Can I Have My Case Dismissed Through Defensive Driving?
If you are charged with an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle or a motorcycle defined by Subtitle C of the Texas Transportation Code (Rules of the Road), you may request that your citation be dismissed by successfully completing a driving safety course. You will lose that right if you do not appear in Court on or before your appearance date.
A defendant who is younger than 17 years of age must appear in open Court with a parent, guardian, or managing conservator, to enter a plea.
You may not take the course if you are taking the course at the time of this request, or if you have completed a course within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense, and the course was taken to secure a dismissal of a traffic citation.
You do not have the right to complete a course if you hold a commercial driver’s license or if you held a commercial driver’s license when the offense was committed.
You do not have the right to complete a course if you are charged with:
(1) Passing a school bus,
(2) Failing to stop and give information or render aid following an accident, or on striking an unattended vehicle or fixture or highway landscape,
(3) A traffic offense committed in a construction and maintenance work zone while workers were present,
(4) Speeding 95 miles per hour or more, or
(5) Speeding 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit.
How to Request Defensive Driving
On or before the appearance date on your citation, you must:
(1) Enter a plea of guilty or no contest;
(2) Waive a trial by jury;
(3) Hold a valid Texas driver’s license, or be a member, or the spouse or dependent child of a member, of the United States Military Forces serving on active duty; and
(4) Provide proof of automobile liability insurance or other proof of financial responsibility as required by Chapter 601 of the Texas Transportation Code. Your name MUST be listed on the policy.
Pay court costs and fees in the amount of $135.00
If eligible, you may appear in person on or before your court date.
When documents have been submitted and court cost have been paid, the Court will defer the imposition of the judgment for 90 days to allow you to successfully complete the driving safety course.
DO NOT TAKE THE COURSE UNTIL YOU RECEIVE AN ORDER FROM THE COURT ALLOWING YOU TO DO SO.
Members of the United States Military
If you do not have a valid Texas driver’s license but you are a member, or the spouse or dependent child of a member of the United States military forces serving on active duty, you must submit an affidavit stating that you were not taking a course in another state on the date the request to take the course was made, and that you have not completed such a course within the 12 months preceding the date of the course.
Requesting Your Type 3A Driving Record
Visit https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/driverrecords.htm. You may also order your driving record from the Texas Department of Public Safety by mail by completing a driver record request form by following the instructions on the form and submitting with the appropriate payment to:
Texas Department of Public Safety
Austin, Texas 78714-9008
Completing the Course and Dismissal
If you are allowed to take a driving safety course, you have 90 days within which to complete the course and present to the Court:
- A uniform certificate of driving safety course completion;
- Your Type 3A driving record as maintained by the Department of Public Safety to show that no driving safety course was completed within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense.
If you successfully complete the driving safety course, the charge against you will be dismissed.
You may avoid a reappearance in Court by submitting the required documentation to the Court, either in person, by email,( [email protected] ) or by mail, any time prior to your Show Cause date in which you are required to appear. If you are submitting your proof of completion and affidavit by mail, it is recommended that you keep copies of these documents.
Failure to Comply
If you fail to comply with the requirements for a driving safety course dismissal, the Court will notify you by mail, at your address on file with the Court.