If you receive a minor moving violation, you may be required to take defensive driving class in Texas. Taking this class can get the ticket dismissed and prevent it from being reported to your insurance company.
The class will teach skills that will increase your driving knowledge and help you watch out for other unsafe drivers and situations. This course is available to drivers even if they have not received any tickets.
You Received a Ticket… What Happens Next?
Once you have received a ticket, the court will send you a notice by mail in two to three weeks. This notice informs you of your eligibility for the defensive driving course along with a list of acceptable places to take the class.
Taking this course does not eliminate the court fee and ticket fine. Make sure you have paid the ticket and taken the course before the date the ticket is due so you can submit your documents on time. Submitting them late can result in the ticket not being dismissed.
Once the class is completed and you have learned about defensive driving, Texas insurance companies will view you as a safe driver. This will potentially qualify you for discounts on your premiums, especially if you took the course voluntarily.
Even if the court does not require it, contact the Texas Department of Public Safety to find out if you can take it anyway. When it comes time to go to court, having this certificate will show the judge you are serious about being a safer driver.
Submitting the Defensive Driving Certificate Correctly
It is very important that you understand and follow the steps for submitting your certificate properly.
We asked the clerk of the court in Dallas what the most important factors was when it came to submitting paperwork.
"Make sure you know exactly what you need to have with you when you submit your paperwork," a representative noted. "Have your signed certificate and all documents and receipts for payment when you come to the clerk of courts office. If you take the class online, follow up with them to make sure they send the certificate. The court doesn't take partial submissions. You can incur more fines by being late. Also, make sure the class is state-approved or it does not count."
If You Attend a Defensive Driving Texas Class in Person
Take your Certificate of Completion to the court address on the notice you received as well as the receipt for the ticket fine. Pay the ticket BEFORE you submit all your documents to the court.
Bring all the proper documents when you go to the clerk of court, including proof of identity paperwork, driver's license, and any other payment receipts.
Get a receipt from the clerk of court. Keep this receipt safe so you have it on hand should you need to prove the documents were received.
If You Take a Texas Defensive Driving Class Online
Ensure the court will accept an online Texas defensive driving certificate BEFORE you take the class online. The online course must be approved by the state of Texas, and you can ask your local clerk of the court to find out what online schools are acceptable.
Make sure you know whether the court requires the online school to send the certificate through email, fax, or regular mail. Some courts require you to submit the certificate in person even from an online school, but this is rare.
Other Important Things to Remember
Make sure that you take the class, pay the fines and submit your documents before the ticket's due date. Failure to do this can result in additional fines and points on your record and will invalidate the course.
Sign your certificate of completion before it is submitted to the courts. Unsigned certificates are not valid.
Keep all receipts concerning the defensive driving course in a safe place. This includes proof you took the course, payment receipts, and receipts from the clerk of the court that the documents were received.
Confirm that the court has received your certificate of completion and confirm the dismissal of the ticket from your record.