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Traffic Offenses

Despite Repeal of DRP, Problems Linger for Suspended Drivers

By Peek & Toland on April 27, 2020

During the last legislative session, lawmakers repealed the Texas Driver Responsibility Program (DRP), which assessed surcharges on traffic tickets that drivers received. When drivers failed to pay ticket fines and surcharges or enter a payment plan, they could lose their driver’s licenses.

Although the repeal of the DRP became effective September 1, 2019, problems still exist for drivers whose licenses were suspended under the DRP. Despite their efforts to reform the DRP, legislators did not make changes to the “Failure to Appear/Failure to Pay” program, which is administered at the local level. This program is often referred to as the “OmniBase program” because OmniBase Services of Texas operates the program and receives two-thirds of the $30 fee that the program adds to every reported violation. Under the OmniBase program, drivers cannot renew their licenses until they have resolved outstanding county or city court debt. Like the DRP, the OmniBase program has led many people being unable to drive legally due to their unpaid debts.

Despite Repeal of DRP, Problems Linger for Suspended Drivers

The DRP and the OmniBase program created the same problems for drivers with outstanding debts. They are unable to drive until they can pay the debts, and the programs added additional fines and fees when the debts remained unpaid. The only distinction is that while the DRP dealt with state-owned debts, the OmniBase program deals with county and city-owned debts. For the drivers, however, the outcome is the same. They are unable to drive legally due to the money that they owe the government.

While the repeal of the DRP resulted in some drivers being able to regain their driving privileges, many drivers still have no licenses due to the OmniBase program. Therefore, while reform efforts are moving in the right direction, the Texas legislature still must take further steps to eliminate driver’s license suspensions based on unpaid fees and fines related to traffic violations.

At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you through your criminal proceedings. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout your case. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers know the best strategies for defending you and working toward your desired objective. Allow us to handle your criminal case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.

Posted in Traffic Offenses

Texas Legislators Eliminate Red-Light Cameras

By Peek & Toland on September 15, 2019

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a bill into law that eliminates red light cameras in the state. Red-light cameras automatically photograph vehicles that enter an intersection after the traffic light has turned red, which results in the drivers receiving a $75 ticket.

Red-light cameras became legal in 2007 to make the streets safer and generate revenue for cities and the state. The highest amount of income that these tickets generated for the state was $19.7 million in the 2018 fiscal year. Critics of the cameras, however, stated that they violated the constitutional rights of drivers and caused rear-end accidents.

Up until now, state legislators have tried unsuccessfully to eliminate the use of the cameras in the state. This push gained new momentum after Gov. Abbott weighed in on the issue, citing constitutional and cost concerns in continuing to utilize the cameras.

Texas Legislators Eliminate Red-Light Cameras

Despite the passage of the bill, however, the legislation allows communities with existing red-light cameras to keep them in place until previously signed contracts expire. Fort Worth currently has 58 red light cameras, and its contract with its red-light camera vendor does not expire until 2026. However, some cities already have voted to remove the cameras, and other city officials anticipate ending their contracts early.

In some Texas counties, drivers with unpaid red light camera tickets cannot renew their vehicle registrations. An amendment to the bill prohibits county and city officials from refusing to renew vehicle registrations based on unpaid red light camera tickets. However, drivers may be unable to use online services to renew their registrations due to the flags previously placed on their accounts. An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against any criminal charges. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case and explore your options. We then can help you make the decisions that are mostly like to be beneficial to you, based on your situation. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.

Posted in Traffic Offenses

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