Guide to Texas Defensive Driving

So you got a ticket. Thankfully, for most traffic violations, a six-hour state-approved defensive driving course can dismiss that ticket and prevent points from being added to your license. Pretty simple, right?

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) oversees the program and determines the requirements. Individuals who are eligible to complete a defensive driving course can choose to complete a course either in-person or with an approved online provider such as Aceable. 

How to Complete Texas Defensive Driving in 5 Steps

Step 1 - Make Sure You Are Eligible

When you get a traffic ticket, you will have three plea options. You can plead: 

  • Guilty

  • Not guilty 

  • No contest 

You can decide to plead not guilty for any traffic offense and defend yourself at a trial where the ticket may or may not be dismissed. Be warned, though – choosing to fight a ticket in court can be costly and drawn-out. If you choose to plead guilty or no contest, you must pay the ticket on or before your court date, and you may be eligible to take a defensive driving course in order to dismiss the ticket and prevent points from being added to your license. 

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible to dismiss their ticket with a standard defensive driving course. If you’re taking the course in order to dismiss a ticket, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You have a valid license or permit.

  • You haven’t taken defensive driving in the past 12 months.

  • You don’t have a commercial driver license (CDL)

  • You weren’t charged with any serious driving violations, such as:

    • Reckless driving

    • Overtaking a school bus loading or unloading

    • Speeding 25 miles or more over the speed limit

    • Failure to exchange information and render aid at the scene of an accident

    • Violations in construction zones when workers are present

    • Failure to maintain financial responsibility

If you met all of the requirements, congratulations! You should be eligible to take a defensive driving course.

Step 2 - Ask Permission from Your Court

Before you jump in and purchase a defensive driving course, you need to be sure to ask your court for permission to take a defensive driving course in order to dismiss your ticket. “How do I get the court’s permission?” you might ask. Depending on your court, you can make the request in person, via mail, or an online form. Your court information should be listed on your citation, so be sure to clarify with them directly on how to make the request. You will likely have to pay a court fee, provide your driver license number, and car insurance information at this time. 

Step 3 - Choose a Defensive Driving Course

Those looking to get their traffic ticket dismissed in Texas have two options: an in-person course or an online course. A traditional in-person defensive driving course is usually taught by an instructor using slideshows in a classroom. These courses require you to physically travel to a location, sit in the classroom for multiple hours at a time, and then take a written test. Since these courses use a physical location and instructor, they are usually the more expensive option of the two.

However, online courses are also available and allow for much more flexibility. TDLR-approved online courses like Aceable Texas Online Defensive Driving allow you to complete the six hours of coursework at any time, anywhere, and in smaller increments. Instead of just a dull slideshow or six full hours of reading, Aceable’s course includes videos, pop-up questions, and pictures. Aceable also offers a hands-free audio-only course you can take! You can complete your coursework and assessments on a computer, smartphone, or tablet, and even switch between devices! In addition, we have designed our course to not just teach you the state-required content, but to keep you engaged, interested, and maybe even smile a few times along the way. 

Step 4  – Finish the Course by Your Court Deadline

Your court should have specified a date to complete your defensive driving course by – make sure you meet it! Most courts in Texas have a deadline of around 60 days. The course is just six hours long, but don’t leave it until the last minute, because you have one more step to complete! (Already waited until the last minute? Don’t panic yet – in some cases you can call the court and request an extension.) 

Step 5 – Bring the Course Completion Certificate to Your Court

Upon completion of the coursework and assessments, Aceable emails students a certificate of completion within 24 hours. You will also have the option to directly purchase a driving record through the course if your court requested one. The final step is to turn these in directly to your court – and voilà! Your ticket is gone, and points won’t be added to your license.

Ready to get rid of your ticket? Start your Texas Online Defensive Driving course now.

Need a traffic ticket dismissed? Get your defensive driving course taken care of online today!

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Anna Coucke