I got a Traffic ticket in Texas!!! What do I do now?
(this is not a legal opinion nor legal advise! - it is merely suggestions  based upon past experience in defensive driving courses)
So you're driving along listening to the radio or maybe visiting with your friends and  you didn't notice that last sign that lowered the speed limit by 10 mph...until you see the flashing red lights in your rear-view mirror!

Well, you're not alone!  It is estimated that well over 25 million traffic tickets are issued each year in the United States. 

If this is the first ticket you've had in a long time, it can be confusing and frightening.  Your first thoughts are about paying a hefty fine and court costs - then comes the increased insurance premiums because of this citation!  Hopefully this article will help you alleviate your fears and explain what you can do now.

Texas law allows you to dismiss (at least) one ticket each 12 months by taking an approved Defensive Driving Course.  However, please be aware that this option is a decision that the Court makes!  Some Courts may not allow you to take Defensive Driving - and it is their decision.  Experience shows no good will come from arguing with the Court about this.

Many Courts will only allow one ticket per year to be dismissed - even though the law does not specifically mention a maximum number of times.  Many Courts will allow more than one dismissal in 12 months, and some Courts do not even ask if you've taken a course in the past year.

The citation you receive will show the offense, the Court name, and probably a date for you to report to the Court (called a Court Date),

We suggest that rather than wait for that date, you go ahead and contact the Court (you can contact most Courts via phone) and ask the Court if you can take Defensive Driving to dismiss the ticket?

If the Court allows you to take Defensive Driving, you will normally have 90 days to complete the course and present the Certificate of Completion to the Court.  It's best that you not wait until the last few days to take the course - you can avoid stress and save money on expedited delivery fees by taking the course as soon as possible.

Many courses will advise you or imply that you need your Driving Record from the Texas DPS - and this implies that you need it to take the course.  You DO NOT need your Texas Driving Record in order to take the course!  Many Courts do require you to submit a copy of your Driving Record to them, but not all Courts require this!  If the Court does not require it - why pay for it?  Gentlys Driving does offer you the option of ordering your Texas Driving Record at sign-up.  This is a convenience only and is not required by Defensive Driving Courses.

Once you complete the Ticket Dismissal course, you will receive the Certificate of Completion in the mail.  Open the envelope completely and you will find two (2) certificates inside.  One certificate will show the name of the Court - this certificate must be signed by you and presented to the Court along with any other items the Court has advised they needed.

The 2nd certificate will read "Not valid for Ticket Dismissal" and will not show the name of the Court.  (Since this certificate shows no court information, no one knows that you received a ticket).  This certificate  can be presented to to your insurance agent.  Many vehicle insurance companies offer a discount for taking the course.  Typical savings are 10% on liability insurance for 3 years.  This will more than pay for the course!

If you mail your certificate to the Court, it would be a good idea to wait a couple of weeks and then call the Court to make sure they received your certificate.  Things do get lost - and this call may prevent problems for you in the future if the Court does not have your paperwork.  

If for some reason you have not gotten your Certificate to the Court by the deadline, you should call the Court and ask for an extension in presenting the documents.  Some Courts will extend the time period if you have a valid reason for asking.

Yes, getting a traffic citation is disturbing - but it's not as complicated as you may have thought - and after taking our course, you will be a safer driver and may save money on your vehicle insurance. 

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