Getting a traffic ticket can be a huge headache. It’s more than just paying a fine — for many drivers, the points on your license will result in your insurance premiums going up. In Texas, it is often possible to get a traffic ticket dismissed if you complete a driving safety class (also known as defensive driving courses).
You can get a ticket dismissed by taking defensive driving in Texas once every 12 months. Read this article to learn when tickets are eligible for dismissal by taking a driver safety course, the steps to getting a ticket dismissed, and what skills you’ll learn in a defensive driving course.
Types of Tickets That are Eligible for Dismissal
You now know that you can get a ticket dismissed every 12 months with a defensive driving course. However, only certain types of tickets are eligible for dismissal. The biggest thing to note that is your violation must be a moving violation. In some instances, your moving violation won't qualify for dismissal. These instances include:
Going 25 mph or more over the speed limit (or exceeding 94 mph).
Not carrying insurance.
Running from a crash or accident.
Failing to stop for a school bus.
Committing a violation in a construction zone with workers around.
Other points to keep in mind are that you need a non-commercial driver's license from Texas — out-of-state visitors and professionals drivers need not apply.
Steps to Getting a Ticket Dismissed Through Defensive Driving in Texas
To get your traffic ticket dismissed, you’ll need to follow these steps:
Ask the court for permission. The court must agree that your ticket is eligible for dismissal BEFORE you take a driver’s safety course. Make your request on or before the appearance date listed on your citation. Whether you make the request by email, by certified mail, or in person, you must submit a Request to Take Driver Safety Course.
Complete a state-approved driving safety course. You can take an in-person or online defensive driving course. You must complete the course before the deadline set by the court. The deadline is usually 90 days.
Get a certified copy of your driving record. You can request a copy at Texas DPS Online or your local municipal court office.
Turn in your paperwork to the court. You must turn in your certified driving record along with a certificate of completion from your driving safety course by the deadline.
Make sure you understand the deadline set by the court to complete these tasks. If you don't complete these steps by the deadline, your ticket will be reinstated and you may need to go back to court.
Skills That Are Taught in a Texas Defensive Driving Course
Drivers may look at defensive driving courses as a quick way to avoid the hassle of a ticket, but the skills taught are valuable to all drivers. Both in-person and online defensive driving courses in Texas concentrate on encouraging drivers to observe traffic safety and laws. According to Tonya Dansby, owner of XLR8 Driving School, “Roads would be safer if drivers would adhere to the speed limit. Going too slow or too fast contributes to road rage and accidents.”
The class also teaches strategies for reducing traffic-related injuries, deaths, and traffic violations. One major focus? Putting down cell phones. If the real-life value wasn't incentive enough, many insurance companies will actually offer discounts on your insurance costs if you complete a driver safety course.
So whether you're trying to dismiss a ticket or just want to improve your driving skills, you really have nothing to lose when you enroll in an online defensive driving course.