You got a ticket — now what?
If you live in Texas, you have options to help you avoid some of the worst consequences of a traffic violation. So what's the difference between Deferred Adjudication, Deferred Disposition, and the Drivers Improvement Program (DIP)? And which one is right for you?
Here's what you need to know about your traffic citation options to move forward.
What Is Deferred Disposition?
In Texas, deferred disposition is a way to keep a traffic violation off of your record. First, you need to request deferred disposition through your local court. This requires additional paperwork, court costs, and a special fee. Next, you must plead either "guilty" or "no contest" to the ticket in court.
If a judge approves, you will be placed on a 60- to 90-day probation period. If you get through probation with no new traffic violations, your ticket will be expunged from your record. You will also avoid having points added to your license.
Not all drivers and violations are eligible for deferred disposition, as the process is only Class C misdemeanors (minor traffic infractions). You can't already be on probation for another ticket when you apply. There are other limits for speeding and DUI issues, so check your local rules before applying.
What Is Deferred Adjudication?
Deferred adjudication is like deferred disposition, but for Class B misdemeanors. Class B violations are more serious, and there may be additional limits on the types of tickets that can be dismissed in this way. Both deferred adjudication and deferred disposition keep traffic violations off your driving record. For this reason, the terms are often used interchangeably by non-lawyers.
What About Defensive Driving Texas Rules?
Deferred disposition and deferred adjudication aren't your only options for keeping a traffic ticket off your record. The state of Texas also allows drivers to take an approved defensive driving class to get your ticket dismissed. Defensive driving courses — also known as driver safety courses or driver improvement programs — also keep you from getting points on your license, which causes auto insurance rates to skyrocket.
Which Option is Right for Me?
Many drivers choose deferred disposition because the process is simple. They fill out a form, write a check, and stay out of trouble for the next several months. The main advantage is that there is no extra time commitment.
However, defensive driving is a better choice for drivers looking at the big picture. Taking a driving course provides ongoing value. You will learn important safety and driving tips that will actually make you a better driver. It's a great way to support a commitment to change, and the only option that helps you become a better driver. You're also far less likely to get another ticket in the future.
It's also worth noting that the court fees for defensive driving tend to be significantly lower than the fees for deferred disposition. This allows you to take the savings and invest in an affordable driving course that will benefit you instead of the Texas legal system. Most insurance companies will give you an additional premium discount for completing a driver's education course, which will continue to pay off in the coming years.
Looking for a convenient, online option to fulfill your defensive driving requirement? Aceable offers approved Texas defensive driving courses to help you keep that ticket off your record — and become a better driver in the process.