the added expense by shopping online to compare auto insurance rates.

Check Your Driving Record

Your Texas driving record documents important information about your driving history—including all your traffic ticket convictions and accumulated points—and can impact your driving privileges.

Therefore, it's important to check your driving record after every “guilty" plea (or court verdict) to make sure the information is correct.

When you check your driving record, make sure:

  • You see ONLY “guilty" traffic ticket convictions and their appropriate points. You should not see traffic violations for tickets:
    • The court dismissed because you completed a defensive driving course.
    • You challenged in court and were found “not guilty."
  • Your driving privileges are intact.

Learn how to check your driving record and the appropriate division to contact if you find any inaccurate information.

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