Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a bill into law that eliminates the Driver Responsibility Program. This Program traditionally assessed fines to millions of Texans and resulted in about 1.3 million people having their licenses suspended. As of September 1, 2019, the date on which the program will end, over 630,000 will be eligible for automatic license reinstatement. Another 350,000 people will qualify for reinstatement after they pay their reinstatement fees.
If you owe any remaining surcharges on September 1, 2019, they will disappear along with the Driver Responsibility Program. Drivers currently enrolled in the Driver Responsibility Program and who are paying surcharges, however, may want to know what happens to them as of the end date of the program. There are a few different answers to that question.
First, if drivers currently are enrolled in the program and now making payments, they should continue making payments up until September 1, 2019. Otherwise, they risk having their licenses suspended for failure to make payments.
If eligible, you may be able to stop paying all or some of your surcharges through the Incentive Program. Under this program, if you make less than 300 percent of the poverty guidelines, you may be able to have your surcharges reduced and cease making payments for six months. Since September 1, 2019, will occur before the six months is up, you no longer will owe the surcharges at that point.
While you also can stop paying surcharges before September 1, 2019, if you don’t qualify for the Incentive Program due to your income, it is not advisable. You could be driving on a suspended license until the program ends on September 1, 2019, and if you get caught, you could face criminal charges. A criminal conviction for driving while suspended could result in a further suspension, high fines, and even jail time for repeat offenders. When you are facing any criminal charges in the state of Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 359-3362 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.