Did you get a traffic ticket in Texas? You can get it dismissed by taking defensive driving. But what makes you eligible? What do you have to do to get credit? How do you know if your court allows it?
In this comprehensive guide, we’re tackling all your questions about getting court approval for defensive driving in Texas.
How do I know if I’m eligible for defensive driving?
The majority of minor citations can be dismissed with a defensive driving course. In Texas, you can take a defensive driving course if you meet the following requirements:
- You have not taken a defensive driving course within the past 12 months.
- You do not have a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- You are not currently taking a defensive driving course for a different traffic violation
What violations cannot be dismissed with defensive driving?
Texas does not allow ticket dismissal with defensive driving for the following violations:
- Speeding at or more than 25 MPH over the posted speed limit
- No car insurance
- Leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run)
- Passing a school bus
- Construction zone violations
How do I get court approval?
You have until the appearance date on your citation to contact your court and request permission to take a defensive driving course. On your appearance date, you must plead guilty or no contest to your violation.
When you go to court, make sure you bring the following required documents and forms:
- Proof of a valid Texas driver’s license
- A copy of your insurance policy
- Your signed citation admitting guilt
- Any other documents specified by your county and/or court
- A court administrative fee (this varies by court)
What do I have to do to get credit?
The state-required length for online defensive driving courses is six hours. Typically, courses cover topics relating to Texas driving and traffic laws, including highway safety, alcohol- and drug-impaired driving, state traffic laws, driving emergencies, and vehicle maintenance. To get credit for the course, you have to score a passing grade on a quiz at the end of each section or chapter.
Do I have to pay?
Yes - you must pay for the cost of the ticket as well as the defensive driving course. This can actually prevent your insurance rates from going up.
How do I dismiss?
In addition to a certificate of completion, the court may require you to submit other documentation along with your defensive driving course certificate, such as an official copy of your Texas driving record.
Once you have submitted the required materials, the court will notify you when your dismissal has been processed.