License Suspensions and DPS Surcharges in Texas.

Is your driver’s license suspended? Do you owe surcharges because of tickets or DWI convictions? If you answer yes to either one of these questions, this post is for you. 

It is remarkably easy for you to dig yourself into a terrible hole with your driver’s license.  Once you get your license suspended the first time, you are at risk of falling into a vicious and relentless cycle of more suspensions, more surcharges, and more potential arrests.

So, how does this happen? You can fall into this trap many different ways.  The most common way I’ve seen is too many tickets.  If you have three speeding tickets in a year, you will have a license suspension.  These are commonly known as points suspensions, ie. too many points in a year equals a license suspension. Also, you can get a license suspension for just one Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility (no insurance ticket) or one Driving While License Invalid (Expired DL).  Those offenses also carry surcharges that must be paid to DPS every year for three years in order to maintain a valid license.  Most people don’t think or don’t realize that this can happen.  People commonly overlook these tickets and instead of avoiding the convictions by sending proof of insurance or a valid DL, they simply pay the fine and court costs and forget about it.  That’s the absolute worse thing you can do.  By doing that you just agreed to a license suspension and a surcharge.  To compound the matter, people don’t ever receive notice of the suspension because their address with DPS is different than where they receive mail, and then one day they get pulled over for something stupid and get arrested for Driving While License Suspended (DWLS).  DWLS, you guessed it, carries a suspension of your DL and a DPS Surcharge.  Cycle starts over again.  More suspensions, more surcharges, and no notice.  With the surcharges, DPS gives you the option of paying them yearly up front, or monthly.  If you pay the surcharges monthly, and miss a month, your license gets suspended.  If you miss the due date at all, your license is suspended.  So what started out as forgetting to put your insurance card in your glove box has turned into a night in jail, thousands of dollars in surcharges, lawyer fees, and years of license suspensions.

This cycle is also very common for people with DWI arrests, Boating While Intoxicated arrests, Reckless Driving, andPossession of Marijuana (Marihuana) convictions. First, with DWI/BWI cases, you can lose your license through theALR process even if you do not get a conviction.  You have to have a lawyer to walk you through that process, or you almost certainly will find yourself in this pitfall I’m telling you about here.  Additionally, with Reckless Driving and POM convictions, your license is automatically suspended by DPS and you will not know that unless you have a lawyer that knows (no, not all lawyers or judges know this), or you get the Notice of Suspension in the mail from DPS. Minors who receive MIP or MIC convictions also are looking at DL suspensions.  Once suspended, your halfway in the hole, and it gets real easy to fall in deeper from there.

How do you avoid this terrible cycle? First, ALWAYS make sure your current address is on your Driver’s License.  This is the address DPS will send any Notice of Suspension forms to notify you.  All Notice of Suspension forms give you instructions on how to request a hearing before your suspension goes into effect.  Those instructions typically include a deadline of 15 to 20 days to request the hearing, and failure to do so means the suspension is automatic. It is imperative that as soon as you receive the Notice of Suspension you contact me so I can ensure the request is done correctly and your right to a hearing is preserved.  These hearings can be won if done correctly or you may be eligible to have the suspension probated.

You will not receive a Notice of Suspension if you fail to pay your surcharges because that suspension is automatic, and lasts as long as you are behind on your surcharges.  There a couple of things I can do to take care of your surcharges.  First, the legislature provided a new law effective September 1, 2011, that allows judges to waive the surcharges in certain situations, such as indigency.  I have done several of these orders.  This can be done for all types of surcharges from DWIs or tickets.  Another way to handle past due surcharges is to get set up on manageable payment plan with MSB which is the company that collects the surcharges for DPS.  A manageable payment plan will help insure that you do not miss a payment and suffer an automatic suspension that puts you deeper into the hole.  Finally, if necessary, and if you qualify, I can secure an Occupational Driver’s License for so you can keep driving for work and other essential household duties.  This is typically the way we handle ALR suspensions, but they are useful for conviction or points suspensions as well, and prevent you from driving without a license that will get you arrested.

If you have any driver’s license issues at all, contact me and ask about a full Driver’s License Evaluation.  For a small fee, I will generate a report on the status of your DL, surcharges, any outstanding citations, and what it will take to get you driving legally again.  It may be easier than you think to get it straightened out, but it might take an experienced DL lawyer like me to take care of it correctly.


  Comments: 21

  1. Just saw this artical from a google searh.

    I have beem dealing with surcharges for nom traffic violations for 10 years.
    At one time had c lose to 40 warrants for them strching back to 1996.

    Lost lics several times. Paid close to 4000. Grand in surcharges maybe more.

    Just got pulled over again.. 1st speeding ticket ever. And another expired lic ticket.

    10 years ago got all warrants lifted. And out of alll the tickets i had all but 3 were dismissed.
    During this time i needed my lic. However had sur charges. And most of thw tickets i had were dismissed.
    As soon as i got my lic in the mail 2 weeks later went back to work they ran a back ground and said my lic was suspended.
    I have been driving around with no lic for 10 years because 4000 bucks paid… I wasnt giving them anymore money.. Now its 750.00 plus 100.00 charge at dps to get my lic back.
    And now again im looking at 350 dollar fine. Plus 1000in surcharges.
    And a speeding ticket 700.00 … Which i cant take defensive driving for….

    Its upsetting to say the least…
    If u can help
    .. Please contact me either by email or 9725987484…

  2. david woolverton

    how can i get the Texas surcharges dropped due to no insurance and suspended lic.

    i have all tickets final paid off. but when i paid the 2 tickets that were over 5 years old off i got surcharges applied.

    how do they expect anyone to ever get back on their feet

  3. I have a re questions about this that I would greatly appreciate help on. Please email me at . Thank you!

  4. Tracy lee Dollison jr

    I haven’t had a valid driver license since 2006 I travel for work I feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel for me really if you can really help name your price lol I’m tired of the hassle I would rather be able to pay an attorney to handle it for me bc I seem to always miss something so if you can help I would definitely appreciate it

  5. Tracy lee Dollison jr

    I haven’t had a valid driver license since 2006 I travel for work I feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel for me really if you can really help name your price lol I’m tired of the hassle I would rather be able to pay an attorney to handle it for me bc I seem to always miss something so if you can help I would definitely appreciate it

  6. Tajanieke Gardner

    Interested in a consultation.

  7. Please call me as soon as possible, Jacy Maynard at 512-228-1067, or Janet at 512-466-0110, or email us at jjto discuss this disgusting situation that the state of Texas allows. Have paid over $1,000 in surcharge fees and the number keeps growing. Please HELP!!!!

    Thank you


  9. I think why charge for a surcharge and suspend a person driver license when they have not violated and act such as driving drunk you legalize the sale the state and targeting poor people in small town’s to pay for entrapment you know they do not have the money to pay you put in jail to take tax payers money to housing them and and that violate a person right I must say lights are bright be fair stop using cooperation coins and enterprises for profit gain keep the peace God Bless.

    For the entire State of Texas

  10. Need any and all info too be able too get my license un suspended due too surcharges

  11. Lots of surcharges. I was making payments then fell on hard times and accumulated more as a result.

    I need advice as to what to do. At this rate, I’ll never be able to stop the cycle

    Thank you
    Shawn Doolittle

  12. Heliodoro Vela

    need help please e mail me {}

  13. Please contact me. Trying to sort out husbands license. 2 TX DWIs, 100% permanent service connected disabled veteran on fixed income from service connected compensation.

  14. Back in2008 I had missed a insurance payment and caused this surcharge and I’m still paying for and now I found I’ve been suspended this is not right.

  15. How can this not be part of the governor race? The state is basically collecting state taxes. Where is the money going? There’s no alternative source of transportation that’s affordable in Texas. The are way too aggressive!! Way too sign!!! Give a reasonable fine I will pay it. This is a predatory money maker for the state. Why isn’t this discussed more? No one speaks up.

    • This surcharge program seems dirty to me. Is this still the friendly state? No!! They’re getting greedy. Giving away too much for business to come here. They’re placing cost on the public. Too many people. Too much road construction incomplete. There is something corrupt here. We will see down the road.

  16. My license was suspended because of to many points accumulated on my license I was sent a surcharge notice but i never paid it but i paid of my tickets. Do I still need to pay surcharges?

  17. Yes I just passed my driver’s ed class and I went to get my permit but they said I have surcharges I never had a license so once I’m start up a payment plan how long does it take for me to be able to get my license please respond back to me at your earliest convenience

  18. Marlene Lilli Estep

    Hey, I don’t even drive. I am 100 percent disabled an receive SSI. I guess I could just let them take me to jail and do per diem time until it is paid off. I could get three squares a day, maybe get some tats-don’t have any right now, but, you know jail can change a person. I could read all I wanted – shower with the girls and get into some good scraps with some butch chicks. So, come and get me screws, cause I ain’t got nothing for you but time.

  19. Hi im 60 years old i have surcharges im DL surpinded how can i gey put of it can you please help me how dp o find out what o need to do to gwt this taken care of

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