Recent reports indicated the state legislature is considering eliminating the Texas Drivers Responsibility Program. If you have never heard of this program, you're not alone, but you should be aware of it.
The program was instituted as part of a law passed in 2003. The intention was to keep a closer watch on drivers who had exhibited careless behavior, such as DWI or driving without insurance, by enrolling them in a special program. However, if the program ever had any educational aspect, this has all but disappeared in recent years. Instead, the program carries on simply as a requirement that these drivers pay an annual fee. If they fail to pay, their license is suspended.
Writing for radio station KNUE, one driver told of how he was enrolled in the program after being pulled over with lapsed insurance. As an uninsured driver, he was enrolled in the program. The problem is, he didn't know about it.
The program only lets drivers know they are enrolled by sending them a letter, but the writer claims he never received his. Because he didn't know he was in the program, he never paid his fees, and therefore his license was suspended.
According to his article, he didn't find out about the problem until he decided to renew his license and was told he had been driving with a suspended license for some time. In the end, he had to pay almost $800 to pay the delinquent and upcoming fees before he could renew his license. If he had been pulled over while driving a suspended license, the hassle and the expense would have been much worse.
Hopefully, the state legislature will vote to end this program, or at least to make it work more effectively. Until it does, this is one of the many penalties Texas drivers will face if they are convicted of DWI and even certain minor traffic violations.
It's important for people who are accused of DWI to seek out help from skilled attorneys who can advise them of their rights and help them understand the potential penalties. A criminal defense lawyer can help people defend themselves and their driving privileges.