Ticket Fines and Penalties in Texas

NOTICE: Driver Responsibility Program Repealed

On September 1, 2019, the state of Texas ended its Driver Responsibility Program (DRP), under which your license could be suspended for failing to pay additional annual surcharges on top of traffic ticket fees. All licenses suspended under the DRP are now reinstated. For a detailed breakdown of what this means for you, visit the DPS' questions and answers on the repeal.

If your license was suspended under the DRP, check your driving record to ensure it reflects your license reinstatement.

Texas Traffic Ticket Fines and Costs

Traffic ticket fines vary by county in Texas. For example, running a red light in Bexar County won't cost the same as running one in Travis County. Additionally, counties might charge various fees that differ throughout the state. To ensure you pay the proper amount, check the total fines listed on your traffic citation. Any additional questions you might have regarding the full amount owed should be directed to the specific county court named on the traffic ticket.

If you have misplaced your citation, check out our page on tracking down lost traffic tickets.

Pay Ticket
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)

  • Pay the fine
  • Option to plea bargain penalties
  • Incur points on your driving record (could lead to license suspension/revocation)
  • Possibly incur increase on auto insurance rates
  • Possible option to take driver safety course and get ticket dismissed/points reduced

Learn more about
Paying your Traffic Ticket »

Fight Ticket
(Plead Not Guilty)

  • Contest traffic ticket via trial
  • Choose to represent yourself or hire an attorney
  • No penalties if found guilty, but must pay court/attorney fees
  • Possible option to take driver safety course and get ticket dismissed/points reduced

Learn more about
Fighting your Traffic Ticket »

Auto Insurance Rate Increase

Another additional cost you might incur is a rate increase to your existing auto insurance policy. Following a traffic violation conviction that results in additional points on your driving record, shop online to compare auto insurance rates to ensure you get the best deal.

Texas Traffic Ticket Penalties

Traffic ticket penalties don't vary from county to county; you're subject to the same consequences no matter where you get convicted of violating the Texas traffic laws. What does vary are the types of penalties you might face. Most commonly, these include getting points added to your driving record, having your TX driver's license suspended or revoked, or facing restricted driving privileges. Even more variation comes into play depending on the type of driver's license you hold (CDL, learner's permit, etc.).

Texas Point System

If the state convicts you of a moving traffic violation, you'll see points added to your driving record. These points will remain on your record for 3 years. In some cases, you can take a state-approved defensive driving course to have the points reduced or removed.

Texas assigns points in the following way:

  • Texas or out-of-state moving violation conviction: 2 points
  • Texas or out-of-state moving violation conviction that resulted in a crash: 3 points

TX Driver's License Suspension, Revocation and Cancellation

Of course not all convictions result in a suspended, revoked or cancelled driver's license, but it's worth getting the facts so you know where you and your driving privileges stand. The difference between each, as the state defines them, is:

License Suspension―The temporary withdrawal of a driver license or driving privilege for a definite period of time.
License Revocation―The termination of a driver license or driving privilege for an indefinite period of time. May be restored when all requirements for the revocation have been satisfied.
License Cancellation―The withdrawal of a driver license or driving privilege until the driver is able to re-qualify.

Too many traffic tickets could lead to an administrative suspension or revocation of your TX driver's license. In regard to citations, if either of the following takes place, you'll temporarily lose your right to drive:

  • 4 moving violations or more that occur separately within any period of 12 months
  • 7 moving violations or more that occur separately within any period of 24 months
  • 2 convictions or more for violating a driver license restriction

For a full list of violations that could land you with a suspended, revoked or cancelled driver's license, consult the Suspensions and Revocations section of the Texas Drivers Handbook. Here are just some of the violations that will cost you your driving privileges:

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI) by use of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to stop and render aid
  • Overtaking and passing a school bus (subsequent conviction)
  • Driving while license invalid
  • Displaying or possessing a driver license or identification card that is fictitious or altered
  • Driving while license suspended
  • Causing a serious accident while operating a motor vehicle,
  • Habitual reckless or negligent driving
  • Failure to comply with the terms of a citation issued by another state that is a member of the Nonresident Violator Compact of 1977
  • Committing an offense in another state, which if committed in Texas would be grounds for suspension or revocation
  • Failing to stop for a school bus (second conviction)

Penalties for Minor Drivers

If you are a minor, the state will suspend or revoke your license for repeated traffic law violations:

  • Convictions for 2 moving violations or more occurring separately within any period or 12 months for a driver with a provisional driver license

The Texas Department of Public Safety can also suspend or revoke your driver license or driving privileges if you fail to appear or default in payment of a traffic fine or a non-traffic violation fine.

There are many more reasons, not necessarily related to traffic tickets, why the state could pull your driving privileges; check the TX Driver Handbook for a full list. These include non-driving, alcohol-related sanctions. For specifics, check out the handbook's section titles Zero Tolerance Law for Minors.

Penalties for Texas Commercial Drivers

No matter what type of vehicle you are driving when cited, you must notify your employer within 30 days of conviction of any traffic violations; parking tickets don't count. You also must notify the motor vehicle licensing agency within 30 days of traffic violation convictions outside the jurisdiction. This applies to any vehicle you were driving.

First Offenses
Penalties vary depending on the number of offenses you've committed. For 1st offenses of the following you will lose your CDL for at least 1 year:

  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving a CMV you were driving
  • Using a CMV to commit a felony
  • Refusing to submit to a test to determine your alcohol concentration or the presence of a controlled substance while operating a CMV
  • Causing the death of another person through the negligent or criminal operation of a CMV
  • Driving a commercial vehicle while your CDL is revoked, suspended, canceled or disqualified

Serious Traffic Violations
These include excessive speeding, reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following too closely, traffic offenses committed in a CMV in connection with fatal traffic accidents, driving a CMV without a CDL and driving a CMV without a CDL in your possession. The following traffic violations will result in you losing your TX CDL for:

  • At least 60 days if you've committed 2 serious violations or 1 violation of a law that regulates the operation of a motor vehicle at a railroad grade crossing within a period of 3 years.
  • At least 120 days for 3 serious violations or 2 violations of a law that regulates the operation of a motor vehicle at a railroad grade crossing within a period of 3 years.
  • At least 1 year if you're convicted of 3 violations of a law that regulates the operation of a motor vehicle at a railroad grade crossing within a period of 3 years.

CDL Disqualifications
A first offense of operating a commercial vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or more will cost you your CDL for 1 year. After your second offense, you'll lose it for life. If your BAC is less than 0.04%, but you still have a detectable amount of alcohol in your system, the state will put you out of service for 24 hours.

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