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If you get a traffic ticket in Texas for a moving violation such as speeding or running a red light, generally you have a few options:
- Pay the fine. This may result in points on your record and a surcharge from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
- Appear before the judge. You can plead not guilty or no contest/guilty. A judge might decide on your case or you may have a trial.
- Ignore the ticket and take no action. The Texas Department of Public Safety will not renew your driver's license and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
How do I pay my ticket?
When you pay a traffic ticket, it means an admission of guilt or a no contest plea. Texas traffic tickets are handled by each county. The citation should have steps to pay the fine. You can generally pay your ticket:
- By mail.
- Over the phone.
However, if you are a minor or you were cited for a criminal violation such as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), you may have to appear in court.
You can locate a Texas county traffic court to find more information on how to make a payment.
What if I lost my ticket?
If you were issued a ticket from the Texas Highway Patrol within the last 24 months, you can use the Texas Highway Patrol Citation Search to find the citation.
If the ticket wasn't issued by the Texas Highway Patrol, you may be able to find it by contacting the traffic court in the county where you received it.
Traffic ticket point system
Drivers who are convicted or plead guilty to traffic violations can receive points on their driving records. The points will remain for three years. Texas has a chart showing which moving violations will result in points. Violations include failing to signal for a turn, not stopping for a school bus, following too closely and speeding.
The number of points depends on the violation:
- Two points for a moving violation in Texas or out-of-state.
- Three points for a moving violation in Texas or out-of-state that results in a car accident.
If you take a defensive driving course, you may be able to avoid getting points on your record. You can find a list of both online and in-person defensive driving schools at the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration.
Traffic points surcharges
You will get a surcharge from the Texas Department of Public Safety for each year you have six or more points in your record. The surcharges are:
- $100 for the first six points.
- $25 for each additional point after six.
If you are convicted of one of the following traffic violations, you will not receive points on your record. However, you'll get an automatic surcharge that will be in effect for three years from the date of conviction.
|Type of conviction||Surcharge|
|First Texas or out-of-state conviction for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter||$1,000|
|Subsequent Texas or out-of-state DWI, Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter||$1,500|
|DWI in Texas or out-of-state with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 or higher||$2,000|
|Driving without insurance||Up to $250|
|Driving While License Invalid (DWLI) – driving while license is either suspended, canceled, denied or revoked||$250|
|No Driver License – no driver license or commercial license, or expired license||Up to $100|
|Source: Texas Department of Public Safety|
The Texas Department of Public Safety has more information on surcharges.
You can pay your surcharges online.
Auto insurance rates after moving violations
Moving violations typically lead to an insurance increase at renewal time, or affect your rates if you shop for a new insurance company. Car insurance companies look at your DMV record when you are buying a policy and also generally when it's time to renew. EverQuote data shows that a speeding ticket will raise your rates an average of 31% in Texas, compared to drivers with clean records. For more, see information about cheap car insurance in Texas.
Insurance rate increases are in addition to surcharges you can get from the state, making traffic tickets potentially very costly.
Updated July 24, 2018