Douglas W. Atkinson Articles Texas Lawmakers Offering Settlements on Driver Surcharges

Texas Lawmakers Offering Settlements on Driver Surcharges

By Douglas W. Atkinson  Mar. 11, 2011 11:01a

It's about time; the state of Texas is taking a swift, effective approach towards addressing the State's growing number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers. Texas law makers want to eliminate the surcharges that are a part of the Texas Driver Responsibility Program. The program was designed to raise money for highways and trauma care. The surcharges have been fined to Texas drivers who were charged with driving while intoxicated and a failure to have car insurance.

Nearly 60 percent of the people charged the surcharges – 1.2 million drivers- either could not afford to pay the surcharges, or were unwilling to pay, now owe the state more than $1.1 billion dollars. When drivers either can't pay, or refuse to pay, they lose their driver's license. This problem is creating a whole new breed of criminal, by adding 1.2 million new unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the roads. Adding to the growing problem, driving without a license and without insurance draw a $250-a-year surcharge for three years on top of the other surcharges the people are already delinquent on. In addition to the surcharges, other fines are assessed for those two violations.

The biggest surcharges are for DWI at $1,000 a year for three years for a first offense and, $2,000 a year if the BAC was above a certain limit. Because these surcharges are not being collected, they are only causing programs for the state, by creating more criminals each year. Similar programs were tried in two other states and were subsequently abandoned because a vast majority of drivers did not pay the surcharges.

The good news is that under orders from the Legislature, the Texas Department of Public Safety began to offer an amnesty program this last January, offering delinquent drivers the opportunity to regain their driving privileges by paying 10 percent of the amount they owed the state. For now, until further changes in the laws, delinquent drivers have until April 7th to make a settlement.

Conroe DWI Defense Attorney

If you would like more information about DWI charges and fines, contact an Conroe DWI defense lawyer from Douglas W. Atkinson, P.C. today. We have successfully defended numerous DWI cases in the Texas courts and, we would be happy to help you achieve a more favorable outcome in your DWI case.

Contact an Conroe DWI defense attorney from our firm today for a free initial consultation.

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