Many Texas drivers use a defensive driving course to dismiss a traffic ticket. This keeps the ticket from impacting your permanent driving record and keeps your auto insurance rates from increasing. Here is the five-step process for submitting a defensive driving certificate to the Texas court system to dismiss a traffic ticket.
Step 1: Make Sure You are Eligible for a Defensive Driving Course
Most tickets for minor traffic violations can be dismissed with a defensive driving course as long as you don’t have a commercial driver’s license and haven’t taken the course in the last six months. You will get a notice from the Texas court system within a few weeks after your violation to confirm whether you’re eligible to take the defensive driving course to dismiss the ticket. At this point, you should also confirm that an online course is acceptable.
Some more serious violations can’t be dismissed through a defensive driving course. You won’t be able to dismiss tickets for:
Going more than 25 mph over the speed limit
Driving without car insurance
Leaving the scene of an accident
Passing a school bus
Violating traffic laws in a construction zone
However, it’s still a good idea to take a defensive driving course if you’re cited for one of these serious violations. The course can teach you how to be a safer driver. And voluntarily completing the course could show the court that you are remorseful and are correcting your driving behavior.
Step 2: Pay Your Traffic Ticket
A defensive driving certificate will not eliminate the cost of the traffic ticket. You’re still responsible for all fees and fines associated with the ticket.
Pay your ticket early to avoid delays. If you fail to pay your ticket before the deadline, your ticket will probably not get dismissed, even if you submit the defensive driving certificate correctly.
Step 3: Complete Your Defensive Driving Course on Time
Failing to complete the defensive driving course before the deadline on your court notice means you won’t be able to get your ticket dismissed.
DriversEd.com offers the shortest course in Texas. And since it’s online, you can complete the course around your schedule, from the comfort of home.
When you complete your course, you’ll receive the defensive driving certificate that you can provide to the courts. Check to see if there is a place for your signature on the certificate. If there is, sign the certificate to validate it.
Step 4: Provide the Defensive Driving Certificate to the Court
While most Texas courts now accept defensive driving certificates via email, some may still require the original document via US Postal Service mail. And some courts might require in-person delivery. Check your notice from the court for specific submission instructions.
If you are submitting your defensive driving certificate in-person:
Take the original certificate with you and leave a copy at home.
Take a receipt or payment confirmation from your traffic ticket payment.
Take your driver’s license or other valid photo ID with you.
If you are submitting your defensive driving certificate by mail:
Send the original certificate and keep a copy for your records.
Send a receipt or payment confirmation from your traffic ticket payment.
If you are submitting your defensive driving certificate by email:
Scan the receipt or payment confirmation from your traffic ticket payment to send along with the certificate.
Important: Some Texas courts require you to submit a copy of your driving record as well. You can order your driving record online, and it can be sent to you electronically within 24 hours. Check the notice from your local court to see if this applies to you and for instructions on how to submit this document to the court.
Regardless of which method you use to submit your defensive driving certificate in Texas, make sure you keep copies of all your documents in a safe place in case you ever need to reference them.
Step 5: Confirm the Court has Received and Processed Your Certificate
The final step to submitting a defensive driving certificate in Texas is to follow up with the court to make sure your certificate was received and processed. Request a written confirmation so you will have a clean paper trail.
Once your defensive driving certificate has been processed, follow up to make sure your minor-violation traffic ticket is dismissed. Then kick back and enjoy your clean driving record.